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Cover

Through the Lion Gate

A History of the Berlin Zoo

Gary Bruce

Publication Date - April 2022

ISBN: 9780197617236

320 pages
Paperback
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $24.95

Description

In 1943, fierce aerial bombardment razed the Berlin zoo and killed most of its animals. But only two months after the war's end, Berliners had already resurrected it, reopening its gates and creating a symbol of endurance in the heart of a shattered city. The Berlin zoo therefore offers one of the most unusual--yet utterly compelling--lenses through which to view German history. This enormously popular attraction closely mirrored each of the political systems under which it existed: the authoritarian monarchy of the kaiser, the Weimar Republic, Nazi Germany, and the post-1945 democratic and communist states.

In Through the Lion Gate, Gary Bruce provides the first English-language history of the Berlin zoo, from its founding in 1844 until the 1990 unification of the West Berlin and East Berlin zoos. At the center of the capital's social life, the Berlin zoo helped to shape German views not only of the animal world but also of the human world for more than 150 years. Given its enormous reach, the German government used the zoo to spread its political message, from the ethnographic display "exotic" peoples in the late nineteenth century to the Nazis' bizarre attempts to breed back long-extinct European cattle.

By exploring the intersection of zoology, politics, and leisure, Bruce shows why the Berlin zoo was the most beloved institution in Germany for so long: it allowed people to dream of another place, far away from an often grim reality. It is not purely coincidence that the profound connection of Berliners to their zoo intensified through the bloody twentieth century. Its exotic, iconic animals--including Rostom the elephant, Knautschke the hippo, and Evi the sun bear--seemed to satisfy, even partially, a longing for a better, more tranquil world.

Features

  • The first English-language history of the Berlin zoo, highlighting its central importance over 150 years of German history
  • Narrates enthralling stories about animals, such as the one of Knautschke, the hippo who survived the aerial bombing of 1943 and became an icon of Berlin
  • Shows how the Nazis, led by Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring, promoted animal protection laws as a means to spread their ideology
  • Offers vivid descriptions of Berliners' reaction to the peoples on display in the 'human zoos,' including romantic relationships that they formed

About the Author(s)

Gary Bruce is Professor of History at the University of Waterloo. He has published widely on modern German history, including most recently The Firm: The Inside Story of the Stasi.

Reviews

"this book certainly contributes to deepening our understanding of zoos and their varied histories. Bruce's study is worth reading not only for historians of modern and contemporary Germany, but also for zoo scholars and those more broadly interested in the theme of nature and modernity." -- Takashi Ito, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, English Historical Review

"Gary Bruce is certainly a captivating storyteller who keeps the reader interested from beginning to end. The book is geared toward a general audience interested in urban history or the cultural history of zoological gardens. It will also make for enticing reading for undergraduate and beginning graduate students. ... this is surely a highly readable book that adds to our knowledge of zoos as well as to the history of Berlin in the modern period." -- Dorothee Brantz , Journal of Modern History

"Bruce uncovers the many sinister sides of the zoo's history and the immense challenges during wartime." --Bernd Brunner, Times Literary Supplement

With Through the Lion Gate, the Canadian historian Gary Bruce has written the first comprehensive history of Germany's oldest and arguably most prestigious zoo in English." -- Herman Reichenbach, Archives of Natural History Vol.45.1

"[Bruce] provides not only an ambitiously researched, convincingly written, and detailed history of the Berlin Zoological Garden, but an insightful study of Berlin and its people....Recommended."--CHOICE

"[A] thoroughly engaging history of the zoo's development through time. What makes it so fascinating is that the story of the zoo is equally telling about contemporary society and politics."--Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Times Higher Education

"With Through the Lion Gate: A History of the Berlin Zoo, historian Gary Bruce (The Firm) delivers a fascinating historical account of Berliners through the lens of their beloved zoo .Bruce's engaging narrative is complemented with photos of Bobby, Knut and other beloved animals; the Inuit and Nubian tribes; and the beautiful pagoda-style zoo architecture."--Shahina Piyarali, Shelf Awareness

"Gary Bruce's lively book tells the story of the Berlin Zoo from its origins to the present. He explains its popularity but does not neglect the darker side of its history--the exhibiting of indigenous peoples in the nineteenth century, and the zoo's complicity in the Nazi years. Perhaps most important, readers will learn much about changing attitudes to animals from this elegant, informative work."--David Blackbourn, Vanderbilt University, author of The Conquest of Nature

