Monday, 12 August 2013


Tite: Day of the Elephants
Authors: Ron Swager & Ed Chinn
Pages: 104

Publishers: Smith Publicity -- Reel Marketing Systems, LLC
Publish Date: 10th July 2013
Genre: Biographies, Memoirs, Christian
Source: (e-copy) Publisher via Net Galley

Rating: A Liberal  3 out of 5

'Day of the Elephants' : African proverb - "When the bull elephants fight, the grass always loses."

Set in Liberia during the 1989-1996 civil war 'Day of the Elephants' is the heart wrenching tale of Roland Deah who as a child of 8 is witness to horrific torture, violence, and mass murder on an epic scale.  He loses family members and friends and along with masses of refugees is forced to flee for his life from the warring tribes.

I cannot imagine the absolute terror and horrors endured by the people caught up in this man made tragedy,  unfortunately I think that the writing style also fails to convey it.  It appears sanitised with the author drawing parallels of his own health issues with the horror of Roland's struggle to survive. I felt it detracted from Roland's experiences and didn't quite have the same impact.

It felt trite, trying too hard to incorporate a connection of a privileged society with that of the suffering people endured in Liberia.  The underlaying message that with faith you can endure anything did not sit well with me and left me feeling that Roland's story would have had more depth, and impact had it been told without this ulterior agenda. There is nothing wrong with including Psalms and Bible passages, but it was unbalanced and just not appropriate in my opinion.

What we learn is a brief history of Liberia and of its connection to the USA from the days of slavery. We learn, to some extent, the politics of the tribal regimes. Knowing very little about Liberia this spurred me on to research  Liberia, its tribes and the civil war. 

Even with the issues about the writing style, or even because of it  I would have no concern with my 12 year old daughter reading 'Day of the Elephants'.

Roland Deah is a proud, seemingly unbroken man, who against all the odds has survived thanks to his faith and the unselfish and brave acts of others.  Roland's tale has stuck with me and I really do hope and pray for the best possible future for him and others like him throughout this troubled world we currently reside.

My view is that the intended market for this book would be readers who do not necessarily want, or need to read in any depth, the details of horrendous acts and  I think they would be moved and appreciate this book.

I would like to thank the Publishers, in particular Anne Johnson of Smith Publicity,  and Net Galley for the opportunity to review this title.

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