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In the Shadow of Man

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  7,302 ratings  ·  376 reviews
This best-selling classic tells the story of one of world's greatest scientific adventuresses. Jane Goodall was a young secretarial school graduate when the legendary Louis Leakey chose her to undertake a landmark study of chimpanzees in the world. This paperback edition contains 80 photographs and in introduction by Stephen Jay Gould. ...more
Paperback, 297 pages
Published April 21st 2000 by Mariner Books (first published 1971)
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Yegor Voronin There are fairly explicit descriptions of mating and also death (including an infant chimp), but other than that it's quite suitable for kids. Maybe l…moreThere are fairly explicit descriptions of mating and also death (including an infant chimp), but other than that it's quite suitable for kids. Maybe look ahead and skip the parts you don't deem appropriate.(less)

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Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My tattered and beloved copy of this book now bears the inscription:
Follow Your Heart
Jane Goodall

I read this book about ten years ago, and to this day it remains one of my favorites. Jane Goodall had gone to secretary school and just happened to have a connection to the Leakey family, whose discoveries have shaped our view of evolution today. A young woman with no prior knowledge about chimpanzees finds herself in the middle of the Gombe, following chimps as they go about their daily busi
Roy Lotz
Shortly before or after (I don't remember) I studied abroad in Kenya with Richard and Meave Leakey, I decided to read the books by 'Leakey's angels': Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas. These three are known for their pioneering field studies of the three great apes—chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans, respectively. I thought that In the Shadow of Man was a far better read than Gorillas in the Mist. I never did get around to Galdikas's book...

When I read this book, I loved it. I su
Bionic Jean
Louis and Mary Leakey were ground breaking British paleoanthropologists and archaeologists whose work importantly demonstrated that humans evolved in Africa. Coming along behind them in the the field of study regarding primates were three others who had worked with them: Biruté M.F. Galdikas, living alongside orangutans, Diane Fossey studying mountain gorillas, and Jane Goodall working with chimpanzees. These three leading female primatologists formed a group of what Louis Leakey (presumably ton ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Nearly 50 years after being published , In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall is still a fascinating read.

This is one of those special books where after reading, I wished for the existence of time machines. I wanted to be there with the author as she conducted her ground breaking research in the Gombe area, not seeing chimpanzees in a zoo.

The content, covering the ground breaking research amidst the close contact with the chimpanzees, is itself enough reason to read this book. But the story is a
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: red
I had previously read another book by Jane Goodall (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), which was in fact written after this one, so much of the chimpanzee-related content was not new to me. It was, nonetheless, still fascinating to read about. But what was new to me, was her description of how she got started on the project which became her life's work.

Jane Goodall did not naturally get set onto a scientist's path, and I had to wonder whether it would be possible for someone like her to
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I really enjoyed this book. Normally I don't read science books, but kind of made an exception with this one because I admire Jane Goodall and her work with the chimpanzees. Thankfully for me, this book wasn't over my head and didn't use huge scientific words that I wouldn't know because I'm not a scientist. Goodall is a good writer. She picks out her words carefully for non-scientist to understand. She wants everyone to understand animals as much as she does and this book does that perfectly.

Amanda Hupe
“At that moment there was no need for any scientific knowledge to understand his communication of reassurance. The soft pressure of his fingers spoke to me not through my intellect but through a more primitive emotional channel: the barrier of untold centuries which has grown up during the separate evolution of man and chimpanzee was, for those few seconds, broken down.

It was a reward far beyond my greatest hopes.”

