The Zoo on the Road to Nablus: A Story of Survival from the West Bank [NOOK Book]

Overview


The last Palestinian zoo stands on a dusty, dead-end street in the once prosperous farming town of Qalqilya, on the very edge of the West Bank.

The zoo's bars are rusting; peacocks wander quiet avenues shaded by broad plane trees; a teenage baboon broods in solitary confinement; walls bear the pockmarks of gunfire. And yet the zoo is an extraordinary place, with a bizarre, troubling and inspiring story to tell. At the center of this story is Dr. Sami Khader, the only zoo ...

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The Zoo on the Road to Nablus: A Story of Survival from the West Bank

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Overview


The last Palestinian zoo stands on a dusty, dead-end street in the once prosperous farming town of Qalqilya, on the very edge of the West Bank.

The zoo's bars are rusting; peacocks wander quiet avenues shaded by broad plane trees; a teenage baboon broods in solitary confinement; walls bear the pockmarks of gunfire. And yet the zoo is an extraordinary place, with a bizarre, troubling and inspiring story to tell. At the center of this story is Dr. Sami Khader, the only zoo veterinarian in the Palestinian territories. Family man, amateur inventor, and dedicated taxidermist, he is fiercely independent, apolitical, and resourceful in times of crisis. Dr. Sami dreams of transforming the zoo into one of an international caliber.

In The Zoo on the Road to Nablus, Amelia Thomas brings the reader into a world rarely glimpsed from the outside, weaving the stories of the zoo's animals, its staff, and its visitors into a rich, colorful chronicle of the indomitability of the human—and animal—spirit.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In the farming town of Qalqilya, close to the Israeli border, stands the last Palestinian zoo. Within walls pockmarked by gunshots are its remaining occupants: hyenas, monkeys, and hippos who have somehow made it through. The Zoo on the Road to Nablus, like the animal refuge it honors, is a monument to lives lived against the odds and the indomitable human (and animal) spirit.
Ibtisam Barakat
The Zoo on the Road to Nablus is beautifully written and entertaining. And ultimately it is hopeful: The zoo, after all, remains open.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

This engaging and deftly told book shines a light on a lesser-known victim of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Palestine's last zoo, located in battle-ravaged Qalqilya, surrounded by Israel. British journalist Thomas recounts a year and a half in the life of the zoo, following zoo veterinarian Dr. Sami Khader's dogged-often futile-attempts to transform a neglected menagerie into an institution of international caliber. An enormously sympathetic portrait emerges of Khader's travails-his grief over the deaths of beloved animals and his struggles to secure funding from a distracted government. Thomas crafts richly detailed depictions of the zoo, and her animal anecdotes are prefaced with meticulous-often tedious-histories of their origins (the introduction to the lion touches upon Charlemagne, Cicero and the 1893 Chicago World's Fair). Despite the lengthy historical asides, this book is a unique and fascinating account of one man's persistence and his fierce dedication to his animal friends. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal

Qalqilya is a formerly prosperous Palestinian town with 50,000 or so residents on the edge of the West Bank; it is also home to a decrepit zoo, the victim of years of deprivation caused by the intifada. Thomas, a British correspondent for the Christian Science Monitorand other publications, engagingly tells how Sami Khader, the only zoo veterinarian in the Palestinian territories, tries to transform the Qalqilya Zoo from one of squalor into something of beauty. His goal is simple-to re-create a world-class zoo; the implementation is not so simple, given the violence, corruption, and politics in the region. Without criticizing individuals or editorializing on local politics, Thomas has written an enlightening and even entertaining account of a man with a dream during difficult times. The writing is sometimes uneven or rough, especially dialog, but this is easily forgiven for the human interest and desire of the reader to find out what happens next. This book should appeal to readers of Lawrence Anthony's Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zooand Diane Ackerman's The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story. Recommended for public libraries.-Edell M. Schaefer, Brookfield P.L., WI

Kirkus Reviews
British journalist Thomas debuts with a fraught portrait of the Municipal Zoo of Qalqilya, the last surviving zoo in Palestine. Visionary veterinarian Sami Khader is the eccentric focal point of the narrative. From September 2005 to May 2007 (the period covered here), Khader repeatedly risked death by shooting to break curfew and feed animals on the verge of starvation in a war-torn zoo approximately 40 miles from Jerusalem. But the animals inevitably began to perish: Four zebras died during a tear-gas attack, an ostrich expired from shrapnel and a beloved giraffe struck his head when startled by machine-gun fire. (Khader eventually became a taxidermist in the hopes of at least preserving these casualties of war.) Thomas balances the sadness of the animals' suffering with tales of the small improvements and minor triumphs of the zoo staff in their quest to become recognized as a National Zoo. A scant description of the complicated Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be found in the first few pages, but the author gives only vague descriptions of political conflict and war in the remainder of the text, even when events affect main characters. She misses a tremendous opportunity to provide an accessible lens through which to view the bloody and complicated history of the West Bank. Thomas also never manages to completely embrace what should be one of her book's most important themes: the irony of a fascination with the animal kingdom that has led human beings to capture and contain animals for centuries, and the horrible price paid by these particular animals for that fascination. Intriguing and moving, though disappointingly incomplete.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781586486587
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publication date: 1/11/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author


Amelia Thomas is a British journalist, working in the Palestinian Territories and Israel. She is a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor ,Middle East Times, Lonely Planet and Egypt Today.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2013

    Love it

    While this book isn't for everone, I really enjoyed it. Even though its about the zoo you really get an insite into how these people have to live through so many terrors.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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