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Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo [Hardcover]

Lawrence Anthony , Graham Spence
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 April 2007
When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, located in the city centre and caught in the war's crossfire. Once Anthony entered Baghdad he discovered that full-scale combat and uncontrolled looting had killed nearly all the animals of the zoo. But not all of them. U.S. soldiers had taken the time to help care for the remaining animals, and the zoo's staff had returned to work in spite of the constant fire fights. Together, the Americans and Iraqis managed to keep alive the animals that had survived the invasion. "Babylon's Ark" chronicles the zoo's transformation from bombed-out rubble to peaceful park. Along the way, Anthony recounts hair-raising efforts to save a pride of the dictator's lions, close a deplorable black-market zoo, and rescue Saddam's Arabian horses. His unique ground-level experience makes "Babylon's Ark" an uplifting story of both sides working together for the sake of innocent animals caught in the war's crossfire.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books,US; Edition Unstated edition (5 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312358326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312358327
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 15.3 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 550,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


""Babylon's Ark" is a compelling story of one dedicated man's efforts to save the abandoned animals of the Baghdad Zoo amidst the chaos, danger and uncertainty of a city under siege during the coalition invasion of 2003. Lawrence Anthony shows his courage and intense devotion to the animal kingdom as he risks his life in an effort to shut down the Baghdad Zoo and rehabilitate it. Anthony's crusade for the animals of the Baghdad Zoo is truly his line in the sand."--Jay Kopelman, author of "From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava "

About the Author

LAWRENCE ANTHONY is an acclaimed conservationist and founder of the Earth Organization. He received the UN's Earth Day award (making him the first South African to receive the award) for his work in Baghdad. He lives in Zululand, South Africa. GRAHAM SPENCE is a journalist and editor. Originally from South Africa, he now lives in England.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humanity in the time of war 2 May 2007
Mr. Lawrence is a courageous and brave man to go into Iraq to save the animals at the Baghdad Zoo. His determination and organizational ability to pull everyone together for such a noble cause is heartwarming. The Iraqi's, the soldiers, and Mr. Lawrence's passion for saving the animals makes this book such a great read. The writing is outstanding, the story is riveting. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Perspective on the War in Iraq 10 Mar 2007
Firstly I will admit to buying this book for two reasons.

I know Lawrence personally and we even got married at Thula Thula, his Game Reserve near Empangeni, in South Africa. We have seen the work he puts into bringing together all the different communities and the environment at home, so we were not surprised at all when we heard he was in Iraq trying to rescue the animals that had been affected by the war.

What can I say about this book?

This is a totally different perspective on the Iraq War to the usual, everyday stories that you hear. Buy it, read it and embrace one of the true success stories to come out of a war that we are all probably sick of hearing about by now! This book is totally unique, genuine and extremely heart warming.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting read 31 Oct 2009
By J. Moir
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I opened this book and finished it in two reading sessions, in short I could not put it down. Lawrence Anthony's stunning detailed account of the appalling conditions he found, the people he met on this adventure and the surprising humanity he encountered from unexpected sources made me feel as though I was right there with him. In this book, you live the dust,the heat, the stench,the day to day fight to survive in a war zone, the frustration of bureaucracy, the camaraderie of those around him and the extraordinary determination to save the animals.
Lawrence Anthony's account is one of incredible perseverance and resolve under extreme conditions and is both tragic and heartwarming. His admiration for the Iraqi people who risked their lives to help on this mission shines through this book. The assistance he received from the American troops was quite a revelation. Having achieved so much, we can share with the author, the frustration and sadness of the mindless incident towards the end of the book. I wept and laughed many times. Lawrence Anthony comes across as a person with deep empathy for humans and animals alike and would be a fascinating character to meet.
An unmissable read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing read 28 Jun 2012
The late conservationist, LAWRENCE ANTHONY deserves a recommendation for his bravery and raw persistance in the face of adversity. I just do NOT generally read books but being passionately interested in Animal Welfare this story caught my attention.
I have since read all 3 books [ inside 1 month ! ] about Lawrence's admirable life experiences and total dedication to saving and conserving wild animals from death and extinction through war, poaching and sheer malice by greed and inhumanity.
Amazon's price & delivery, once again, excellent and this book is a must, it contains acts of unbelievable courage, perseverance and total commitment to a cause which meant so much to one man so remotely connected to a war thousands of miles away.
With the aid of a few locals and American soldiers, Lawrence fought to save the remaining & dying Bagdad zoo animals whilst surrounded by the Iraqi war.
His achievements are simply awesome and have left a permanent place in my heart. He will be sorely missed but thankfully the continuation of his work will help inspire others to help save the threatened animal kingdom.
Read it, smile and weep. You will love it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it 7 Mar 2011
By Jade
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I didn't feel that this book was about the Iraq war more about the enormous and often forgotten about task of cleaning up after (or in this case during) it. This man is remarkable but he only ever states what happened, and never boasts about his accomplishments. I read it from the point of view of an animal lover and someone who felt they'd heard alot about the iraq war already, but once I got started reading I realised this was about humanity, the common goodness in people despite all the bad. There is plenty in the book about the animals too and the lions made for particularly tense read. The photographs helped emphasise that this is a true story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An inside account that was gripping and interesting, of rescues and daring raids to save animals all while a war is going on around.
I read this so quickly as it was one of those unputdownable want to know what happens next books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read 11 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written, unique, enjoyable. No more need to be said. A great holiday read! Brilliant story! Not like any other book have read before and gives a completely different experience on Iraq compared to other books!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting 31 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is uplifting although mans inhumanity to the animal kingdom astounds me. A really good read the author's other book is great too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is one of the best books I have read in many years
This is one of the best books I have read in many years. The amazing story of the author is a remarkable tale of an individual who just would take no for an answer in the face of... Read more
Published 6 days ago by A. Hyland
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Enjoyed this book.
Published 1 month ago by teaperson
4.0 out of 5 stars A story of persistance
The book highlights several peoples determination and persistence when the odds seemed at times to be stacked against them and their lives in danger. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Relish
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
my husband loved this book.
Published 2 months ago by Nic
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible man, incredible book.
Read the Elephant Whisperer first then this one so that you know about this amazing man. He should have lived forever, the world was a better place with him in it! Read more
Published 3 months ago by H. A. Knight
4.0 out of 5 stars babylon's Ark: Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Bagdad Zoo
The paperback was brand new and was as described. Incredible story by the late well known Elephant Whisperer Lawrence Anthony. Well worth reading
Published 3 months ago by Janet Hardy
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
A fascinating read. I learned about another side to conflict that I had never considered before. Very readable and unputdownable.
Published 4 months ago by Martha Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
Although I have not read this book myself, my son said it was good and would recommend it to anybody.
Published 4 months ago by Petetabs66
5.0 out of 5 stars Review if Lawrence Anthony's Babylons Ark
I recommend this book to all animal lovers, interests of modern day war time and anyone who is remotely interested in what animals must go through. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Cristina
5.0 out of 5 stars More people like Lawrence needed around the world
But if there was no wars he would not be needed at all. Then there is the other side of man, so they will be needed
Published 5 months ago by MR H.
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