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The Zoo: The Wild and Wonderful Tale of the Founding of London Zoo

Viking Penguin (November 2016), Pegasus (April 2017)


The creation of a zoo in Dickensian London - when only one other existed across the world - is a story of jaw-dropping audacity. It is the story of trailblazing scientists, rival zookeepers and aristocratic naturalists collecting amazing animals from all four corners of the globe. It is the story of a weird and wonderful oasis in the heart of a swirling city, and of incredible characters, both human and animal - from Stamford Raffles and Charles Darwin to Jenny the orang-utan and Obaysch the celebrity hippo, the first that anyone in Britain had ever seen.


Against a background of global Empire, domestic reform and industrialisation, this is a new history of a new world.


An impressive work of imagination and research, as well as a pleasure to read” (Guardian)


Vivid, entertaining, and scrupulously researched.” (The New York Times Book Review)


She succeeds in personalising the story, bringing to life this extraordinary episode in humankind's search for a better understanding of the natural world" (Sunday Times)


[A] sprightly tale of the London Zoo from its conception in 1824 to the death of its longtime president in 1851. As The Zoo engagingly shows us, caring for and observing caged beasts transformed our view of animals―and of ourselves.” (Wall Street Journal)


Charming ... provides a fascinating Zoo's Who of the Victorian naturalists and wildlife enthusiasts who established a 'Noah's Ark' in the heart of the rackety capital” (Evening Standard)


"Fascinating ... nostalgia, social and natural history and the ongoing need to change" (Chris Packham)


"What an incredible story ... a charming and lovely read ... a striking tale of discovery for the people involved and also for us ... you can give this book to anyone" (Jonathan Ross, Radio 2 book club)

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