Zarafa: A Giraffe's True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris (Paperback)
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It was the Age of Enlightenment.
And in Paris, a gentle, wide-eyed stranger was all the rage....
In 1826, a twelve-foot giraffe, captured in the Sudan, shipped down the Nile, carried across the Mediterranean in a ship's hold, was now walking across France. A gift from Muhammed Ali, the most powerful man in Africa, this "beautiful stranger" would become an object of adoration in France. But in this compelling, beautifully rendered book, Michael Allin looks beyond the fairy tale to reveal the complex web of politics, culture, religion, and greed that fueled the phenomenon of the giraffe called Zarafa.
Opening an exotic window on the early nineteenth century, brilliantly capturing what it is like to see something for the very first time, Zarafa weaves a captivating tale of nations and nature, of colorful scoundrels and dangerous rulers -- and of a remarkable animal that charmed a nation, bribed a leader, and brought two very different worlds together.