When British statesman Sir Stamford Raffles dispatched scientists and naturalists to the four corners of the globe to collect animal specimens, he had laid the groundwork for the world's first scientific zoo—an oasis in the midst of a bustling metropolis. The London Zoo nonetheless would not open to the public for 15 years, but when it did, it astonished viewers with the first hippo, wombat, and Tasmanian devil they had ever seen. In this "vivid, entertaining, and scrupulously researched" history (NYTBR), Isobel Charman recounts the visits of Queen Victoria and Charles Darwin, while celebrating the efforts of the visionaries and adventurers who made the zoo possible.
"Charman immerses the reader in Dickensian London as she presents the human side of creating a zoo from scratch. Charman delves into the disparate personalities of some of the major players and captures the flavor of the politics as well as the excitement generated by the zoo as the great minds of the age created a scientific wonder."—Booklist