Hardback
November 30, 2021
9781421442594
English
256
92218
45
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
0.92 Inches (US)
1.1 Pounds (US)
$40.00 USD, £29.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
November 30, 2021
9781421442600
9781421442594
English
256
92218
45
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$40.00 USD, £29.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Elephant Trails

A History of Animals and Cultures

Why have elephants—and our preconceptions about them—been central to so much of human thought?

From prehistoric cave drawings in Europe and ancient rock art in Africa and India to burning pyres of confiscated tusks, our thoughts about elephants tell a story of human history. In Elephant Trails, Nigel Rothfels argues that, over millennia, we have made elephants into both monsters and miracles as ways to understand them but also as ways to understand ourselves.

Drawing on a broad range of sources, including municipal documents, zoo records, museum collections, and encounters with people who have lived with elephants, Rothfels seeks out the origins of our contemporary ideas about an animal that has been central to so much of human thought. He explains how notions that have been associated with elephants for centuries—that they are exceptionally wise, deeply emotional, and have a special understanding of death; that they never forget, are beloved of the gods, and suffer unusually in captivity; and even that they are afraid of mice—all tell part of the story of these amazing beings.

Exploring the history of a skull in a museum, a photograph of an elephant walking through the American South in the early twentieth century, the debate about the quality of life of a famous elephant in a zoo, and the accounts of elephant hunters, Rothfels demonstrates that elephants are not what we think they are—and they never have been. Elephant Trails is a compelling portrait of what the author terms "our elephant."

About the Author

Nigel Rothfels is a professor of history and the director of the Office of Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He is the author of Savages and Beasts: The Birth of the Modern Zoo and the editor of Representing Animals.

Endorsements

"Why do we think about elephants the way we do? Nigel Rothfels burrows deep into this question, exploring elephants both real and imagined across a sweep of places and narratives, from stately museums and wild thickets to lurid circuses. The result is that rarest of beasts in the scholarship on animals and society: a page turner."

- Ben A. Minteer, Arizona State University, author of The Fall of the Wild: Extinction, De-Extinction, and the Ethics of Conservation

"This is a beautiful book. It is as wise and gentle and enduring as (our fantasies impose on) elephants. A monumental work."

- Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, author of Riding High: Horses, Humans and History in South Africa

"An extraordinary book. Rothfels draws upon archival work, field research, and deep personal reflections to explore the human encounter with elephants. The results are convincing, artful, and often breathtaking."

- Jason Colby, University of Victoria, author of Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean's Greatest Predator

"Nigel Rothfels's brilliantly written and empathic account of the largest living land mammal shows how the enlivening presence of elephants helped humans to make sense of the world around them."

- Mieke Roscher, University of Kassel, coeditor of Animal Biography: Re-framing Animal Lives

"Well-researched from wide-ranging resources, this book covers a rich history of encounters between humans and elephant from a realistic yet thoughtful perspective."

- Ken Kawata, Director Emeritus, Staten Island Zoo, author of New York's Biggst Little Zoo: A History of the Staten Island Zoo

"What makes this gracefully written book so moving is the author's careful, quiet portraits of individual elephants. Enchanting and disquieting, in equal measure."

- Don Kulick, Uppsala University, author of A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea

"Elephant Trails is a major contribution to the understanding of animals and cultures from a figure of real authority in the field of animal studies."

- Steve Baker, author of Artist Animal

"This pathbreaking book traces the transnational history of contemporary ideas about elephants. Elephant Trails is essential reading for anyone who cares about these charismatic—and imperiled—creatures."

- Janet M. Davis, University of Texas at Austin, author of The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America

"Rothfels's thoughtful wandering through elephant histories, elephant biographies, elephant science, and elephant bone collections turns up the ironies in our lasting fascination with Loxodonta."

- Bernard Unti, Humane Society of the United States
Johns Hopkins University Press
Animals, History, Culture
From 17

9781421442594 : elephant-trails-rothfels
Hardback
November 30, 2021
$40.00 USD
9781421442600 : elephant-trails-rothfels
Electronic book text
November 30, 2021
$40.00 USD

Other Titles by Nigel Rothfels

Savages and Beasts

Nigel Rothfels
Jan 2011 - The Johns Hopkins University Press
$29.00 USD - Paperback / softback
$29.00 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles from Animals, History, Culture

The Invention of the Modern Dog

Michael Worboys, Julie-Marie Strange, and Neil Pemberton
Mar 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$39.95 USD - Hardback
$24.95 USD - Electronic book text
$24.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers

Jessica Wang
Oct 2019 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$54.95 USD - Electronic book text

Spark from the Deep

William J. Turkel
Jul 2013 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$37.95 USD - Hardback
$37.95 USD - Electronic book text

Other Titles in SCIENCE / History

World of Patterns

Rens Bod - translated by Leston Buell
May 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$65.00 USD - Hardback
$65.00 USD - Electronic book text

Loath to Print

Nicole Howard
Apr 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$55.00 USD - Hardback
$55.00 USD - Electronic book text

The Draining of the Fens

Eric H. Ash
Feb 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$39.95 USD - Electronic book text
$39.95 USD - Paperback / softback

Other Titles in History of science

World of Patterns

Rens Bod - translated by Leston Buell
May 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$65.00 USD - Hardback
$65.00 USD - Electronic book text

Loath to Print

Nicole Howard
Apr 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$55.00 USD - Hardback
$55.00 USD - Electronic book text

The Draining of the Fens

Eric H. Ash
Feb 2022 - Johns Hopkins University Press
$54.95 USD - Hardback
$39.95 USD - Electronic book text
$39.95 USD - Paperback / softback