- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Mariner Books; 1st Mariner Books Ed edition (October 6, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 061808360X
- ISBN-13: 978-0618083602
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Gorillas in the Mist 1st Mariner Books Ed Edition
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In 1963, an occupational therapist from Kentucky, in uncertain health and spirits, traveled to central Africa in the quixotic hope of seeing a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. Dian Fossey had read everything she could about the reclusive and much-feared animal, and she returned from her trip convinced that most of the books were wrong.
During her seven-week stay in Africa, Fossey had a chance encounter with the famed primatologists Mary and Louis Leakey, who encouraged her to follow her dream of living among the mountain gorillas and learning their ways. In 1967 she did just that, setting up a camp on the slopes of the 14,000-foot Virunga Volcanoes of Rwanda and studying four gorilla families there. Although it took them some time to accept Fossey's presence among them, she was immediately impressed by their peaceful nature and by their generous, guileless behavior--so unlike the images found in popular culture.
But, Fossey discovered, despite their peaceable way of life, the gorillas had many enemies in the form of poachers who hunted them for their hands, skins, and heads--ghastly remains sold to the tourist market. Much of Fossey's thoughtful but often rightly angry memoir Gorillas in the Mist is a well-reasoned plea for the protection of the gorillas and the suppression of the poachers' black market. That argument found a wide audience when her book was published in 1983, but Fossey's work remains unfinished: she was murdered, probably by those very poachers, in 1985, and today there are fewer than 650 mountain gorillas in the wild. To read Gorillas in the Mist is a first step for anyone concerned with their preservation, and that of other wild species everywhere. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
"A fascinating combination of breathtaking adventure and absolute devotion to a cause." -- Farley Mowat
Top customer reviews
After I saw the movie "Gorillas in the Mist," I had to read this book. Though so much of the movie and the book are about her, I think if we could ask her, she'd say it's all about them. The one part the movie covers that the book does not is her tragic and untimely death. She saved the lives of many mountain gorillas, if only something or someone could have saved hers.
She began her studies in Zaire but was expelled in 1967 and spent the rest of her time in Rwanda at their national Parc des Volcans at the Karisoke Research Centre which Fossey established. Fossey states "one of the greatest drawbacks of the Virungas is that it is shared by three countries each of which has problems far more urgent than the protection of wild animals."
Gorillas in the Mist provides not just a wonderful picture and insight into the lives of the gorillas, but into the mind of this rare woman who worked with them. Dian was an uncompromising forest who fought like a tiger about what she believed in and held others who she worked with to the same high standard. She typed her field notes on a daily basis and expected the others who she worked with to do the same.
Dian had a great love of animals not just her gorillas. She kept chickens for their eggs but treated them like pets with one of them roosting on the carriage of her typewriter as she typed. When her pet dog is kidnapped by poachers she rustles cattle belonging to villagers and holds them hostage until her dog is returned. When a gorilla is found dead she performs an autopsy and then buries them in the gorilla graveyard at the Karisoke research center and this is where she eventually rests. She dedicated the book to some of her favorite gorillas who had died.
Dian was in a fierce and unrelenting war with poachers. She galvanized the Africans who worked with her to go on regular missions to eliminate and destroy the traps set by poachers, not just those which would harm gorillas but would harm any animal. Despite this, many of the gorillas she loved met their fate at the hands of poachers.
Dian was a truly amazing fearless woman who did much to raise awareness and an understanding of the mountain gorillas. With the gift of hindsight and knowledge of the eventual fate of Dian and the three countries which border the Virungas, the book provides a sad and eerie journey.
Dian was leading a relatively normal life in USA, when she made a short trip to Africa. She brought back some pictures and written descriptions of her experience with Mountain Gorillas. This eventually led to her being designated as one of "Leakey's Angels". She was chosen to study Mountain Gorillas, just as Jane Goodall and Birute M. Galdikas were chosen to study Chimpanzees and Orangutans respectively.
Dian studied Mountain Gorillas for more than a decade and she describes her experience in great detail in this book. She had great love and respect for these magnificent animals and this shines through in each page. Some of her favorite Gorillas include Digit, Rafiki, Uncle Bert and Macho. In addition to the Gorillas, she also had a pet dog, who she loved very much.
For the complete review (and other reviews and more interesting stuff), please visit my blog, listed on my profile page.