This is a story of human decency in the midst of barbarism - how the zookeeper of Mosul Zoo saved the animals during the Isis rule of the city between 2014 and 2017. 'This is an unexpectedly funny and moving book. You might not expect to laugh when reading about ISIS-held Mosul, but through the story of a man who loves both lions and life, Louise Callaghan shows how humour and defiance can counter cruelty, and why both humans and animals crave freedom' Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News and author of In Extremis: the life of war correspondent Marie Colvin . Between 2014 and 2017, the 'Islamic State' ruled the city of Mosul, in northern Iraq, killing 'traitors', destroying books and oppressing women. But miraculously, in a park on the eastern edge of the Tigris, a zoo was kept open. Father of Lions is the story of Mosul Zoo. It survived under the stern hand of Abu Laith, the zookeeper, a man with an interesting past and a lifelong animal lover. His real name was Imad, but for as long as he could remember everyone had called him by his nickname, Abu Laith - 'Father of Lions'. And the lions and bears survived not only two years of Isis occupation, but starvation and bombardment by liberating forces. As the animals began to starve, Abu Laith and his family and helpers went hungry to keep them alive. They risked their lives to pick through bins for leftovers in Isis-occupied neighbourhoods. In a final heroic effort, the surviving animals were smuggled out of Iraq in a daring rescue operation. This is a story of human decency in the midst of barbarism.
Father of Lions is the powerful true story of the evacuation of the Mosul Zoo, featuring Abu Laith the zookeeper, Simba the lion cub, Lula the bear, and countless others, faithfully depicted by acclaimed, award-winning journalist Louise Callaghan in her trade publishing debut. Combining a true-to-life narrative of humanity in the wake of war with the heartstring-tugging account of rescued animals, Father of Lions will appeal to audiences of bestsellers like The Zookeeper’s Wife and The Bookseller of Kabul as well as fans of true animal stories such as A Streetcat Named Bob, Marley and Me, and Finding Atticus. “An unexpectedly funny and moving book. ... Through the story of a man who loves both lions and life, Louise Callaghan shows how humour and defiance can counter cruelty, and why both humans and animals crave freedom.” -- Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News and author of In Extremis: the life of war correspondent Marie Colvin.
'Callaghan's portrayal of a city under siege is many-layered and brilliantly told' Sunday Times Iraq, 2014 As ISIS laid terrible siege to Mosul, a zoo on the eastern edge of the Tigris was kept open against all odds. Under the stern hand of the zookeeper Abu Laith, whose name – loosely translated – means Father of Lions, its animals faced not only years of occupation, but starvation and bombardment by the liberating forces. Father of Lions is the story of Mosul Zoo: of resilience and human decency in the midst of barbarism. 'Father of Lions captures, with heartbreaking poignancy, the human cost of these conflicts' Josie Ensor, Middle East Correspondent for the Daily Telegraphy 'Through the story of a man who loves both lions and life, Louise Callaghan shows how humour and defiance can counter cruelty' Lindsey Hilsum, author of In Extremis
After speaking on teaching and influencing young people at a student gathering in Texas, Pat Williams received an email from a high school coach who had heard his talk. Coach McCall's email stated that every kid who's growing up is dying to live his life. But as people get older, instead of dying to live, they start living to die. His closing thought is What are you dying for? Unable to escape this question, Pat invites readers to ask themselves, When my days on earth are over, will I discover that I have wasted my life on meaningless things that have no lasting and eternal value? Most people are living for four things: fortune, status, power, or pleasure. But there are four far more meaningful and satisfying reasons for living--and for dying. These give purpose and value to our lives, so that we can know our lives have eternal significance. If you died tomorrow, what would people say? Starting with Jesus's statement that whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for the gospel will save it, Pat gives a powerful, practical, and encouraging plan for how to live a life that truly matters and to leave a legacy that never dies.