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Walking with the Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Biruté Galdikas Paperback – August 25, 2009
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In this study of three great female primatologists, science journalist Montgomery moves beyond biography into ethology, taking a step that goes well beyond even her subjects' research. Goodall, Fossey and Galdikas each made a similar leap, the author contends, moving from observers and recorders to an almost shamanistic quest to enter the world of the apes they studied. These personal transformations are sketchily supported with anecdotes from the field, personal interviews and even a jarring account of an attempt to contact Fossey, after her death, via channeling. Montgomery adds little to Farley Mowat's 1988 biography of Fossey, Woman in the Mists , but she offers a few fresh angles on Goodall, Galdikas and other characters, human and ape, met before in their books. In an epilogue, Montgomery offers the intriguing view of these scientists as pioneers of a particularly female way of scientific knowing that deserves fuller argument than three portraits allow. Photos. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"This is a book about how love--the power that moves us beyond us and our own self interest to form relationships with an 'other'--can transform lives and worlds.... Author Montgomery brings an admirable grace and kindness to her treatment of the three women's lives and work, affording them, in many ways, the same dignity and respect they offered to the animals they observed and card for so deeply.... It is worth reading simply as expert storytelling, animated by particular and passionate writing."--Cape Cod Times
About the Author
Researching articles, films, and her twenty-one books for adults and children, bestselling author Sy Montgomery has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Rwanda, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels, and pink dolphins in the Amazon. Her work has taken her from the cloud forest of Papua New Guinea (for a book on tree kangaroos) to the Altai Mountains of the Gobi (for another on snow leopards.) Her books for adults include The Soul of an Octopus (a National Book Award finalist), The Good Good Pig, Birdology, Spell of the Tiger, Journey of the Pink Dolphins, and Walking with the Great Apes. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband, the writer Howard Mansfield, their border collie, Thurber, and their flock of free-range laying hens.
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The other book I recommend if gorillas are of interest to the readers of this review: Michael Crichton's TRAVELS. His account of gorilla interaction was extremely funny--how making his 6'6" frame seem small and unthreatening was quite memorable and brings a smile every time it is recalled by this reviewer, (not to mention his effort to climb Kilimanjaro in tennis shoes).