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The Elephants in the Room. An Excavation.

Rowe, Martin

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ISBN 10: 1590563875 / ISBN 13: 9781590563878
Verlag: Lantern, New York, 2013
Gebraucht Zustand: Very Good Softcover
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Bibliografische Details

Titel: The Elephants in the Room. An Excavation.

Verlag: Lantern, New York

Erscheinungsdatum: 2013

Einband: Soft cover

Zustand:Very Good

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Inhaltsangabe:

Part of Lantern's {bio}graphies series, produced to explore the relationship between human and nonhuman animals through diverse lenses

Through the lens of Rowe's relationships with two Kenyan conservationists―Wangari Maathai and Daphne Sheldrick―The Elephants in the Room surveys a number of prejudices that many of us who are fortunate to be born with the privileges attached to our skin color, sex, and access to resources don't like to deal with: race, misogyny, and the legacy of empire. By examining the two women's memoirs (Unbowed and Love, Life, and Elephants), both of which were launched following talks at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, these metaphorical elephants in the room are combined with a study of the exploitation of actual elephants on the continent of Africa, and the iterations of memory that are disclosed or hidden in the writing of memoirs and the collecting of bones for museums.

Like elephants themselves, The Elephants in the Room ranges far, analyzing work by Joseph Conrad, Robert Pogue Harrison, Barbara Gowdy, Willard Price, George Orwell, Adam Hochschild, and others.


"In addition to offering a vivid, first-hand account of the environmental heroism of Wangari Maathai, this book reflects deeply on humankind's vexed relation to the natural world, putting into stark relief the alternatives that face us at this point in our species' history: either to save or to destroy the planet's legacy." ―Robert Pogue Harrison, author, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization

From the Author:

In writing this book, at some basic level, I wanted to honor the life and work of Professor Wangari Maathai, whom I'd worked with and admired deeply for ten years. At another level, I wanted to think about what my Englishness meant to me, and to examine my family background honestly. Finally, I wanted to grapple with memory and memoir--how we tell ourselves lies in order to cover up uncomfortable truths about ourselves and the past.

Elephants was almost literally an outgrowth of my book The Polar Bear in the Zoo. In March 2012, I began work on what I considered my one, defining work on a consuming interest of mine--animal rights. Before I knew what was happening, I kept thinking about Wangari Maathai, to the extent that by May I had two sets of narratives--one on animals, one on her. I couldn't fathom how I was going to fit them together in one book. Then, that same month, I went to the book launch of Daphne Sheldrick's Love, Life, and Elephants at the American Museum of Natural History, an event with eerie parallels to Maathai's launch of her own autobiography, Unbowed, at the same place. An idea coalesced, and I realized I had two books, and that I had to write a draft of Elephants before I could return to Polar Bear. And that is what I did.

As with Polar Bear, I'm aware that my own blindspots and obsessions shadow the observations I make about Maathai and Sheldrick in Elephants--both books are steeped in irony. But I hope that readers will find themselves reflecting usefully on their own prejudices and biographies in both books.

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