"Gary Bruce has compellingly chronicled the history over the two centuries of one of the most important European zoos. His narrative evokes both the human and the non-human participants in that history. Perhaps its greatest strength is that he does not present the Berlin zoo as an isolated institution. On the contrary, he interweaves his account of the zoo's internal affairs with the larger cultural and political vicissitudes experienced by the city of Berlin and by the larger German society."--Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History

"In this fascinating account, based on meticulous research, Gary Bruce has uncovered the ways in which the Berlin Zoo, a favorite rendezvous for Berliners, adapted to the ideology of the political regimes that followed its foundation in 1844. We see people from far-flung regions being exhibited at the zoo as ethnographic specimens; we learn how under the Nazis its scientific work was manipulated to add credence to the regime's racial policies, and how Berliners recreated their beloved zoo after its almost total destruction by Allied bombing during World War II. So iconic a symbol was the zoo that with the division of the city during the Cold War, a rival, the Tierpark, was set up in East Berlin, intended not only as a place of recreation but also to reinforce communist ideology."--Caroline Grigson, author of Menagerie: the History of Exotic Animals in England

"Through the Lion Gate is an enjoyable and interesting book and a work of admirable historical skill that can be appreciated by a broad readership."--Nigel Rothfels, German Studies Review

"Intriguing historical personalities emerge from Bruce's profiles of animal suppliers and zoo directors struggling to maintain the institution under volatile political conditions."--Tuska Benes, History: Reviews of New Books

"this book certainly contributes to deepening our understanding of zoos and their varied histories. Bruce's study is worth reading not only for historians of modern and contemporary Germany, but also for zoo scholars and those more broadly interested in the theme of nature and modernity." -- Takashi Ito, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, English Historical Review

"Gary Bruce is certainly a captivating storyteller who keeps the reader interested from beginning to end. The book is geared toward a general audience interested in urban history or the cultural history of zoological gardens. It will also make for enticing reading for undergraduate and beginning graduate students. ... this is surely a highly readable book that adds to our knowledge of zoos as well as to the history of Berlin in the modern period." -- Dorothee Brantz , Journal of Modern History

"Bruce uncovers the many sinister sides of the zoo's history and the immense challenges during wartime." --Bernd Brunner, Times Literary Supplement

With Through the Lion Gate, the Canadian historian Gary Bruce has written the first comprehensive history of Germany's oldest and arguably most prestigious zoo in English." -- Herman Reichenbach, Archives of Natural History Vol.45.1

"[Bruce] provides not only an ambitiously researched, convincingly written, and detailed history of the Berlin Zoological Garden, but an insightful study of Berlin and its people....Recommended."--CHOICE

"[A] thoroughly engaging history of the zoo's development through time. What makes it so fascinating is that the story of the zoo is equally telling about contemporary society and politics."--Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Times Higher Education

"With Through the Lion Gate: A History of the Berlin Zoo, historian Gary Bruce (The Firm) delivers a fascinating historical account of Berliners through the lens of their beloved zoo .Bruce's engaging narrative is complemented with photos of Bobby, Knut and other beloved animals; the Inuit and Nubian tribes; and the beautiful pagoda-style zoo architecture."--Shahina Piyarali, Shelf Awareness

"Gary Bruce's lively book tells the story of the Berlin Zoo from its origins to the present. He explains its popularity but does not neglect the darker side of its history--the exhibiting of indigenous peoples in the nineteenth century, and the zoo's complicity in the Nazi years. Perhaps most important, readers will learn much about changing attitudes to animals from this elegant, informative work."--David Blackbourn, Vanderbilt University, author of The Conquest of Nature

"Gary Bruce has compellingly chronicled the history over the two centuries of one of the most important European zoos. His narrative evokes both the human and the non-human participants in that history. Perhaps its greatest strength is that he does not present the Berlin zoo as an isolated institution. On the contrary, he interweaves his account of the zoo's internal affairs with the larger cultural and political vicissitudes experienced by the city of Berlin and by the larger German society."--Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History

