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The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
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Manufacturer: W. W. Norton
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 940.5318350943841
EAN: 9780393333060
ISBN: 039333306X
Label: W. W. Norton
Manufacturer: W. W. Norton
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 368
Publication Date: 2008-09-08
Publisher: W. W. Norton
Studio: W. W. Norton

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Editorial Reviews:

the New York Times bestseller: a true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.

When Germany invaded poland, stuka bombers devastated warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.

with her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her. 8 pages of illustrations.


Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: An uplifting story
Comment: The Zookeeper's Wife by Ackerman
This is a true story based on the husband and wife caretakers of the Warsaw Zoo during WWII. It tells a great deal about the animals in the zoo and the caretakers; there is also the story of the Underground movement and the help given to remove Jews from the Warsaw ghetto by the zoo caretakers. These escapees became the guests at the main house at the zoo and were often placed in the animal houses, to hide them from the German soldiers.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Profoundly moving
Comment: This book is an emotional roller coaster. Ackerman starts out displaying her marvelous descriptive skills, setting the stage.

"...on warm days, when the linden trees' creamy yellow tassels drugged the air with the numbing scent of honey and the rhumba of bees."

The linden trees are mentioned throughout the book as a bit of respite and a oasis of normality.

Ackerman's telling of the atrocities that happened in the Warsaw ghetto is strong and powerful and numbing. She counters that with the crux of the book which is the story of the bravery and creativity and survival skills of Antonina, the zoo keeper's wife, and the underground activities of Jan, her husband. Their story is surrounded by the amazing stories of the people of Poland who risked everything to save those at risk. The bravery and ingenuity and humanity wouldn't be believed if this was a book of fiction.

I feel enriched in having read this book and having my eyes opened to their story.



Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A fantastic read!
Comment: Whether you like animals or not, this is an amazing true story about WWII in the Warsaw Zoo. Couldn't put it down--fantastic character descriptions and events in living detail. What amazing people--very inspirational!

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: The Zookeeper's textbook
Comment: The Zookeeper's Wife was an interesting piece of work. A lovely story that read like investigative or textbook writing.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Too bad the story is not a story
Comment: I am only giving this book 3 stars because the research is fantastic and the story needs to be told. However I put the book down after merely 65 pages. The first chapter was excellent; told from the Zookeeper's Wife's point of view and well written. After that it was a mix of quotes from what I assume are diaries and historical research. I would rather read the diaries than this disjointed tale. Very disappointed as I saved this book to read on vacation.


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