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Through a Window Paperback – April 21, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Her first 10 years at Gombe (Tanzania) on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika produced the classic In the Shadow of Man. A fitting successor to that work, Goodall's newest continues the saga of the chimpanzee families with an engrossing account of animal behavior. She examines the mother-child relationship, noting that young males must sever the ties in order to learn male responsibiities (patrolling, repelling intruders, searching for food). There are profiles of special individuals: Goblin, who was determined to rise to the top and stay there; Jomeo, without social ambition; Gigi, a sterile female; Melissa, mother of successful offspring. Other stories of the chimpanzees include a brutal war between troops; a gruesome affair of cannibalism; incidents of injury, death and grief. The reader gets promptly involved with the characters--they have distinct personalities. In the final chapters, Goodall turns to the plight of wild chimpanzees today (loss of habitat) and the appalling living conditions of those in captivity (including laboratory animals). An important book for students of behavior. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- The detailed observations of the life, habits, and behavior of chimpanzees in the wild continues in this interesting account. The conversational storytelling style is readable for both science students and non-science-oriented teens. Readers meet the assertive but caring Gigi; the aggressive Goblin; and the cannibalistic Passion. Chapters are organized around either a theme or a particular chimp who displays a special character trait. The last two chapters and two appendixes are special pleas for conservation and wildlife management to prevent the extinction of chimpanzees in the wild and for care of the chimps used in laboratories.
-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1991 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: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reissue edition (April 21, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618056777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618056774
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,676,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In "In the Shadow of Man", Jane Goodall introduced us to the Chimpanzees of Gombe. If anything, this sequel is even more fascinating.
The whole study reads like a sweeping saga. As "Shadow" closed, the "main characters", the Flo family, were thriving, though there was a tinge of sadness with the realization that Flo wasn't getting any younger.
As "Window" opens, the inevitable happens, and we learn how each of Flo's children coped with her death - including a foreshadowed tragedy. We then watch her sons find their place in the male hierarchy and see what her daughter has learned about successful parenting from her mother.
The "supporting cast" is as interesting as that of "Shadow" - like Jomeo, a large male who never reached the high position one would have anticipated; Goblin, the Machiavellian politician who works his way up the ranks by befriending Alphas; Evered, who never reached a particularly high position but may have had the last laugh on all the males by quietly fathering the most children of the lot of them and Passion, the psychotic, nightmarish baby cannibal who sounds like something out of a horror movie.
The book also documents the brutal, disturbing territorial war that proved that Chimpanzees are capable of violence against eachother. This is a war that would have never been recorded had the study ended when originally scheduled - showing why long term studies are needed for long lived animals like chimps and elephants.
Both books should be among the first in the collection of everyone with the slightest interest in animal behavior. I keep up with the continuing story on internet, but I still can't wait for Ms. Goodall to continue with another book about what happened next.
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Format: Paperback
This book clearly deserves more than five stars.
Through a Window is the popular version of the first 30 years of Dr. Jane Goodall's pioneering primate research at the Gombe reserve in Africa. Arriving in Africa as a young woman who found she did not like office work, she looked for something to do. The legendary Dr. Louis Leakey became interested in the idea of doing parallel research on chimpanzees in the wild to shed light on the development of early man. He persuaded Dr. Goodall to trek into Gombe, and helped her raise money and respectability for the project. From the beginning, he knew it had to go on for at least 10 years. Overcoming great deprivations and dangers, Dr. Goodall turned this into one of the most important animal observation studies ever. In this book, you will get the highlights of what has been learned from that research.
The book emphasizes the closeness between humans and chimpanzees. The two species have 99 percent genetic similarity. Each can catch diseases that no other species can. In fact, Gombe was overwhelmed by a polio epidemic that affected the chimpanzees and the humans in the 1960s.
As you walk through the forest with Dr. Goodall, you will find behaviors that are very similar to what humans do. Is it any wonder that she supposes that chimpanzees feel many of the same emotions that humans do? The only major difference she finds is that chimpanzees never torture each other or other animals like humans do.
You will follow along with families of chimpanzees over three generations, and find out about what works well and what doesn't for them. There are even chapters about memorable individuals who had a large impact on the chimpanzee community.
Before Dr. Goodall did her work, people thought of chimpanzees as being insensate animals.
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Format: Paperback
I have always been a fan of Jane Goodall and her wards that she cares about so much. As a former student of anthropology I had the fortune to study(albeit in textbook sense only) the lives of the chimpanzees. Jane's book should be required reading not only for students of anthropology but for any member of the human species. She succeeds in forcing us to realize our place in the world and the ignorance in which we conduct ourselves every day of our lives. This is one of those books that made me feel two ways: one was to be ashamed to be a member of a species capable of such stupidity and cruelty, but at the same time proud that we have people such as Jane Goodall there to open our eyes to that which is right before us. Her relationship with the chimps is nothing short of amazing and inspiring. This book chronicles the years that she has spent with them and presents it to the reader in a way that also allows us to be a part of that relationship. Just as it has been of immense importance to her, she allows us to realize that we too factor into the equation somehow. It is because of that that we all have a responsibility, not only to ourselves but to our children to protect these animals and ensure they have a place alongside us in the future.
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Format: Paperback
When I picked up this book it was because I randomly chose it from a pile of recommendations a friend gave me. I had no desire to read it, and the only reason I actually went through with it was that a) I would have to give the book back someday and b) she always recommends good-to-decent books. And despite the obvious reputation that Goodall has, I still had no desire to read it. Having recently picked up (and put down) Rachel Carson's The Edge of the Sea, I was in no mind to read another nature-based book. That gives you a good indication of my mindset going into this.

I'm glad I was wrong. I enjoyed this book much more than I would have imagined - it's a fascinating read. I say that having had virtually no prior interest in chimpanzee's nor Jane Goodall. I doubt I would have read this book on my own, since there are a million books begging to be read every time I open my eyes. Sometimes you need to go where you don't necessarily want in order to find a jewel.

The title of this book refers to the window that Goodall gets when she observes the chimps over the years. Through this window she gets an idea of how we, humans, have evolved from where we were to where we are. It gives her a glimpse of the similarities - sometimes uncanny - between chimps and humans. This window often leads to observations you can never expect. Goodall's observations and her way with words fully draw you into the narrative.

Goodall writes anecdotally, attempting to illustrate her point with examples of behavior she observes in the field. These instances make the book much easier to read than a pure scientific approach.
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