"In this fascinating account, based on meticulous research, Gary Bruce has uncovered the ways in which the Berlin Zoo, a favorite rendezvous for Berliners, adapted to the ideology of the political regimes that followed its foundation in 1844. We see people from far-flung regions being exhibited at the zoo as ethnographic specimens; we learn how under the Nazis its scientific work was manipulated to add credence to the regime's racial policies, and how Berliners recreated their beloved zoo after its almost total destruction by Allied bombing during World War II. So iconic a symbol was the zoo that with the division of the city during the Cold War, a rival, the Tierpark, was set up in East Berlin, intended not only as a place of recreation but also to reinforce communist ideology."--Caroline Grigson, author of Menagerie: the History of Exotic Animals in England

"Through the Lion Gate is an enjoyable and interesting book and a work of admirable historical skill that can be appreciated by a broad readership."--Nigel Rothfels, German Studies Review

"Intriguing historical personalities emerge from Bruce's profiles of animal suppliers and zoo directors struggling to maintain the institution under volatile political conditions."--Tuska Benes, History: Reviews of New Books

"this book certainly contributes to deepening our understanding of zoos and their varied histories. Bruce's study is worth reading not only for historians of modern and contemporary Germany, but also for zoo scholars and those more broadly interested in the theme of nature and modernity." -- Takashi Ito, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, English Historical Review

"Gary Bruce is certainly a captivating storyteller who keeps the reader interested from beginning to end. The book is geared toward a general audience interested in urban history or the cultural history of zoological gardens. It will also make for enticing reading for undergraduate and beginning graduate students. ... this is surely a highly readable book that adds to our knowledge of zoos as well as to the history of Berlin in the modern period." -- Dorothee Brantz , Journal of Modern History

"Bruce uncovers the many sinister sides of the zoo's history and the immense challenges during wartime." --Bernd Brunner, Times Literary Supplement

With Through the Lion Gate, the Canadian historian Gary Bruce has written the first comprehensive history of Germany's oldest and arguably most prestigious zoo in English." -- Herman Reichenbach, Archives of Natural History Vol.45.1

"[Bruce] provides not only an ambitiously researched, convincingly written, and detailed history of the Berlin Zoological Garden, but an insightful study of Berlin and its people....Recommended."--CHOICE

"[A] thoroughly engaging history of the zoo's development through time. What makes it so fascinating is that the story of the zoo is equally telling about contemporary society and politics."--Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Times Higher Education

"With Through the Lion Gate: A History of the Berlin Zoo, historian Gary Bruce (The Firm) delivers a fascinating historical account of Berliners through the lens of their beloved zoo .Bruce's engaging narrative is complemented with photos of Bobby, Knut and other beloved animals; the Inuit and Nubian tribes; and the beautiful pagoda-style zoo architecture."--Shahina Piyarali, Shelf Awareness

"Gary Bruce's lively book tells the story of the Berlin Zoo from its origins to the present. He explains its popularity but does not neglect the darker side of its history--the exhibiting of indigenous peoples in the nineteenth century, and the zoo's complicity in the Nazi years. Perhaps most important, readers will learn much about changing attitudes to animals from this elegant, informative work."--David Blackbourn, Vanderbilt University, author of The Conquest of Nature

"Gary Bruce has compellingly chronicled the history over the two centuries of one of the most important European zoos. His narrative evokes both the human and the non-human participants in that history. Perhaps its greatest strength is that he does not present the Berlin zoo as an isolated institution. On the contrary, he interweaves his account of the zoo's internal affairs with the larger cultural and political vicissitudes experienced by the city of Berlin and by the larger German society."--Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History

"In this fascinating account, based on meticulous research, Gary Bruce has uncovered the ways in which the Berlin Zoo, a favorite rendezvous for Berliners, adapted to the ideology of the political regimes that followed its foundation in 1844. We see people from far-flung regions being exhibited at the zoo as ethnographic specimens; we learn how under the Nazis its scientific work was manipulated to add credence to the regime's racial policies, and how Berliners recreated their beloved zoo after its almost total destruction by Allied bombing during World War II. So iconic a symbol was the zoo that with the division of the city during the Cold War, a rival, the Tierpark, was set up in East Berlin, intended not only as a place of recreation but also to reinforce communist ideology."--Caroline Grigson, author of Menagerie: the History of Exotic Animals in England

"Through the Lion Gate is an enjoyable and interesting book and a work of admirable historical skill that can be appreciated by a broad readership."--Nigel Rothfels, German Studies Review

"Intriguing historical personalities emerge from Bruce's profiles of animal suppliers and zoo directors struggling to maintain the institution under volatile political conditions."--Tuska Benes, History: Reviews of New Books

