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The Elephants in the Room

An Excavation

Martin Rowe

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

244 pp.  
5" x 7"

Lantern Books


Published:  September 2013


Published:  October 2013

Martin Rowe is the author of The Polar Bear in the Zoo: A Speculation and The Elephants in the Room: An Excavation (both Lantern, 2013), and co-author of Right Off the Bat: Baseball, Cricket, Literature, and Life (with Evander Lomke, published by Paul Dry Books). He is also the editor of The Way of Compassion (Stealth Technologies, 1999) and the founding editor of Satya: A Magazine of Vegetarianism, Environmentalism, Animal Advocacy, and Social Justice. He is also the author of Nicaea: A Book of Correspondences and the co-founder of Lantern Books. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. See all books by Martin Rowe

Related Titles

  • The Green Belt Movement : Sharing the Approach and the Experience
  • The Polar Bear in the Zoo : A Speculation
  • The Oxen at the Intersection : A Collision (or, Bill and Lou Must Die: A Real-Life Murder Mystery from the Green Mountains of Vermont)
  • The Pig in Thin Air : An Identification
  • Related Titles by Subject:

    {bio}graphies ; Animal Advocacy ; Animal Advocacy: Animal Rights and Animal Advocacy: Social Questions

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