I did it! I completed my Summer 2021 Reading List. The book li
Abu Saleh Musa Patoary
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jane Goodall was the first person to discover or confirm many elements of chimpanzee culture. In this book she gave first hand account of her adventure in Gombe National Park, Tanzania that lead to those discoveries. Even though she was talking about her research she did not hesitate to make it personal. She called each of the chimpanzee by a name, her own life, kid was also a part of the story. She was very clear to distinguish between the discoveries and speculations. After reading this book I ...more
Mary La douceur
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Highly recommend this read for both the scientific research and the delightful observations of Jane Goodall. Did you know her efforts lead to so many concepts about animals that we now take for granted? For example, that they have feelings, develop bonds and demonstrate some degree of grief when a family member dies. This has lead to research in dogs, birds and cats with similar insights!
Missy J

Once again, if it weren't for my book club, I wouldn't have read this book. Who hasn’t heard of Jane Goodall? I was prepared that this memoir would focus on her work with chimpanzees. She began her research in the sixties and started out observing the chimpanzees from a distance with binoculars, gradually getting closer to them and gaining their trust. At the beginning she was faced with a lot of obstacles and she still had to learn about the new terrain around her. I was impressed how she g
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bought the book on a whim and kept it sealed for a month since there were various functions being held at home. Once that got over, I started reading the book and was hooked from the word go, right in the introduction by Jane Goodall.
It was a strange situation! I wanted to read the book in one go, I wanted to savour the book bit by bit like a delicacy. Despite stopping to think over what I read and deliberately keeping the book away, I finished reading it in 6 days. It's very rarely that a book
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Goodall is a great writer. She loves her work, and she makes readers love it too. She has a great, subtle sense of humor and a beautiful style: as passionate as she is about her work, she does not take herself too seriously.
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great, favorites
I would say this book ranks as one of the most wonderful, most pleasurable, most romantic records of a scientific research-adventure. Dr. Jane Goodall is often referred to as one of 'Leakey's Angels', but it seems more true to say that Dr. Louis Leakey is Dr. Jane Goodall's angel, for he set her on the path of one of the most eventful research lives ever-- from accompaniment of Louis Leakey's team to a paleoanthropological expedition, to a trial run observing vervet monkeys, to establishment of ...more
Tanja Berg
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
Rating 4* out of 5. I've had a fascination with the great apes since National Geographic made a feature of orangutans sometime around 1980. I couldn't read, but I saw the picture of a child about my age sharing a bath with an orangutan baby and crying. I could relate. "Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans in Borneo" by Birute Galdikas was the first book I read. It was her story in National Geographic too. I read about Dian Fossey's "Gorillas in the mist" (or possibly "Woman in the M ...more
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science, early-man
I read Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man (Houghton Mifflin 1971) years ago as research for a paleo-historic novel I was writing. I needed background on the great apes so I could show them acting appropriately in their primeval setting tens of thousands of years ago. While I did get a marvelous treatise from this book on their wild environ, I also got my first introduction to the concept that they are almost-human, maybe even human cousins.

But I digress. Back to Jane Goodall.

This is the memoir
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The first of Goodall's works, this book details her early, pioneering research on chimpanzees. As Gould said in the introduction, this book is less about sterile experiments in a lab and more on observing the chimps in all their majesty. The light, seemingly effortless style keeps a lay reader engaged throughout. One is taken through the journey of Goodall's entry into this field of research, her early struggles, hardships and failures, and the success is studying chimpanzees in a manner never d ...more
Mehul Dhikonia
May 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to tell who or what is more fascinating: Jane Goodall, her lifelong research, or the chimpanzees of Gombe? In my opinion, they are all inseparable. ...more
Selaine Henriksen
Apr 02, 2012 rated it really liked it

Last week my friend Sandy and I went to see a movie about Jane Goodall's life which she was there to present and then had a Q&A session and signed autographs. She's 77! Sandy said that was definitely one of her items on her bucket list. Whenever Sandy and I get together something strange happens. She ended up with a touch of the flu that struck just as we were leaving and then throwing up outside of the car on the street. I'm sure my neighbors, because natch it was back in the 'hood, thought we'
Phenomenal for both its observations about our closest primate relatives, and the amazing adventure that continues to be Dr. Goodall’s life. What a treasure she is.


“The individuality of chimps matters, and ultimately sets the events of their history as a species.”

