As a young woman, Jane Goodall was best known for her groundbreaking fieldwork with the chimpanzees of Gombe, Africa. Goodall's work has always been controversial, mostly because she broke the mold of research scientist by developing meaningful relationships with her "specimens" and honoring their lives as she would other humans.
Now at the age of 60, she continues to break the mold of scientist by revealing how her research and worldwide conservation institutes spring from her childhood callings and adult spiritual convictions. Reason for Hope is a smoothly written memoir that does not shy away from facing the realities of environmental destruction, animal abuse, and genocide. But Goodall shares her antidote to the poison of despair with specific examples of why she has not lost faith. For instance, she shares her spiritual epiphany during a visit to Auschwitz; her bravery in the face of chimpanzee imprisonment in medical laboratories; and devotes a whole chapter to individuals, corporations, and countries that are doing the right thing. But most of all Goodall provides a beautifully written plea for why everyone can and must find a reason for hope. --Gail Hudson
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From Publishers Weekly
The world's most famous, and perhaps most beloved, female scientist has previously related much of her life's outer journeyAmost notably in In the Shadow of Man and Through a Window, which described her groundbreaking work with the chimpanzees of Gombe, in Africa. In this marvelous book, however, Goodall revealsAwith clarity, great passion and purposeAher inner journey. How invigorating it is to read the memoir of a scientist who proclaims frankly, and in language often infused with power and grace (a nod to Goodall's coauthor Berman, author of The Journey Home, etc.), an abiding faith in the sacredness of all life. Goodall, who's 65, covers her entire life here, from her earliest years in England, raised by a strong and loving family, through her apprenticeship under Louis Leakey and her years at Gombe, to her more recent work as an activist for environmental causes and animal rights. There are passages that verge on the mystical ("I and the chimpanzees, the earth and trees and air, seemed to merge, to become one with the spirit power of life itself"), a scattering of not terrific poems and great swaths of rapturous nature writing. The book's tone is highly emotional, sometimes sentimental, but Goodall is no naif. A chapter entitled "The Roots of Evil" describes her shocking discovery of chimps' capacity for cannibalistic attacks on members of their own community; "Death" details her despair at the suffering and demise of her husband, Derek, from cancer. Despite the darkness, however, throughout her life's adventuresAand there are enough, in jungle and city, to make this book viscerally as well as morally thrillingAGoodall has nurtured a fundamental understanding that goodness can prevail, with each person's help. This is a moving and inspiring book that will be treasured by all concerned about the fate of the planet and its inhabitants. 16 pp. of b&w photos. Simultaneous Warner AudioBook; author tour. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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