Review Of "Walking With The Great Apes: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, Birute Galdikas" By S. Montgomery

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In



Montgomery presents Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, and Birute Galdikas as models of empowered women revealing truths of primate behavior and striving to preserve our three closest relatives. This journalistic presentation provides titillating details of the women's private lives but is not reliable as a source of information on the animals. There are several black-and-white photographs and suggested reading, but no references or index. The book describes the lives of the three women, their relationships with Louis Leakey, with each other, and with the scientific establishment. Science libraries will find the work disappointing as it glorifies a mystic, shamanist view of primatology and is strongly anti-science. Both undergraduate and graduate libraries with an interest in the history, sociology, and anthropology of science may find the book useful as well as entertaining. The racist (black Africans are unfeeling savages, whites are compassionate) and sexist (only women are sensitive, patient observers) stereotypes suggest caution in use by unsophisticated readers. The books by Fossey (Gorillas in the Mist, CH, Dec'83) and Goodall (especially Through a Window, CH, Apr'91) are much superior. Advanced undergraduates and up.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

This document is currently not available here.