Elephants have fought in human armies for more than three thousand years. Asian armies boasted of their pachyderm power, while the Romans fielded elephants alongside their legendary legions but were perhaps too proud to admit that mere animals contributed to victory. War Elephants is the story of their largely forgotten role in the history of warfare.
Generals throughout recorded history used elephants as tanks, bulldozers, and cargo trucks long before such vehicles existed. Until gunpowder began to reduce the utility of elephants in battle during the seventeenth century, these beasts built roads, swung swords, or simply terrified opposing forces. Although some believe that elephants were mere gimmicks of warfare, John M. Kistler discredits that notion. War Elephants shows that elephants deserve respect for the sacrifices they have made in the service of many cultures. Elephants have long fought for and served human masters, but it is now the elephants themselves that must be protected.