Author(s): Diane Ackerman
This is the incredible story of the Warsaw zoo under Nazi occupation. 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 - both Christians - allowed Jews to take refuge in the empty cages. 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, several lynxes...With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us wholeheartedly in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers and their hidden visitors, fugitives from Nazi persecution. Antonina emerges as an unforgettable character, refusing to give in to the fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.
"* 'Stunning. Ackerman tells the story with a perfect rapport for its main characters, both human and animal' Dava Sobel 'Diane Ackerman has surpassed even herself in her latest book, which is alternately funny, moving, and terrifying' JARED DIAMOND 'I can't imagine a better story or storyteller... will touch every nerve you have' JONATHAN SAFRAN FOER 'Ackerman has found a winning new perspective with this heroic menage' GLASGOW HERALD"
Diane Ackerman is the author of the bestselling A Natural History of the Senses, among many other books of non-fiction and poetry. She lives in upstate New York.