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Book revue, profile and price guide: Africa's Elephant: A Biography. This book is a biographical history of the African elephant from the fourth century B.C. to the end of the twentieth century. Under the guidance of Martin Meredith, an author renowned for his knowledge and understanding of the African continent, the reader will learn much about the culture of elephants and the abuse, suffered over thousands of years, at the hands of human beings.

About the Book, Africa's Elephant: A Biography

Elephants symbolise wisdom and power and are frequently held in high esteem, renowned for their social structures, their ability to create life-long friendships and their deep sense of loyalty. However, they are also one of the most abused creatures on earth and in the latter years of the twentieth century the elephant was classified as an endangered species: Largely because of the abuse this animal has suffered at the hands of human beings.

This abuse is nothing new. In ancient times the mighty elephant was used to fight wars, while the Romans abused them in gladiatorial games. But the worst of the abuse, which continues to this day, stems from the human demand for ivory. In some societies ivory is seen as a lucky charm, others believe it has godly powers, some have used it for medicines and yet more view it as a status symbol. Products made from ivory are frequently expensive and include jewellery, piano and organ keys, billiard balls and small ornamental carvings such as netsukes (often of intricate design). Ivory has even been used for making electrical equipment for radar and aeroplanes.

This book is a biographical history of the African elephant from the fourth century B.C. to the end of the twentieth century. Under the guidance of Martin Meredith, an author renowned for his knowledge and understanding of the African continent, the reader will learn much about the culture of elephants and the abuse, suffered over thousands of years, at the hands of human beings.

Africa's Elephant is well written and illustrated with many black and white line drawings and colour photographs.

The world of the African elephant

Contents: Africa's Elephant: A Biography

  • Acknowledgements
  • Manyara
  • The Land of Punt
  • Arms and the Elephant
  • Roman Games
  • Protégés of the Gods
  • The Elephants' Graveyard
  • Nature's Masterpiece
  • Footholds On the Coast
  • The Cape of Death
  • Zanzibar's Tune
  • The Khartoum Run
  • Heart of Darkness
  • Rivers of Ivory
  • Jumbo and Friends
  • Safe Havens
  • Ancestors
  • Enter the Scientists
  • Family Life
  • Mating Pandemonium
  • Body and Mind
  • Rumbles
  • Death
  • The Culling Option
  • Ivory Wars
  • An Image of Liberty
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

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Written by Martin Meredith who has written a number of published books about Africa

About the Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Hodder and Stoughton is a well known British publisher. It's origins date back to the nineteenth century: In 1861 Matthew Hodder, who had worked for Jackson and Walford (publishers) for some years, became a partner in the firm which then became known as Jackson, Walford and Hodder. Seven years later, in 1868, Messrs Jackson and Walford retired and Thomas Wilberforce Stoughton joined the firm which then became known as Hodder and Stoughton.

In the early years the company focussed largely on religious and secular books, with Matthew Hodder frequently vetoing manuscripts which did not fall into this genre. The company evolved considerably in the 1920s with the popular "Yellow Jacket" series of fiction books and was well placed to take on the UK publishing of Leslie Charteris's Saint novels. Fictional works were to became a significant part of the company's catalogue. Other authors represented by the company have included J.M. Barrie, Rudyard Kipling, Dornford Yates, John Buchan, Enid Blyton, Captain W. E. Johns, Elizabeth Goudge, Anya Seton, Len Deighton, John le Carre, Rosamund Pilcher, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King and John Grisham.

Hodder and Stoughton imprints have included Coronet Books, Hodder Faith, Hodder Moa Beckett, John Murray, Mulholland, Quercus, Sceptre, Saltyard, Two Roads and Yellow Kite.

In 1993 Hodder and Stoughton was bought by Headline and became known as Hodder Headline. This new corporate form was in turn bought by Hatchette Livre in 2004. At the time Hatchette was on a journey to becoming the largest British book publisher and Hodder and Stoughton remains an imprint of the group to this day.

In over a hundred and fifty years of publishing Hodder and Stoughton built an extensive portfolio of books about Africa. The list below is very much the tip of the iceberg, but gives a flavour of the important historical role played by this British publisher.

