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In the Kingdom of Gorillas: The Quest to Save Rwanda's Mountain Gorillas Paperback – December 3, 2002
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Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Having said that--this is an excellent book and I highly recommend it, especially if you're going to Rwanda. The book follows the development of the Mountain Gorilla Project from the last years of Dian Fossey's life through the Rwandan genocide and beyond. It is written by the couple who took over the Project after Fossey's murder, and tells their story in fascinating detail. It is a record of the ongoing struggle to maintain a national park in a poor country, of the commitment and hard work of a few people--Europeans, Americans, Rwandans--in difficult and even deadly circumstances, and, most importantly, of the interactions of poverty, politics, personality, corruption, ignorance, education, inspiration, fear, courage, joy and tragedy in the real world of conservation biology.
While this is about one country, one park (mostly) and one species, it will give the reader a much clearer understanding of the diffculties faced by field biologists, park rangers, conservationists and governments the world over who are trying to preserve wild places.
The book is written in a lively, conversational style and makes every effort to be even-handed with some difficult personalities (Fossey's not least of these). Even though the book devotes only a chapter to the horror of the genocide, it presents the events in both a larger context and very personal, affecting detail. In fact, one of the great strengths of the book is its graceful incorporation of the big picture and the snapshot to tell a whole story.
If you're going to Rwanda (or if you've been there)--BUY THIS BOOK!
In a lively and fast-paced narrative, Weber and Vedder document threats to the gorillas from 1978 � 1992, presenting graphic accounts of animals injured by snares, beheaded by poachers, exposed to diseases borne by humans, allowed to die for lack of medical care, and forced to live in ever decreasing habitats, with more and more limited food supplies. Working first with Dian Fossey, whose battles with the bottle and mental illness are well documented, they eventually found the Mountain Gorilla Project, working with local governments and international foundations to develop educational programs, slow down the devastation of forests to create farmland, and make Rwandans proud of the unique environment they share with the animal world.
The outbreak of the Rwandan civil war in 1993, and the ensuing genocide of over a million people, which no western nation or the U.N. intervened to prevent, are depicted dramatically, emotionally, and thoroughly, as the research team returns to Rwanda to find their workers dead, missing, or in jail. Ironically, the gorillas are thriving. As the country tries to heal its wounds and rebuild, the authors comment about values: "There are more than a few Rwandans who wonder if the Western world would have intervened more quickly and forcefully if mountain gorillas, rather than Africans, were being slaughtered in 1994." In Rwanda, it may be the humans who are the more fragile species in this dangerous land. Mary Whipple
While there is much within the book that is interesting, I found myself so turned off by their continued sniping and disparagement of Dian Fossey's character (even in the pages immediately following her death), that I had to question their perspectives and motives overall. They struck me as "Salieris"... so clearly jealous of her, her fame (which they have obviously never achieved) that their petty remembrances (she drank too much, she didn't give us wood) tainted the whole book. They were hired by her, clearly had a personality clash and then never got over it. Or perhaps they felt these tabloid "inside scoops" on Dian Fossey would help to sell more books?
Either way, they have lost. They didn't seem like good scientists or good people to me.
Thanks to the Peace Corps for introducing the authors to a then little-known corner of Africa. Thanks to Bill McKibben and Terry Tempest Williams for inspiring them to write an inspiring book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recently had the privilege of spending a morning with the Kwitonda Group of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda. It was a dream come true. Read morePublished on November 5, 2012 by Tim F. Merriman
This is a fantastic book. It looks at the authors experiences in Rwanda studying mountain gorillas. It is fascinating to read of the individual gorillas and the authors... Read morePublished on January 22, 2011 by Spider Monkey
I work at the zoo with the Apes. I am always looking for something on DVD or in book form to donate for our silent auction every year.Published on November 29, 2010 by Sarah L. Clark
I had this book for many years before actually picking it up to read. I bought it while working at a bookstore and even though I have a wildlife biology background, I do not have... Read morePublished on February 25, 2009 by Bibliophile777
I enjoyed reading about the authors' work with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, especially their emphasis on the human aspect of conservation. Read morePublished on February 13, 2006 by Lucesky
I read this book while on a trip to Rwanda & Uganda to see the mountain gorilla's. It is a magnificent book not just because of the couples work with the Gorilla's in difficult... Read morePublished on November 22, 2005 by Mr. Peter. Brennan
This inspiring book is written by two amazing people who found themselves at the right time and place, with the right knowledge, insight and determination, to develop and implement... Read morePublished on August 17, 2002 by Frank