Zoo Nebraska

The Dismantling of an American Dream
Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
Categories: History, Americas
4 out of 5 stars (105 ratings)

Audible membership

$14.95 a month

Free with a 30-day trial
1 audiobook of your choice.
A monthly selection of Audible Originals.
$14.95 a month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $24.99

Buy for $24.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A resonant true story of small-town politics and community perseverance and of decent people and questionable choices, Zoo Nebraska is a timely requiem for a rural America in the throes of extinction.

Royal, Nebraska, population eighty-one - where the church, high school, and post office each stand abandoned, monuments to a Great Plains town that never flourished. But for nearly twenty years, they had a zoo, seven acres that rose from local peculiarity to key tourist attraction to devastating tragedy. And it all began with one man’s outsize vision.

When Dick Haskin’s plans to assist primatologist Dian Fossey in Rwanda were cut short by her murder, Dick’s devotion to primates didn’t die with her. He returned to his hometown with Reuben, an adolescent chimp, in the bed of a pickup truck and transformed a trailer home into the Midwest Primate Center. As the tourist trade multiplied, so did the inhabitants of what would become Zoo Nebraska, the unlikeliest boon to Royal’s economy in generations and, eventually, the source of a power struggle that would lead to the tragic implosion of Dick Haskin’s dream.

©2019 Carson Vaughan. (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Zoo Nebraska

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    40
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    29
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    25
  • 3 Stars
    21
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Life in Royal, Nebraska.

Extensively researched and well written account of the ill-fated Zoo Nebraska located in Royal, Nebraska. Vaughn paints the portrait of a small town in Nebraska that is pulling itself apart as it heads towards oblivion.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a great story of America

I love non fiction. This story is very much at the heart of America. It's accuracy and emotional telling makes you feel at home and uneasy at the same time.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Mildly interesting

A little far fetched. The entire population of the town would have to have been employed by the zoo!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Dismantling of a Man and his Dream

This was a fascinating book about a man who was inspired by a film on Jane Goodall and her work with primates. It lead to his desire to do the same. While the idea and intentions were noble, the results were anything but. It led to the foundation of a hometown zoo, which he poured his heart and soul into. It consumed him, took up all his time, energy, focus and drive until there was nothing left. He left when his health began to deteriorate. When others took over the hometown zoo, the unfortunate circumstances consumed others as well and lead to tragedy.
This book covers the highs, lows and everything in between in a fair and balanced manner. Events unfolded until several beloved chimps lost their lives due to human carelessness is very sad and troubling.
I read this book using immersion reading while listening to the audio book narrated by Patrick Lawlor, captures the dialog and essence of the work beautifully. Hard to put down and eye opening.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting.

I liked the story. The performance was ok. I thought it read.like a feature newspaper article, and less like a non-fiction story. Nevertheless, this book was deeply and thoroughly researched. It is Nebraska history and should be told.

There were scarce few heros here, save the tragic victims of a small town's naivety and perhaps willful ignorance.

I'm glad I read this and I know Nebraska better for it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A crazy true story, told well

I had to keep reminding myself that this book was nonfiction. What seemed like the telling of a fictional story from multiple points of view in a retrospective novel is actually a well-researched telling of a true story from eyewitness accounts and records. Carson Vaughan does an excellent job of telling this wild story from his native Nebraska.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Meh

The story itself is very interesting, but over written. Every character has a life story written in such detail you forget who the author is talking about and what role they play in the story line. This coupled with the fact that the narrator reads as if reading an instruction manual makes it kind of a hard book to get through. Also (spoiler alert). The end of the book is rather anticlimactic, making it a bit frustrating to have made it all the way though just to be disappointed. I did enjoy the story though for the parts that were well written.