The Zookeeper's Wife

The Zookeeper's Wife

Book - 2007
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The true story of how the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. 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 Żabiński began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Żabińskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. 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, lynxes--and keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2007
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780393061727
Characteristics: 368 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

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Mar 05, 2018

As I'm in the middle of this book, that it is so difficult to get through to the next page and finally reading reviews on it I'm realizing I should have done that first. I knew this was a great book from this background but the author makes this a very very very difficult read.

Feb 20, 2018

I read a lot of books from this time period, but this is the first one that I definitely struggled to finish. The writing style was full of historical 'don't necessarily need-to-know' facts surrounded by suppositions about what the main characters 'may have' said or done. I haven't seen the movie, but maybe I would enjoy it more than I did the book.

Oct 29, 2017

A look a WWII through the eyes of the Zoo and people in Warsaw, Poland. Devastating details portrayed. Sometimes I got lost in this book. The details of personalities and the depths people went to help their fellow citizens was enlightening and heartwarming. People can be resilient and resourceful. Good thankfully out does evil but at such a high price. Maybe this is obvious from WWII history but in todays' world it seems important to be reminded.

Aug 28, 2017

I, too, drown in the details, very difficult to follow. Author's writing style was boring. The book was mostly a study in zoology. However, there were interesting historical facts. The movie was better.

Aug 15, 2017

I drowned in the details... more of a sort of non-fiction presentation than a story; not well laid out somehow. I look forward to the movie as hopefully they get more story and less fact based in the presentation.

Aug 09, 2017

This was a book of missed opportunities. The premise offered fertile ground for characters escaping the Nazis. Instead it was a study in zoology. How were they hidden or secreted. That became a secondary plot. Never warmed up to the characters. In no way could this novel be compared to Schindler's List. Very disappointing

Aug 05, 2017

Thought the book was okay but it did not think it conveyed how horrific the crimes really were. I never had the the sense that losses were that devastating to the characters. it was just like they accepted what happened and moved on. However, maybe that was all they could do.

Jul 27, 2017

Found the author's writing style distracting and boring. The author seems to want to educate the reader on her background research, as well as on the characteristics of the various zoo animals in addition to writing about the zookeeper and his wife. It just doesn't work. Maybe it gets better ...I gave up after a couple of chapters.

Jul 25, 2017

After reading several critics comments I feel compelled to observe that I didn't feel as critical about the pacing or writing style because I thought the author was writing in what she felt was Antonina's voice and style. She is the heroine of the story. My overall impression is that I was glad to read about situations experienced by Polish people during World War II who were not in the military, not politicians and not among the wealthy. Also, It was surprising to learn that, in the midst of war, there were those who were as concerned with the survival and safety of the zoo population as the war refugees.

Jul 16, 2017

Enjoyed the book. Made me want to read more about Poland's struggle and resilience during WWII. I found myself referring back to the black and white photo's in the book imagining the real life events.

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AbigailCurious Jan 27, 2015

Violence: It describes the brutality of the nazis, sometimes in great detail.

AbigailCurious Jan 27, 2015

Frightening or Intense Scenes: It has moments where you can be truly frightened, and believing that characters may have died.


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AbigailCurious Jan 27, 2015

AbigailCurious thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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Apr 24, 2017

“Dozens of statues and monuments grace Warsaw's streets, because Poland is a country half submerged in its heavily invaded past, fed by progress, but always partly mourning.” - p. 322


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