My Life in the Cleveland Zoo: A Memoir

My Life in the Cleveland Zoo: A Memoir


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My Life in the Cleveland Zoo is a ground-level report of a time when society was changing rapidly. In 1968, Adam Smith took a summer job at the zoo as a tour train driver. In this position, he lived in the margin between the public's experience and what seemed to him to be an alien world of full-time keepers and staff. In that gap, a lot of adolescent hijinks crept into the routine of the part-time summer employees who were out-of-control and flying beneath the radar of the management.

After graduating college and spending some years in the corporate world, he found his way back to the zoo as a retreat to a healthier life. He left the world of ulcers for a summer on a tour train. By now, he was older and could see differences in himself and a zoo evolving and rebuilding to promote positive attitudes toward wildlife preservation. Instead of being a curiosity for the public, zoological gardens everywhere were recreating more natural environments and working cooperatively to protect endangered species.

Other things were changing in the 1970s. The government implemented Title VII and employers were no longer permitted to discriminate on the basis of gender when hiring. This meant women were entering the all-male fraternity of keepers, and background qualifications were replacing an inviolate seniority system.

Adam witnessed the beginnings of these transitions. He graduated from his part-time role to that of night watchman and eventually became a keeper in the Pachyderm Building. This is a unique look into a somewhat bizarre world of danger and manure. It is a memoir of a particular point in history when change ruled the day.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983306993
Publisher: Drinian Press
Publication date: 08/25/2014
Pages: 418
Sales rank: 1,036,430
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.93(d)

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