Caitlin O'Connell is a faculty member at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is the author of the acclaimed science memoir The Elephant's Secret Sense, also published by the University of Chicago Press, and the Smithsonian channel documentary Elephant King. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, National Geographic, and Discover, among many others. She lives in San Diego.
Elephant Don is truly a winner in many different ways. The best way to learn about the magnificent animals with whom we share Earth - or with whom we are supposed to peacefully coexist - is to meet them up close and personal, by name, by social relationships, and by their daily and sometimes hourly ups and downs. By reading the autobiographies detailing the roller coaster of emotions of a pachyderm posse we experience their own and other's life's challenges and we see them as the unique individuals they truly are. In this landmark book we also learn about the ups and downs of doing extremely difficult, highly rewarding, and incredibly important field research. There surely is no one better than O'Connell to tell the stories of the animals she knows so well, to see how what they actually do meshes with extant models and theories, and what it's really like to conduct this sort of research with a team of incredibly dedicated researchers, all of whom also are unique individuals. I will share this book widely. It is that good. - Marc Bekoff, author of Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals Elephant bulls - those magnificent creatures now in the eyesight of hunters and poachers - were always portrayed as loners. O'Connell has changed this by showing their intensely social nature. Not only do bulls frequently associate, they have subtle ways of communicating status and jockey for position. All of this is complicated by the 'musth' wild card characteristic of the species. A fascinating look into the politics of the largest land animal. -Frans de Waal, author of The Bonobo and the Atheist