Billy Williams is looking to satisfy his thirst for adventure, when he hears about becoming a forest man for a teak company operated by the British in Burma. Williams instantly enrolls and loves the jungle and the working elephants even more. Williams is mesmerized by the gentle, loving and powerful elephants that haul teak logs, build roads and bridges through the untamed jungles and carry heavy loads for traveling forest men. As Williams became more experienced with the elephants he changed the company by adding elephant hospitals and elephant training schools that trained young elephants born into working positions, rather than forcing freshly caught wild elephants to suddenly learn how to work. But this is not only a memoir, this is a war story. When World War II broke out, forest men shuttled their families out of the country before joining the jungle army. Williams became a soldier of the elite Force 136, where soldiers didn't play by the rules as they worked behind enemy lines. All of a sudden, elephants became a great force and contender in WWII. Elephants were used to build roads to move armies and build bridges for fleeing refugees. The most trying period comes when the elephants must retreat for the changing of the monsoon and "Elephant Bill" must lead a team of elephants, soldiers and refugees on a trip over the mountains into India, risking being caught by the advancing Japanese forces. This book sheds light on a piece of WWII that no one ever knew about, and above all, this books is about the loyalty, love and bravery of elephants and the men working with them.
I really enjoyed the history of this book. It takes place in a country that no longer exists that suffered from WWII as much as any other. It is really interesting because of all the incredible war heroes you could've thought of, not one of them would be an elephant, or even the man in charge of organizing them.
I also really liked the way the book was written. Croke pulled entries, quotes and phrases from William's many memoirs, so we are given insight into his head and thoughts. The writing really flowed well, too and explained everything you would need to know about the British Teak Company or the Elephant Company without being boring or monotonous.
Overall, I would give this book five and a half stars, and I really hope you read it and love it too!!