The Emperor and the Elephants is a deeply moving memoir chronicling one Peace Corps volunteer’s fascinating experiences in the Central African Republic during the late 1970s.
After hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1975, author Richard W. Carroll joined the Peace Corps, signing on as a fisheries extension agent in the heart of Africa. Balancing the rose-tinted writings of an optimistic twenty-three-year-old volunteer with pragmatic reflections from over forty years later, most of which he spent in Africa as a wildlife conservationist for the World Wildlife Fund, Carroll draws readers into a wildly unique place and time.
In 1977, under the brutal rule of Jean-Bidel Bokassa, the self-proclaimed president for life, the Central African Republic became the Central African Empire, and it’s against this political backdrop that Carroll served—first in small villages, discovering the rich cultures of a warm and welcoming people, then as a wildlife biologist in Manovo-Gounda St. Floris National Park, in the remote north.
The Emperor and the Elephants abounds with vivid, often poetic descriptions of the wildlife, close encounters, peaceful revelations, and thoughtful reflections on a location that’s as far from mountains and ocean as one can get on planet Earth.
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