Zoo Story

  • by Thomas French
  • Narrated by John Allen Nelson
  • 8 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Welcome to the savage and surprising world of Zoo Story, an unprecedented account of the secret life of a zoo and its inhabitants, both animal and human. Based on six years of research, the book follows a handful of unforgettable characters at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo: an alpha chimp with a weakness for blondes, a ferocious tiger who revels in Obsession perfume, and a brilliant but tyrannical CEO known as El Diablo Blanco.
Zoo Story crackles with issues of global urgency: the shadow of extinction, humanity's role in the destruction or survival of other species. More than anything else, though, it's a dramatic and moving true story of seduction and betrayal, exile and loss, and the limits of freedom on an overcrowded planet - all framed inside one zoo reinventing itself for the 21st century.
Thomas French, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, chronicles the action with vivid power: Wild elephants soaring above the Atlantic on their way to captivity. Predators circling each other in a lethal mating dance. Primates plotting the overthrow of their king. The sweeping narrative takes the listener from the African savannah to the forests of Panama and deep into the inner workings of a place some describe as a sanctuary and others condemn as a prison.
All of it comes to life in the book's four-legged characters. Zoo Story shows us how these remarkable individuals live, how some die, and what their experiences reveal about the human desire to both exalt and control nature.


What the Critics Say

"The book captures the fascination humans have with animals, and vice versa, and raises questions about the purpose and management of zoos." (Kirkus)
"A thoughtful and moving but unsentimental portrait of life in captivity and a broad introduction to some of its most salient—and intractable—dilemmas." (Publishers Weekly)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This is one of my favorite audible books, ever. The author offers a balanced, well researched point of view, written with great style and affection for the subject. The reader is superb as well, showing feeling for the subject.
Read full review

- Katherine

I don't buy it

Zoos = conservationists? I don't buy it. Suffering, not death, is the worst thing that can happen to these animals. There's clear evidence they suffer in zoos and how often do these majestic creatures end up in circuses, where they suffer even more?
I looked forward to learning about the animals and about how well they are cared for in a zoo environment. What a disappointment.
Read full review

- Catherine

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-03-2010
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio