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The Dark Romance of Dian Fossey Paperback – June, 1991

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
The bestselling author of "Encyclopedia an Ordinary Life" returns with a literary experience that is unprecedented, unforgettable, and explosively human. Hardcover | Kindle book
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This portrait of Fossey, whose avid protection of mountain gorillas led to conflicts with poachers and possibly to her mysterious murder, also describes her acquaintance with Louis Leakey and her unsuccessful love affairs. Photos. (July)no PW review
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Hayes's book, promoted as the first "completely objective portrait" of Fossey, provides some new details on her life but has a rather offensive emphasis on her emotional and sexual history. Moreover, Hayes, who died in 1989 and was the author of the African memoir The Last Place on Earth ( LJ 4/15/77), pays little attention to the gorillas themselves. Fossey's own Gorillas in the Mist ( LJ 5/15/83) remains the best account of her obsessive and tragic devotion to the gorillas. Still, this book and Farley Mowat's Woman of the Mist ( LJ 10/15/87), which also describes Fossey's passionate nature, her unorthodox methods of protecting the gorillas, and her murder by an unknown assailant, will be good secondary sources for patrons who want to know more about this fascinating figure. Literary Guild alternate.
- Beth Clewis, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Reprint edition (June 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671742310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671742317
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,612,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By J. Marren VINE VOICE on May 20, 2004
Format: Audio Cassette
"Dark Romance" is a reporter's account of the life of Dian Fossey, an amazing woman with no scientific background or training, whose troubled early life provided no hint that she would become a ground breaking researcher in Africa. This book is not for those who are interested in the gorillas--Hayes mentions them often enough, but only in relation to Dian, her ties to them, how they drove her behavior towards others.
Fossey was mercurial and impossible to work with, in bad health with a serious alcohol problem, close to very few people, and given to fabricating stories about herself. Hayes reports all this dutifully, but I was disappointed that he doesn't offer many insights of his own. Often he'll present multiple versions of a story but not an opinion on which seems most likely to be true.
But this doesn't take away from this truly amazing story. This young woman simply decided that studying the gorillas would be her life's work, and gave her life to do just that. It's not surprising that given her rather unstable personality to start with, and after years of working in relative isolation, she became more attached to her subjects than other human beings, and her story ends sadly. Her increasing paranoia about preserving the gorillas in their natural state to the exclusion of all else leads her to acts of brutality and torture towards poachers that are painful to read about. And her own physical and mental deterioration is sad but seems inevitable. It is amazing that she accomplished what she did against such overwhelming odds.
Some object to the exposure of the seamier side of life in Africa, but I found it understandable given the conditions, and the struggles in the personal lives of these people make their accomplishments all the more admirable. I haven't read "Gorillas in the Mist" but I suspect when I do it will be even more fascinating for having read Hayes' book.
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My husband and I are going on a gorilla trek in Rwanda in few months and I've been trying to absorb as much information about the area as possible. Of course a great place to start is Dian Fossey - I was only slightly familiar with her from the news about her as a kid and the movie "Gorilla's in the Mist". I enjoyed the book for the factual information and not so much for the writing or story-telling (which I suppose could have been the intent of the author), but when I've read books like Jon Krakauer "Into Thin Air" I can't help thinking there was a missed opportunity here to be very personal with the subject and tell the backstory of how he came to be in contact with all these characters who were close to Fossey - I can only imagine how much better this book would have been had the author done that. But I did enjoy the book for the amount of information it contained.
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By A Customer on January 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I found this to be an interesting and insightful book. There were many surprises about the life of Dian Fossey. I have to say that I came away with less respect for her (and a few others mentioned) The roughshod treatment and callous disregard of the native people was disturbing to me. I believe she was not truly up to the job although she did seem to care deeply for the gorillas and that came through clearly in the book. The sexual shenanigans that went on reminded me of a sleazy soap opera. Somehow I expected more professionalism from those involved. One can only ponder why the wives mentioned would accept such behavior. This is a well written book that manages to hold ones attention throughout and is worth reading.
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