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Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    True Grit

    Multidimensional in scope. The author tells how he rallied and worked with the war-shattered Iraqi zookeepers to save the traumatized zoo animals that survived the bombing of Iraq and their subsequent extreme neglect. He also gives an interesting and eye-opening account of what life was like for himself, and the Iraqi people in the lawless and dangerous aftermath of the bombing. Lawrence Anthony gives us a revealing glimpse of our own soldiers and the way they showed a great willingness to help his cause. He describes living conditions for himself, the soldiers, and the Iraqi people that I doubt most of us could tolerate for any length of time. The conditions that he found at the zoo would be intolerable for most people to be near. His determination and sense of morality gave him the strength to bear the dangerous and nightmarish scene. In addition, he tells a bit of what his life is like in his homeland of South Africa. Lawrence Anthony is a man of deep conviction regarding the importance of animals and the responsibility that man has to protect their right to exist. He is a man of action who sees a problem and sets out to correct it even at great personal peril. While reading of the tremendous efforts that were made on behalf of the zoo animals, a question flashed through my mind; what about the children who were suffering and traumatized by the war? Aren't they more important than animals? As you read this story you will see, as I did, that the restoration of the zoo was a great benefit not only to the animals but to the Iraqi people. In the end, the best of humanity is defined by the ability to love and care for all creatures. This book will be of interest to any one. I would love to see middle and high school students read it because it models unselfish behavior and hard work. It may be inspirational to those who have a feeling that there is more to life than constant texting and watching reality shows. Most people find that when they reach out to help someone in need, they actually feel they received more from the experience than what they gave. Lawrence Anthony gave a great deal to right a wrong, and "draw a line in the sand". The world truly needs more people like him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 31, 2013

    highly recommend this book

    I love reading these kinds of books, to see how animals are given the right to live and prosper in a zoo and taken care of properly.. it kept my interest all the time and hated to put the book down, couldn't wait to get back to it.. it gives real life adventures and not some supernatural time... the animals and the keepers in this book should all be commended.. trying to do something so brave in the middle of a war!!!!!!! is unbelievable and yet they did it and cared more about the animals then themselves in the midst of chaos!!!!!
    anyone who doesn't think this is a good book, needs to put themselves in the persons shoes who did this and I guarantee it will make a difference in their life!!!!! hope to read more of Lawrence
    Anthonys books.. keep them coming!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013


    I liked this book because, besides talking about the state of the zoo animals, it gave great insight as to what was going on in the area and what our troops were up against.

    I give great credit to Lawrence Anthony for stepping up on behalf of the animals

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Inspirational story wound around a sad commentary

    How many times do we ask,"what difference can only one person make?" Lawrence Anthony shows us the way to transform & renew our spirit through the conservation of the planet's animal kingdom. This story is one man's journey soon joined by others until a snowball effect transforms a war torn zoo to a place of civic pride and decent animal care. Maybe, just maybe, there is hope for our own species after all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Recommended - fun and easy to read..

    I thought it was great! I liked both this one and his other book as well, (The Elephant Whisperer). It was enjoyable to read as well as enlightening, on the plight of the animals.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The story of the zoo that was in the wrong place at the wrong time...

    This is the story of the Baghdad Zoo, which was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time, being in Baghdad in the middle of a war.

    When the author arrived, he found a zoo that he didn't have much hope he could save. He wondered if he shouldn't just destroy the zoo and put the animals out of their misery. However, through hard work, determination, a lot of hope, and a lot of luck, the animals survived and the zoo was rebuilt better than it was in the beginning.

    This isn't just the story of the zoo. This is the story of the author, who of his own accord decided he had to get to Baghdad, and left the game reserve he lived on in African to get there. This is also the story of the brave people of Iraq, who went back to work at the zoo to rebuild something that was important to them, knowing the entire time that their lives were in danger. It's definitely a testament to the bravery of some humans, and the ugliness that is war.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2008

    A reviewer

    I actually checked this book out from my local library because it looked interesting. I enjoyed it so much that I would be willing to buy it and read it again. It is real, hits home, shows true passion, and shows the difference that an individual can make. They just can't give up. This is a book that any animal lover, person that works with animals professionaly, and student who is studying to work with animals should read. Or, if you simply want to read about something positive amidst the negatives of the war.

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    Posted December 2, 2009

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    Posted June 9, 2013

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    Posted January 5, 2009

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    Posted January 18, 2013

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    Posted September 29, 2010

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    Posted January 10, 2009

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