PLEDGE NOW
The 'Elephant Whisperer' Of World War II

With Guest Host John Harwood.

We’ll travel to the jungles of Burma for the remarkable true story of Billy Williams—aka “the elephant whisperer”—and his World War II  heroism.

Lt. Col. James Howard Williams, aka "Elephant Bill," is the hero of Vicki Constantine Croke's new book, "Elephant Company." (Courtesy Random House)

Lt. Col. James Howard Williams, aka “Elephant Bill,” is the hero of Vicki Constantine Croke’s new book, “Elephant Company.” (Courtesy Random House)

Anyone with a pet understands the special relationship between people and animals. But the story of Elephant Bill is on another level – the tale of British soldier Billy Williams, who used his intimate connection to the largest animals on earth to help the Allies defeat the Japanese in World War II. Vicki Croke, a present-day journalist whose beat is animals, has told it in her new book “Elephant Company.” Are there 21st century lessons for us? Can we even be sure that elephants can survive the relentless assault of poachers? This hour On Point: how the elephant whisperer did it.

— John Harwood

Guests

Vicki Constantine Croke, author of “Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of An Unlikely Hero And The Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives In World War II.” Animals and wildlife reporter for WBUR Boston’s “The Wild Life” blog. (@VickiCroke)

Paula Kahumbu, CEO of the conservation group, WildlifeDirect. Writes the Africa Wild column in The Guardian. (@paulakahumbu)

From The Reading List

Boston Globe: ‘Elephant Company’ by Vicki Croke — “Blending biography, history, and wildlife biology, Croke builds her story around Williams’s exotic adventures. As the book opens, Williams, an English World War I veteran, is just arriving in Burma in the 1920s to work in the Bombay Burmah Trading Corp.’s teak-harvesting operations.”

New York Times: Unlikely Warriors — “Croke is a natural storyteller, and she deftly evokes Williams’s tale. He was a man with a capacity for forgiveness so remarkable it verged on being a flaw, a man who was constantly re-evaluating his reactions to situations and people and, when push came to shove, remained true to his values.”

The Guardian: Kenya’s First Lady takes the helm in the war on poachers — “I wonder how British people would feel if King Mswati III of Swaziland ran a campaign to mobilize Africans to end the British badger cull. The people of Africa have to be inspired to lead on African issues.”

Read An Excerpt Of “Elephant Company” By Vicki Constantine Croke

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 9, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie buttons his coat as he leaves Gilchrist Metal Company after a campaign event, Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, in Hudson, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

We’re live in New Hampshire for the first in the nation primary day, with all the latest on how the big vote is shaping up.

Feb 9, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign stop at a Rotary Club luncheon in Manchester, N.H., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

From New Hampshire, a deep dive, from Trump to Sanders, on how the candidates would approach the U.S. economy.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 8, 2016
Legendary film critic  Roger Ebert in an archival image from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Flickr / WikiCommons)

The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.

 
Feb 8, 2016
Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #6: Bernie v. Hillary — The Electability Debate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Bill and Betty are not real New Hampshire voters. But their arguments about the Democratic race for President most certainly are.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #5: Ted Cruz — The Advocate
Monday, Feb 8, 2016

Texas Senator and Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is an impassioned advocate, Jack Beatty writes — but mostly for himself above all others.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment