Friday, September 30, 2011


Story Description: 

Modoc is the joint biography of a man and an elephant born in a small German circus town on the same day in 1896. Bram was the son of an elephant trainer, Modoc the daughter of his prize performer. The boy and animal grew up devoted to each other. When the Wunderzircus was sold to an American, with no provision to take along the human staff, Bram stowed away on the ship to prevent being separated from his beloved Modoc. A shipwreck off the Indian coast and a sojourn with a maharajah were only the beginning of the pair's incredible adventures. They battled bandits, armed revolutionaries, cruel animal trainers, and greedy circus owners in their quest to stay together. They triumphed against the odds and thrilled American circus audiences with Modoc's dazzling solo performances, only to be torn apart with brutal suddenness, seemingly never to meet again. Hollywood animal trainer Ralph Helfer rescued Modoc from ill-treatment and learned her astonishing story when Bram rediscovered her at Helfer's company. His emotional retelling of this true-life adventure epic will make pulses race and bring tears to readers' eyes. 

My Review: 

“Modoc is a love story, a gut-wrenching afternoon kind of love story that should not be attempted without a full box if tissues within easy reach.” –Detroit Free Free  “…sweeping across the timber land into the gray, misty valleys of the Black Forest…baby sounds!  Below the fog layer, the insistent waits a baby could be heard, their temerity as if from Mother Earth herself. 

And then another voice arose.  Deeper, brassy, trumpety, but still a…baby sound.” 

Thus begins the true story of Modoc.  Bram, borne to Josef and Katrina Gutterstein, and named after Josef’s father, was a beautiful baby boy with blonde hair.  Bram’s blonde hair and features came from the strong Nordic ide of Katrina’s family, and the sweet and gentle warmth radiated so strongly from Josef’s heritage.  They lived in Hangendorf Valley, Germany and Josef just knew that Bram would be would become: “a fine elephant trainer. 

Josef himself is an elelphant trainer working for a small circus in the nearby town of Hassengross.  Emma, had just given birth to her elephant up, “Modoc” and Josef was determined to make Emma’s baby the best trained elephant the world has even seen.  If anyone could do it, he could as his whole family was circus and the last three generations were all elephant trainers when Josef’s own son Bram, was old enough, he would be turned over to him from training and he’d follow in his father’s footsteps. 

I immediately fell in love in love with “Modoc’ and  “Bram”.  This large mammal and young boy had a bond like no other I’ve ever seen.  The closeness, the love, the depth of the relationship was beyond anything I had ever encountered. A most mesmerizing story not to be missed!


  1. How sweet! The cover is priceless.

  2. This sounds beautiful and rather tear-jerking at parts - would I need Kleenex close by?

    There's an award for you on my blog btw: