Three young circus elephants were unjustly killed — murdered? — during the thirty-one years between 1885 and 1916. First, Jumbo, in 1885, the amazing first animal super star, was killed when rammed from behind by a speeding freight train. Why?Second, Topsy, in 1903, was killed when Tom Edison’s technicians carried out his orders to electrocute her in Tom’s misguided efforts to prove that alternating current electricity is more deadly than his direct current when he knew it isn’t. Why?And third, Mary, in 1916, was hanged by a misguided lynch mob led by the mayors of two small towns in Northeast Tennessee. Why?The short answer to Why? is that humans with the power of life and death were blinded by self-serving ambition and their acceptance of cruel treatment of wild animals. The long answer is found in the three books that follow.The freakish, grotesque deaths of three elephants stand as beacons of man’s cruelty toward our animal friends, a cruelty that presages man’s cruelty toward each other … cruelty that a more compassionate society can and should relegate to the deepest depths of history. Is that too much to ask?