American zoos flourished during the Great Depression, thanks to federal programs that enabled local governments to build new zoological parks, complete finished ones, and remodel outdated facilities. This historical text examines the way in which community leaders successfully advocated for zoo construction in the context of poverty and widespread suffering, arguing that they provided employment, stimulated tourism, and democratized leisure. Of particular interest is the rise of the zoo professional, which paved the way for science and conservation agendas. This book is a testament to the New Deal's profound impact on animal welfare, the development of the zoo profession, and the rise of public institutions.
Jesse C. Donahue is a professor of political science at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. Erik K. Trump is a professor in the political science department at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan. This is their third book together on the politics and history of zoos in the United States.