Select Publisher’s Bibliography

A selection of other books published by Hodder & Stoughton on the subject of Africa:

  • 1873 Life, Wanderings and Labours in eastern Africa. With an account of the first successful ascent of the equatorial snow mountain, Kilima Njaro, and remarks upon East African slavery by Charles New
  • 1879 Africa Past and Present A Concise Account of the Country, its History, Geography, Explorations, Climates, productions. Resources, Population, Tribes, Manners, Customs, Languages, Colonization and Christian Missions by "An Old Resident"
  • 1886 The Children of Africa. Written for all English-Speaking Children by Annie Wright Marston
  • 1888 Tropical Africa by Henry Drummond
  • 1890 The New World of Central Africa with a History of the First Christian Mission on the Congo by H. Grattan Gunness
  • 1911 An Englishwoman's Twenty Five Years in Tropical Africa: Being the Biography of Gwen Elen Lewis, Missionary to the Cameroons and the Congo by George Hawker
  • 1918 Christina Forsyth Of Fingoland - The Story Of The Loneliest Woman In Africa by W.P. Livingstone
  • 1918 The Prussian Lash in Africa: The Story of German Rule in Africa by Africanus (pseudonym for Malcolm Cotter Cariston Seton)
  • 1919 British Campaigns in Africa and the Pacific 1914-1918 by Edmund Dane
  • 1926 The Prince of Wales' African Book. A pictorial record of the journey to West Africa, South Africa and South America by A. St. John Adcock
  • 1944 The Sunny Land [South-West Africa] by Margareta Oldevig
  • 1961 Cricket for South Africa by Jackie McGlew

An elephant on the charge

About the Author: Martin Meredith

Martin Meredith, born in 1942, is a leading expert on modern African history. His early career was as an African correspondent for The Observer and The Sunday Times, two British newspapers, before becoming a research fellow at St. Anthony's College, Oxford. He still lives close to Oxford and now writes and commentates independently.

He was an influential member of the Ivory Trade Review Group. This was a multi-national group which investigated the impact of the ivory trade on Africa's elephant populations. Many of the books he has written, over a period of almost forty years, have been published in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, frequently under different titles.

Author’s Bibliography: Martin Meredith

  • 1979 The Past Is Another Country: Rhodesia, 1890-1979, 1st edition published in the UK by Andre Deutsch
  • 1985 The First Dance of Freedom: Black Africa In the Postwar Era, 1st edition published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton
  • 1988 In the Name of Apartheid: South Africa In the Postwar Era, 1st edition published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton
  • 1994 South Africa's New Era: The 1994 Election, 1st edition published in the UK by Mandarin
  • 1997 Nelson Mandela: A Biography, 1st edition published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton
  • 1999 Coming to Terms: South Africa's Search for Truth, 1st edition published in the USA by PublicAffairs
  • 2001 Africa's Elephant: A Biography, 1st edition published in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton
    • Also published in the USA by the Perseus Book Group, 2002, as Elephant Destiny: Biography of an Endangered Species in Africa
  • 2002 Mugabe: Power and Plunder in Zimbabwe, 1st published in the UK by PublicAffairs
    • Also published in the USA by PublicAffairs, 2002, as Our Votes, Our Guns: Robert Mugabe and the Tragedy of Zimbabwe
  • 2002 Fischer's Choice: The Life of Bram Fischer, 1st published in the South Africa by Jonathan Ball
  • 2005 The State of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence, 1st edition published in the South Africa by Jonathan Ball
    • Also published in the USA by PublicAffairs, 2005, as The Fate of Africa: From the Hopes of Freedom to the Heart of Despair
  • 2007 Diamonds, Gold and War: The Making of South Africa, 1st edition published in the UK by Simon and Schuster
    • Also published in the USA by PublicAffairs, 2007, as Diamonds, Gold and War: The British, the Boers and the Making of South Africa
  • 2010 Mandela: A Biography, 1st edition published in the USA by PublicAffairs
  • 2011 Born In Africa: The Quest for the Origins of Human Life, 1st published in the UK by Simon & Schuster
    • Also published in the same year, under the same title in the USA by PublicAffairs
  • 2014 The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000 - Year History of Wealth, Greed and Endeavour, 1st published in the USA by PublicAffairs

Numerous colour photographs of elephants are grouped together with further black and white line drawings within the text

Physical Outline: Africa's Elephant: A Biography

  • Title: Africa's Elephant: A Biography
  • ISBN: 0 340 77081 3
  • Author:  Martin Meredith
  • Published by Hodder and Stoughton, 1st edition, 1st impression, 2001
  • Format: A hard cover book with its original dust jacket
  • Pages: 244, detailed text, black and white illustrations and colour photos 
  • Size Approx: 142x224mm
  • Approx weight: 447g

Estimated Book Value:

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Africa's Elephant: A Biography by Martin Meredith, estimated value of the pictured copy, a first edition, which is in VG condition in a similar dust jacket, £5

Estimated value of the same book in mint condition, £9

External Links:

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African Elephants

Martin Meredith

Manyara

The Law About Ivory

Hodder & Stoughton

Leslie Charteris

The Saint Books

Jackson & Walford

Hatchette Livre

Andre Deutsch

Hamish Hamilton

PublicAffairs

Jonathan Ball

Simon & Schuster

Yellow Jacket Fiction Series