The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story

Written by:
Diane Ackerman
Narrated by:
Suzanne Toren

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2007
10 hours 55 minutes
The New York Times bestseller now a major motion picture starring Jessica Chastain.A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.

Jan and Antonina Zabinski were Polish Christian zookeepers horrified by Nazi racism, who managed to save over three hundred people. Yet their story has fallen between the seams of history.

Drawing on Antonina’s diary and other historical sources, bestselling naturalist Diane Ackerman vividly re-creates Antonina’s life as “the zookeeper’s wife,” responsible for her own family, the zoo animals, and their “guests”: resistance activists and refugee Jews, many of whom Jan had smuggled from the Warsaw Ghetto.

Jan led a cell of saboteurs, and the Zabinski’s young son risked his life carrying food to the guests, while also tending to an eccentric array of creatures in the house: pigs, hare, muskrat, foxes, and more. With hidden people having animal names and pet animals having human names, it’s a small wonder the zoo’s code name became “The House under a Crazy Star.” Yet there is more to this story than a colorful cast. With her exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Ackerman explores the role of nature in both kindness and savagery, and she unravels the fascinating and disturbing obsession at the core of Nazism: both a worship of nature and its violation, as humans sought to control the genome of the entire planet.
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Dolores M

I would recommend this read to anyone interested in history and the enduring human spirit. Love of animals and their job gives a testimony of how creative people can be when faced with overwhelming situations. I was so encouraged by the resistance recorded in this book against the Nazi regime

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Alex P

A great story but incredibly sad. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie! The narrator was great.

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Cierra O

this book was incredibly interesting ! I was not expecting it to be as engaging and informative as it was, and I enjoyed the narrator.

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Charlotte M

Excellent book. In addition to the story was the lessons learn d re insects, animals and history.

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Charlotte M

Sad. Did not like the fake accents in narration. Great history lesson

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Linsey H

I loved the mix of historical information with characters emotions. I became very attached to everyone in the story. The narrator was a perfect pick for this book.

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Kasey P

I throughly enjoyed this one! I love historical fiction, especially with strong and deep female characters at the forefront of the story. This was truly enjoyable. The narrator has a steady, calm voice and incorporates slight accents to aid the story and distinguish characters.

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Carrie Keena

This book is an interesting blend of history interwoven with the diaries of people living in Warsaw at the time of World War II. The narrator was very good, going back and forth with accents to distinguish between the narrative and the diary. Highly recommend!

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Colleen Gray

I guess I didn't read the description very well, but once I realized it was nonfiction, I was loving this book. An amazing story of the humanity and courage in a time of crisis. Every time I learn of the trials of our history, I am enriched. 5 stars

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Kathy Hornick

This is a timely book. Sometimes as a novel it was just a bit meandering, but I love it because it is a true story. I'm sure this story of courage over fear was played out many times across Europe in those dark days. Americans need this story and its lessons right now.: Courage triumphs over fear, when the right thing to do is so clearly defined.

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Joan Shinnick

Good book. Sad story. Evocative scenes etched in my mind. Thought the story digressed many times in order to tell the background story. Sometimes became a bit tedious. Highly recommend a related fictional story set in Germany called "The Book Thief".

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