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The Zoo: The Wild and Wonderful Tale of the Founding of London Zoo: 1826-1851

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Set in the heart of swirling, Dickensian London, the wondrous history of a unique institution and the incredible characters—human and animal—that populated it.
The founding of a zoo in Georgian London is a story of jaw-dropping audacity in the Age of Empire. It is the story of diplomats, traders, scientists, and aristocratic amateur naturalists charged by Sir Stamford Raffles with collecting amazing creatures from all four corners of the globe.

It is the story of the first zoo in history, a weird and wonderful oasis in the heart of the filthy, swirling city of Dickensian London, and of the incredible characters, both human and animal, that populated it—from Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria to Obaysch the celebrity hippo, the first that anyone in Britain had ever seen. This is a story of Victorian grandeur, of science and empire, and of adventurers and charlatans.

And it is the story of a dizzying age of Empire and industrialization, a time of change unmatched before or since.

This is the extraordinary story of London Zoo.

From Publishers Weekly

Feb 06, 2017 – Charman (The Great War) crafts an affecting narrative of the first 25 years of the Zoological Society of London through the stories of seven of its most influential contributors. She relates the tragedy of Stamford Raffles, the zoo's founder and first president, who survived a fire that killed three of his children and burned his first menagerie to see his idea for the society come to fruition, only to die suddenly a few months later in 1826. Charman depicts Charles Darwin, a corresponding member of the Society, pondering links between species while studying the inhabitants of the Monkey House, and animal keeper Devereux Fuller proactively seeking to increase exotic imports, including a cameleopard (giraffe). Meanwhile Charles Spooner, the zoo's veterinarian, contends with the heartbreaking problems of captivity, suicidal kangaroos, aggressive monkeys, and the taunting of animals by patrons wielding parasols. Charman provides historical and atmospheric details of the era through the eyes of her characters; the ever-evolving city was "a tangled mass of coaches, omnibuses and pedestrians... Westminster... glimpsed in snatches through heads and hats." She writes her subjects' interior monologues. The book is nuanced, often entertaining, and also tragic, as the Society faced massive mortality rates in its early years; the death of Tommy the chimpanzee is particularly brutal.
The Zoo: The Wild and Wonderful Tale of the Founding of London Zoo: 1826-1851
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  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: History
  • Published: Apr 04, 2017
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Seller: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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