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A Bevy of Beasts by Gerald Durrell

A Bevy of Beasts

by Gerald Durrell

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This is Durrell's memoir of his year at Whipsnade Zoo in the 1940s. He was 19 or 20, and it was his first real job. He lived at the zoo and learned about keepering as it was in those days. This experience, while retold with Durrell's trademarked hilarity, helped to form the staunch conservationist he was to become as an adult. A lovely slice of life, well-written and wry. His reverence for the animals informs every word. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Amusing, but I don’t think I’ll ever like Durrell as much as he apparently likes himself. ( )
  Harmless_Dilettante | Mar 10, 2010 |
Gerald Durrell, animal collector and wildlife conservationist, began his career working in the Whipsnade Zoo during the 1940's. This books tells of his early apprenticeship there. It mostly describes his experiences working with the animals and amusing incidents which occurred. His fellow keepers were colorful characters to say the least. Most of them had little factual knowledge about the animals, but would make things up to impress the visitors. Some of the more interesting passages include Durrell quoting passages out of old books full of misconceptions about animals, then countering them with his own careful observations. While at Whipsnade the author realized the important role zoos take in conservation efforts, especially with captive breeding programs and education. The last chapter closes with Durrell realizing it is time to move on with his plans and leave the zoo so he can pursue his dream of collecting animals. I enjoyed reading this book, it has an easy style which is entertaining and moves quickly.

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1 vote jeane | Dec 16, 2008 |
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