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Book Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife

July 7, 2009

I decided to take a page from V (pun intended), and do a book review on the book I just finished. I thoroughly enjoyed The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman. For the first few chapters of this book, I wasn’t even sure whether it was fiction or nonfiction. The writing is beautiful and it’s easy to see how she has written several best-selling nonfiction books. The story is about a couple in Warsaw, Poland who ran the Warsaw Zoo prior to WWII. When war broke out and their animals had either been slaughtered, stolen, or had escaped, they used the cages and other areas of their zoo and home to hide and shelter Jews from the Nazis. Despite how much I have read and studied about Europe during WWII, I didn’t know that much about Poland (Warsaw, specifically) other than Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was fascinating to learn about the Polish people who were singled out (Christian and Jews alike) for punishment by the Nazi regime. I also learned a lot about the Nazi interest in rare and “pure” animals. I think Diane Ackerman’s experience with nature and human nature made her uniquely empathetic to Antonina. I had mixed feelings about Jan, but I had so much respect for Antonina and many other people who appeared throughout this book. It read almost like a novel, and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for an interesting piece of nonfiction and/or WWII history.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 10, 2009 10:29 am

    ohh, i’ll add it to my to-read list! i think you should always do book reviews – especially since i value your book recommendations so much! i can’t wait to see you in 3 weeks!!!

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