Review Detail

Gorillas in the Mist
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
In a format rich in primary source photographs and lovely page decorations of flora, the life and work of Dian Fossey is explained and discussed. Interestingly, Silvey has also given similar treatment to two primatologists who are easy to confuse with Fossey, Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goddall and Undaunted: The Wild life of The Wild Life of Biruté Mary Galdikas.

After a brief chapter about her childhood and life before going to Africa, we are swept away to Kenya where Fossey trained with Louis Leakey and later spent much time on her own living in the wilds and observing mountain gorillas. There is great supporting material as well, such as a chart of other animals found in the Virungas and overviews of gorilla species. Maps help to place where she lived and studied.

It's interesting to see how Fossey spent her days, and the details of what went in to her studies. The book does not shy away from her struggles with mental health and alcoholism, but treats those parts of her life briefly and in a matter of fact manner. Her violent death in 1985 is explained by not sensationalized, and it's good that the book ended with her continuing legacy.
Good Points
The timeline at the end of the book, with each life event written on a leaf, should be made into a poster! There's also a nice guide to the plants featured in the page decorations, and a good list of Further Resources as well as a complete index.

Readers who want to find out more about scientists, primatology, or groundbreaking women scientists will enjoy this pictorial biography of a devoted scientist gone too soon.
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