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True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Spanning several decades and three continents, Modoc is one of the most amazing true animal stories ever told. Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again; through a near-fatal shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout elephant trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City.

Modoc is a captivating true story of loyalty, friendship, and high adventure, to be treasured by animal lovers everywhere.

From Publishers Weekly

Sep 29, 1997 – A unique relationship between an elephant and man is related in this captivating tale from Hollywood animal trainer Helfer (The Beauty of the Beasts). Born on the same day in 1896, Modoc the elephant and Bram Gunterstein became inseparable companions. Bram's father was an animal trainer for a small German circus. When the circus was sold, the boy stowed away on its ship, which sank during a storm in the Bay of Bengal. Modoc and Bram were among the few survivors. The pair made their way through rural India, working in the teak forests. Then the circus owner reappeared to claim Modoc and to take Bram on as the animal's trainer. In America, Modoc enjoyed huge success. Eventually she was sold behind Bram's back, however, and vanished. Nearly 20 years later, partners in a company that supplied trained animals for TV needed an elephant on the cheap. They found one on a farm in the Ozarks, a filthy, emaciated animal covered with cuts and bruises. Her name was Modoc. The elephant responded to treatment and surprised her new owners by performing circus tricks. In time, Bram found his way to Modoc for a joyful reunion. Helfer's telling, packed with reconstructed dialogue, seems fanciful at times, and he is vague about dates. Still, sentimentalists and animal lovers should flock to this story. Photos not seen by PW. Foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany, France, Holland, Finland, Japan and Italy; dramatic rights: Richard Curtis.

Customer Reviews

Must read

This book is absolutely brilliant. Didn't want it to end. Definitely captures your heart and emotions as if you were taking the journey along-side Bram and Modoc...highly recommended!!


I don't know if this story will ever leave me.


The. Best. Book. Ever.

View in iTunes
  • $8.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Nature
  • Published: Oct 13, 2009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books
  • Seller: HarperCollins
  • Print Length: 352 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings