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Vicki Constantine Croke has been chronicling animal life for more than two decades--tracking polar bears, Tasmanian devils, and Madagascar's top predator, the fossa. She now covers animal issues for WBUR-FM, Boston's NPR news station, on air (Here and Now) and on WBUR's The Wild Life online. Her work there earned a 2013 regional Edward R. Murrow Award. She is the author of The Lady and the Panda: The True Adventures of the First American Explorer to Bring Back China's Most Exotic Animal, and The Modern Ark: The Story of Zoos--Past, Present and Future. Croke has worked on nature documentaries for Disney and for the A&E channel and anchored The Secret Life of Animals on NECN-TV. She also wrote The Boston Globe's "Animal Beat" column for thirteen years, and has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The London Sunday Telegraph, Time, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, Gourmet, National Wildlife, and Discover magazine, among others. She lives in the Boston area.
"I have to confess--my love of elephants made me apprehensive to review a book about their role in World War II. But as soon as I began to read Elephant Company, I realized that not only was my heart safe, but that this book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants. This is the story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species. . . . [Vicki] Croke is a natural storyteller. . . . Elephant Company is nothing less than a sweeping tale, masterfully written."--Sara Gruen, The New York Times Book Review "Splendid . . . Blending biography, history, and wildlife biology, [Vicki Constantine] Croke's story is an often moving account of [Billy] Williams, who earned the sobriquet 'Elephant Bill, ' and his unusual bond with the largest land mammals on earth."--The Boston Globe "Some of the biggest heroes of World War II were even bigger than you thought. . . . You may never call the lion the king of the jungle again."--New York Post "Elephant Company is as powerful and big-hearted as the animals of its title. Billy Williams is an extraordinary character, a real-life reverse Tarzan raised in civilization who finds wisdom and his true self living among jungle beasts. Vicki Constantine Croke delivers an exciting tale of this elephant whisperer-cum-war hero, while beautifully reminding us of the enduring bonds between animals and humans."--Mitchell Zuckoff, author of Lost in Shangri-La and Frozen in Time "The true-life heroics of Elephant Company during World War II highlight how animals and humans together can achieve extraordinary things. Croke's evocative writing and deep understanding of the animal-human bond bring vividly to life Elephant Bill's great passion and almost mystical connection with his magnificent beasts. This is a wonderful read."--Elizabeth Letts, author of The Eighty-Dollar Champion "A spellbinding, true story of elephantine and human courage, set in one of the Earth's most exotic jungles during the Second World War, Elephant Company is a triumph that will make you cheer!"--Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig and Journey of the Pink Dolphins