Zoo Story: Book summary and reviews of Zoo Story by Thomas French

Zoo Story

Life in the Garden of Captives

by Thomas French

Zoo Story by Thomas French X
Zoo Story by Thomas French
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About this book

Book Summary

Welcome to the savage and surprising world of Zoo Story, an unprecedented account of the secret life of a zoo and its inhabitants, both animal and human. Based on six years of research, the book follows a handful of unforgettable characters at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo: an alpha chimp with a weakness for blondes, a ferocious tiger who revels in Obsession perfume, and a brilliant but tyrannical CEO known as El Diablo Blanco.

Zoo Story crackles with issues of global urgency: the shadow of extinction, humanity's role in the destruction or survival of other species. More than anything else, though, it's a dramatic and moving true story of seduction and betrayal, exile and loss, and the limits of freedom on an overcrowded planet--all framed inside one zoo reinventing itself for the twenty-first century.

Thomas French, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, chronicles the action with vivid power: Wild elephants soaring above the Atlantic on their way to captivity. Predators circling each other in a lethal mating dance. Primates plotting the overthrow of their king. The sweeping narrative takes the reader from the African savannah to the forests of Panama and deep into the inner workings of a place some describe as a sanctuary and others condemn as a prison. All of it comes to life in the book's four-legged characters. Even animal lovers will be startled by the emotional charge of these creatures' histories, which read as though they were co-written by Dickens and Darwin.

Zoo Story shows us how these remarkable individuals live, how some die, and what their experiences reveal about the human desire to both exalt and control nature.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"A thoughtful and moving but unsentimental portrait of life in captivity and a broad introduction to some of its most salient—and intractable—dilemmas." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A well-constructed, colorful read for animal lovers." - Kirkus Reviews

"This behind-the-scenes look will both entertain and enlighten animal lovers. It is a story that needs to be told, and French does it superbly." - Library Journal

This information about Zoo Story was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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T Wilson

Animal Magnetisim
I live in the Tampa Bay area and have been to The Lowry Park Zoo on many occasions. This book knocked me off my reading chair. It opens with the disturbing killing of elephants in Africa due to over population and the story of how several elephants were relocated to the Lowry Park Zoo. The author gives the reader a glimpse behind the scenes of operating a zoo along with the politics of fundraising. He gives credence to proponents of zoos and a voice to those who feel animals should never be caged for the enjoyment of others. He tells the story of the animals who came to live at the zoo and the people who cared for and loved them. The book evoked many emotions including anger, laughter and tears. It is the kind of book that you will never forget.

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Author Information

Thomas French

Thomas French has been a journalist for three decades. For most of that time, he worked as a reporter at the St. Petersburg Times, where he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. He now teaches journalism at Indiana University.

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