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War Elephants


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The story of elephants largely forgotten role in the history of warfare

Table of Contents

Foreword by Richard LairIntroduction1 Useful Orphan2 Early Contests3 Beauty and the Beasts4 Fill of Blood5 Improvements6 The Elephant Memory7 The Horror8 Alexander's Opinion9 Death on the Nile10 Elephants Marching11 Siege12 Cavalry Killers13 The Elephant Industry14 Unmitigated Gauls15 The Elephant of Surprise16 Flaming Pigs17 Chaos in the Streets18 War Elephants of Carthage19 Proud Mahouts20 Cruelty and Inhumanity21 The Lion's Brood22 Dangerous Waters23 Treacherous Paths24 The Best Laid Plans25 Stalemate26 Hasdrubal27 Rome's Genius28 Africa versus Asia29 Day of Slaughter30 Weapons of Massive Destruction31 Guerrilla War32 The Running of the Bulls33 Pompey's Circus34 The Herd of Julius Caesar35 Arrogant Emperors36 Sackcloth, Ashes, and Prayer37 Breach of Faith38 The Year of the Elephant39 Early and Medieval Asia40 Charlemagne and Frederick41 Plump and Ready42 Mongol Hordes43 Pyramids of Skulls44 Thais, Burmese, Khmers, and Others45 The Great Mahout46 Beasts of Burden47 Mighty Engineers48 Targets of OpportunityEpilogueEndnotesGlossaryBibliographyIndex

About the Author

John M. Kistler is a freelance writer and runs a small business. He received his mahout certificate from the Elephant Conservation Center in Thailand while assisting consultants on Oliver Stone's film Alexander.


"Kistler provides a range of interesting facts about elephant behaviour, not least the actual difficulties of managing a force of war elephants in terms of voracious appetite, enormous thirst, expensive armour and long term commitment to training and care ... Kistler's account is often entertaining and certainly wide ranging." Times Literary Supplement

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