Babylon’s Ark [Book Review]

Animal Culture is in Madrid, Spain with author, Kalie Lyn. We mark our second “Book Review Thursday” with a book about animals affected by war.

Almost two years ago, in 2012, Kalie Lyn read this book while living in Spain. Reading while traveling to and from home on the metros and trains, she would be mentally transported from the crowded, hot public transportation to a place where the books would take her. This specific book took her to Baghdad, Iraq, where one man risked his life to save the lives of animals.

Happy Reading All!

Title:  Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo

Author: Lawrence Anthony

Synopsis: “When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, located in the city center 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 firefights. Together the Americans and Iraqis had managed to keep alive the animals that had survived the invasion.” 

ISBN: 0312358326

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


When tragedy strikes, whether it is war or a natural disaster, the lives of people are everyone’s first priority.  However, humans are not the only ones affected during tough times, and it seems that animals, who suffer as much if not more, are often forgotten about or left behind.  In Lawrence Anthony’s Babylon’s Ark, the true-life rescue of the animals in war-torn Baghdad reminds us how truly devastating war can be on every being.

Beginning with the frantic rush to try to save Baghdad’s zoo, Lawrence Anthony captivates you from the first page.  His reasons for going to Iraq are honorable, and his struggles throughout his journey bring both tears of sorrow and sighs of relief as the lives of neglected animals are fought for in a city that is already fighting.  However, the book not only highlights the animal’s lives, but also the people of Baghdad and the city itself.  Brave soldiers, Iraqis, and foreigners are thrown together in an unlikely situation, as they not only help the zoo’s animals, but also the mistreated and abandoned animals of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein and his sons.

Lawrence Anthony writes with such passion that the 245 page book took me only days to read as I hesitated to put it down, and the pictures comprised in the middle bring all the scenes to life.  The ending was my favorite as Anthony dedicated a chapter to how everyone could make a difference not only for animals and people, but for Planet Earth in general.  Babylon’s Ark definitely sheds a different light on the Iraq war, and is a highly recommended read for all avid readers and animal lovers.

Purchase it at here: Babylon’s Ark

Have you read this book? What was your take on it? Join the discussion below!

*Note: The synopsis was taken from The review was written by © Kalie Lyn 2012, originally published on her personal blog, Palm Trees & Bare Feet.*

2 responses to “Babylon’s Ark [Book Review]

  1. I have read the author’s “The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World’s Greatest Creatures”. Enjoyed that book immensely.

    This book looks to be another winner. I need to check this one out.



    • This book is definitely worth a read.

      Lawrence Anthony is a great author, and “The Last Rhinos” sounds like to book to add to our reading list!

      Thanks for your comment, B2B – and the book recommendation! 🙂


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