“Chimpanzees are not so much the shadow of man as our mirror, only slightly blurred by the mists of time.”

“Once we came face to face with a young male lion... slowly we backed away while he watched, his tail twitching.”

Udit Nair
This book has been on the list for quite some time. I am grateful that I took time and completed this book. This book is culmination of years of research done by one of the most beloved primatologist that is Jane Goddall. It's a mixture of both which is the scientific curiosity and compassion. Along with that the incredible insights weaves a great story around the chimpanzees of gombe.

When we look back it can be said that jane goddall committed a big mistake by allegedly anthropomorphizing the
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, science
Really, when I picked up this book, I was not that interested in chimpanzees but interested in Jane Goodall. I wondered how someone with no formal training initially became such an expert and world renowned figure.

In her book In The Shadow of Man, readers discover that her early love of animals, taking the initiative to get herself to Africa, and the luck to meet Louis Leaky, who saw her potential, are factors that loom large. But it was her patience, eye for detail, and willingness to live in
Apr 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Okay 30 pages were just up and missing from my copy of this book!! Maybe another star was hidden in there! I think when this book came out 60(!!!) years ago it was much more revolutionary. It read like a novel and you get to know the individual chimps which is fun. But, I wanted something more form it? I think is she had talked more about the social context of her research or maybe what she was really doing with it that’d be better. She talked about getting her PhD but not ever the topic. Someti ...more
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If I could suggest any one Jane Goodall book, this would be the book. This is where she started. It is emotionally charged and incredibly educational. I cannot think of a better book on Primatology. Bottom line is, Jane Goodall is an amazing person and this book captures that.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite biological/non fiction books!
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Jane Goodall is everything I aspire to be in life, and this book was just amazing.
Stephanie Froebel
Jul 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
What a fascinating read! I loved going through Jane Goodall's narrative and hearing her voice in my head articulate the worlds in phrasings so similar to her talking voice while growing to understand the complex structures of humans' closest known relative.

While reading, I can clearly see the years she has dedicated to her study, articulating an educated yet digestible tone for all ranges of readership. Goodall's narrative sharing her own observations, personal experiences, and the lives of the
Kenia Sedler
Jan 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vicky Hunt
Monkey Business

A descriptive and practical study of chimps in Tanzania, In the Shadow of Man functions much like a practicum course undertaken by Elementary School teachers in college. Concurrently with every course, students are assigned to a nearby school classroom where they sit, observe, and take notes on exactly what is happening in the classroom. This often involves the details of instruction, and learning. But, in one particular psychology course, our assignment was the campus daycare, wh
Zarina Marsaleh
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The drive for the pioneer field study on a group of chimpanzees living on the shores of Lake Tanganyika was due to the fact that the remains of prehistoric man were often found on a lakeshore. It was possible that an understanding of chimpanzee behavior today might shed light on the behavior of our stone age ancestors. In other words, it is for the interest in understanding ourselves. Overall genetic similarity between human and chimpanzee is more than 95%, though a world of fascinating differen ...more
Teagan E
I loved this. I can't promise that everyone would - I have a feeling it was a case of "this was the perfect book for where I am emotionally/intellectually/spiritually at the moment and it struck home." But even if you were to read it and not feel compelled to give it five stars, I really think you'd like it. Jane's writing made me feel as if we were sitting together over coffee; she's well-written without being pretentious, careful in her observation and description without being dry or over-sci ...more
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For the Australian academic and mystery writer, see Professor Jane R. Goodall.

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace is a world-renowned ethologist and activist inspiring greater understanding and action on behalf of the natural world every single day.

Dr. Goodall is best known for groundbreaking studies of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Pa

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“At that moment there was no need of any scientific knowledge to understand his communication of reassurance. The soft pressure of his fingers spoke to me not through my intellect but through a more primitive emotional channel: the barrier of untold centuries which has grown up during the separate evolution of man and chimpanzee was, for those few seconds, broken down.

It was a reward far beyond my greatest hopes.”
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