Elephant Don: the politics of a pachyderm posse.

Elephant Don: the politics of a pachyderm posse. Caitlin O'Connell.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015. Octavo, dustwrapper, black and white photographs.

In Elephant Don, O'Connell, one of the leading experts on elephant communication and social behavior, takes us inside the little-known world of African male elephants, a world that is steeped in ritual, where bonds are maintained by unexpected tenderness punctuated by violence. This book tracks a group of bull elephants in Etosha National Park, Namibia as O'Connell tries to understand the vicissitudes of male friendship, power struggles, and play. A frequently heart-wrenching portrayal of commitment, loyalty, and affection between individuals yearning for companionship, it vividly captures the incredible repertoire of elephant behavior and communication. Readers will be drawn into dramatic tales of an elephant society at once exotic and surprisingly familiar, as O'Connell's decades of close research reveal extraordinary discoveries about a male society not wholly unlike our own.

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