"this book certainly contributes to deepening our understanding of zoos and their varied histories. Bruce's study is worth reading not only for historians of modern and contemporary Germany, but also for zoo scholars and those more broadly interested in the theme of nature and modernity." -- Takashi Ito, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, English Historical Review

"Gary Bruce is certainly a captivating storyteller who keeps the reader interested from beginning to end. The book is geared toward a general audience interested in urban history or the cultural history of zoological gardens. It will also make for enticing reading for undergraduate and beginning graduate students. ... this is surely a highly readable book that adds to our knowledge of zoos as well as to the history of Berlin in the modern period." -- Dorothee Brantz , Journal of Modern History

"Bruce uncovers the many sinister sides of the zoo's history and the immense challenges during wartime." --Bernd Brunner, Times Literary Supplement

With Through the Lion Gate, the Canadian historian Gary Bruce has written the first comprehensive history of Germany's oldest and arguably most prestigious zoo in English." -- Herman Reichenbach, Archives of Natural History Vol.45.1

"[Bruce] provides not only an ambitiously researched, convincingly written, and detailed history of the Berlin Zoological Garden, but an insightful study of Berlin and its people....Recommended."--CHOICE

"[A] thoroughly engaging history of the zoo's development through time. What makes it so fascinating is that the story of the zoo is equally telling about contemporary society and politics."--Ulrike Zitzlsperger, Times Higher Education

"With Through the Lion Gate: A History of the Berlin Zoo, historian Gary Bruce (The Firm) delivers a fascinating historical account of Berliners through the lens of their beloved zoo .Bruce's engaging narrative is complemented with photos of Bobby, Knut and other beloved animals; the Inuit and Nubian tribes; and the beautiful pagoda-style zoo architecture."--Shahina Piyarali, Shelf Awareness

"Gary Bruce's lively book tells the story of the Berlin Zoo from its origins to the present. He explains its popularity but does not neglect the darker side of its history--the exhibiting of indigenous peoples in the nineteenth century, and the zoo's complicity in the Nazi years. Perhaps most important, readers will learn much about changing attitudes to animals from this elegant, informative work."--David Blackbourn, Vanderbilt University, author of The Conquest of Nature

"Gary Bruce has compellingly chronicled the history over the two centuries of one of the most important European zoos. His narrative evokes both the human and the non-human participants in that history. Perhaps its greatest strength is that he does not present the Berlin zoo as an isolated institution. On the contrary, he interweaves his account of the zoo's internal affairs with the larger cultural and political vicissitudes experienced by the city of Berlin and by the larger German society."--Harriet Ritvo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of Noble Cows and Hybrid Zebras: Essays on Animals and History

"In this fascinating account, based on meticulous research, Gary Bruce has uncovered the ways in which the Berlin Zoo, a favorite rendezvous for Berliners, adapted to the ideology of the political regimes that followed its foundation in 1844. We see people from far-flung regions being exhibited at the zoo as ethnographic specimens; we learn how under the Nazis its scientific work was manipulated to add credence to the regime's racial policies, and how Berliners recreated their beloved zoo after its almost total destruction by Allied bombing during World War II. So iconic a symbol was the zoo that with the division of the city during the Cold War, a rival, the Tierpark, was set up in East Berlin, intended not only as a place of recreation but also to reinforce communist ideology."--Caroline Grigson, author of Menagerie: the History of Exotic Animals in England

"Through the Lion Gate is an enjoyable and interesting book and a work of admirable historical skill that can be appreciated by a broad readership."--Nigel Rothfels, German Studies Review

"Intriguing historical personalities emerge from Bruce's profiles of animal suppliers and zoo directors struggling to maintain the institution under volatile political conditions."--Tuska Benes, History: Reviews of New Books

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Chapter 1: Out from the Island of Peacocks
    Chapter 2: The Human Zoo
    Chapter 3: To the Zoo! Animals and Society in the Imperial Capital
    Chapter 4: An End to the Sighing of the Animals
    Chapter 5: The Nazi Ox: The Berlin Zoo and Nazism
    Chapter 6: Animals among the Beasts: The Zoo Descends into War
    Chapter 7: The Hippo and the Panda: A Tale of Two Zoos

    Epilogue: Of Trams and Tortoises
    Bibliography