Diane Ackerman tells the story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo prior to World War II. When the Germans bombed Warsaw, much of their zoo was destroyed, and many of their animals killed. Yet, Jan and his wife Antonina struggled against Nazi occupation, using their house and the Zoo grounds as temporary shelter for over three hundred Jews smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto, while trying to keep their family (human and animal) and their sanity together throughout the ravages and hardships of war. Even while watching their beloved animals taken away, killed by soldiers for rifle practice, the Zabinskis never stopped helping those in need. This sad book was a fascinating well researched account of WWII Warsaw. I loved how the author showed us the connection how humans, like animals, must adapt to survive. The book in parts was just far too detailed, and I would have preferred if it read more like a novel.
RATING - 4/5 - COMPLETED - 9/7/08