Father of Lions: One Man’s Remarkable Quest To Save the Mosul Zoo

Forge. Jan. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781250248947. $27.99. HIST
Callaghan’s (Middle East correspondent, The Sunday Times) first book is a true page-turner. The story takes place in Mosul, after IS has taken hold of the city, instilling fear and terror in the region’s longtime residents. Against this backdrop, we meet Abu Laith, a zoologist, self-trained through years of watching the National Geographic channel, who is also the self-appointed caretaker of animals in the Mosul Zoo. Fighting intensifies and, as conditions for the citizens become more precarious, animals at the zoo begin to suffer as well. While Abu Laith does his best to keep animals safe and healthy, he cannot always succeed against the violence inflicted on his city. Just when things seem to be truly hopeless, an international animal rescue operation brings assistance.
VERDICT Recommended for readers seeking a more nuanced understanding of the complexities inherent to this region.

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