Ivory's Ghosts: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants

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Open Road + Grove/Atlantic, Jan 19, 2010 - Nature - 320 pages
“[A] tour de force examination of the history of ivory . . . and the demise of the elephant and human decency in the process of this unholy quest.” —The Huffington Post
 
Praised for the nuance and sensitivity with which it approaches one of the most fraught conservation issues we face today, John Frederick Walker’s Ivory’s Ghosts tells the astonishing story of the power of ivory through the ages, and its impact on elephants. Long before gold and gemstones held allure, ivory came to be prized in every culture of the world—from ancient Egypt to nineteenth-century America to modern Japan—for its beauty, rarity, and ability to be finely carved. But the beauty came at an unfathomable cost.
 
Walker lays bare the ivory trade’s cruel connection with the slave trade and the increasing slaughter of elephants in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. By the 1980s, elephant poaching reached levels that threatened the last great herds of the African continent, and led to a worldwide ban on the ancient international trade in tusks. But the ban has failed to stop poaching—or the emotional debate over what to do with the legitimate and growing stockpiles of ivory recovered from elephants that die of natural causes.
 
Ivory’s Ghost is essential reading for anyone concerned with conservation and with the tenuous future of one of the most magnificent creatures our earth has ever seen.” —George B. Schaller, author of A Naturalist and Other Beast
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kaitanya64 - LibraryThing

A readable and engaging history of the use and allure of ivory in human history and how the fate of elephants both has been affected by ivory's popularity and has influenced the use and availability ... Read full review

IVORY'S GHOSTS: The White Gold of History and the Fate of Elephants

User Review  - Kirkus

The ancient, enduring allure of a substance linked forever to the destiny of its predominant provider, the wild elephant.Walker (A Certain Curve of Horn: The Hundred-Year Quest for the Great Sable ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

II
9
III
25
IV
49
V
83
VI
107
VII
136
VIII
157
IX
183
X
221
XI
249
XII
259
XIII
291
XIV
295
XV
297
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

John Frederick Walker is a veteran journalist and conservationist who has been traveling and reporting on Africa since 1986. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Africa Geographic, Wildlife Conservation, and numerous other publications.

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