“The Elephant Company,” by Vicki Constantine Croke, details the life of a man with a passionate love and ability to communicate with elephants. His work with the animals led to the formation of a unique unit that helped defeat the Japanese in Burma in World War II, and save the lives of refugees.

Englishman James Howard “Billy” Williams wasn’t satisfied to return to a mundane life after fighting in World War I. The adventurer journeyed to Burma in the 1920’s to work in the teak industry.

In Burma, Asian elephants were trained to assist with moving huge teak logs into the rivers where they were floated downstream. Teak was much desired in those days because it was used to build the hulls of ships.

“The Elephant Company” is proving to be an engrossing read, non-fiction that reads like fiction about a fascinating elephant expert and heroic individual who became known as “Elephant Bill.”

It’s especially timely because of recent headlines about Raja, an Indian elephant shacked in chains with spikes and abused for over 50 years. The elephant was reported to have cried upon his release.