A magical blend of true story and popular science, ''Jumbo'' is the wonderful, colourful biography of the greatest elephant ever known. Born in Africa in 1863, Jumbo was orphaned by ivory - hunters, 'rescued' and taken to France. Mistaken for a runt, he was sold to London Zoo, where he became the favourite of the British populace, from Queen Victoria to the young Winston Churchill - until, talent - spotted by the American circus - owner P.T. Barnum, and despite public outcry and Royal protestations, he was taken across the Atlantic to New York. There, having once more conquered public hearts and now a beast of giant proportions, he 'befriended' a smaller elephant, Tom Thumb - in saving whose life he was to meet a tragic end.This book not only unravels the story, but also looks at Jumbo from a zoologist's point of view. Why was he thought to be a runt? What helped or hindered him in adapting to unfamiliar surroundings from one hemisphere to the other? How was he likely to have reacted to the overwhelming public attention - and to isolation from his natural habitat? The author draws illuminatingly on modern knowledge of elephant behaviour and biology to shed light on the mysteries surrounding Jumbo's life.