The Zoo by Isobel Charman - discussion questions

The zoo 250

We have some discussion questions for your reading group about non-fiction book The Zoo by Isobel Charman.

The creation of a zoo in Dickensian London – the first ‘zoo’ in history – is a story of jaw-dropping audacity. It is the story of trailblazing scientists, rival keepers and aristocratic naturalists collecting amazing animals from all around the world – and sending them to what was dubbed ‘the ark’ by the mocking press.

Telling this almost unbelievable true story, Isobel Charman depicts a highly colourful but often forgotten moment in cultural history, through the eyes of extraordinary characters both famous and unfamiliar – from Stamford Raffles, Lord Derby and a young Charles Darwin, to the medical attendant, the head keeper and the showman across town.

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