Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Gorillas in the Mist” as Want to Read:
Gorillas in the Mist
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Gorillas in the Mist

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  19,248 ratings  ·  244 reviews
One of the most important books ever written about our connection to the natural world, Gorillas in the Mist is the riveting account of Dian Fossey's thirteen years in a remote African rain forest with the greatest of the great apes. Fossey's extraordinary efforts to ensure the future of the rain forest and its remaining mountain gorillas are captured in her own words and
Paperback, 326 pages
Published October 6th 2000 by Mariner Books (first published August 25th 1983)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Gorillas in the Mist, please sign up.
Recent Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,248 ratings  ·  244 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Gorillas in the Mist
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Legendary anthropologist Louis Leakey believed that field study of the great apes, our closet living relatives, could yield important insights into the behavior of early hominids. He recruited Jane Goodall to study chimpanzees in the wild. Dian Fossey was his "gorilla girl" and in this memoir she "recounts some of the events of the thirteen years... spent with the mountain gorillas in their natural habitat." Two years after publishing this book in 1983, Fossey was murdered--the case still remain ...more
Gorillas in the Mist tells of the thirteen years Dian Fossey spent studying mountain gorillas in their natural habitat—in the Parc des Virungas located in the predominantly dormant volcano range at the border of Rwanda, Uganda and Zaire. With the support of British paleoanthropologist Professor Louis Leakey (1903-1972), who had arranged studies of chimpanzees by Jane Goodall and orangutans by Birutė Galdikas, Fossey established the Karisoki Research Center. At the start this was simply two tents ...more
3.5 stars
I can’t even begin to imagine how Dian Fossey lived for so many years in the mountains in Rwanda. I like my personal space and solitude, but that sounds a bit much, even for me! I also couldn’t understand how she could have so much information on several groups of gorillas (she’s only one woman - how did she manage to observe more than 4 groups of gorillas so closely with only the help of some trackers?), but this was answered toward the end of the book when she talked about students an
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed both the Nat Geo documentary and the film with Sigourney Weaver about Dian Fossey but her own story and the story of the gorillas based on her interactions with them is even more interesting.

Written before her murder somewhat eclipsed her story, it offers such detailed tales of each of the gorilla groups lives that you almost forget that Dian Fossey was sitting and observing these groups for years on end to put these dramatic narratives together.

I recently “adopted” a baby gorilla cal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
I've never been a big fan of primates, so I went into this book with low expectations, reading it solely because it allowed me to make progress on a challenge I wanted to finish before the end of the year. But Dian Fossey was a big fan of primates, especially the mountain gorillas of East Africa, and her passion and enthusiasm for some of our closest living relatives created a fascinating, often heartbreaking, book that I enjoyed despite myself.

Fossey was clearly a meticulous researcher, not to
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A lovely book that shows how the love of nature can overwhelm even a trained scientist. Not really a scientific book per se, although there is some good science in the book, especially early on. But a story of passion and a love affair with nature.
Vicky Hunt
Between the Majestic Mountains and the Shadow of Death

The book, Gorillas in the Mist, is built around the establishment of the Karisoke Research Center, the ecology of the Virungas, and a massive amount of study on Gorilla behavior. It provides a different view of Rwanda, rather than the human genocides. The writing is refreshingly authentic and the organization of the book and the revelation of the story has a logical flow and sequence. The reader may expect conservation politics but will not
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was not expecting to enjoy this book so much. Like many people who live in Rwanda, I think, I have mixed feelings about Dian Fossey, myself leaning on the side of dislike.

On the one hand, she almost single-handedly reversed the alarming decline of the world's only mountain gorillas. Unlike lowland gorillas, which are native to a handful of regions of the world and can survive in zoos, mountain gorillas are only found in the Virunga Mountains' volcano chain at the intersection of Rwanda, Democr
Deborah Pickstone
Although Ms Fossey keeps telling us we should not anthropomorphise the gorillas, she does so constantly - which is endearing, rather than annoying, in this case - and keeping in mind the chronological context of her memoir also. In fact, in some ways the more loose standards of field work then were more humane than what happens now - and to decide the ethicality of any set of standards applied to field work can only come down to individual ethics for the armchair reader; today there is a set of ...more
Madhulika Liddle
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
In 1967, Dian Fossey went on her very first trip to Africa. There were two main objectives for her trip: one, to go to the Congo (later Zaire) and see the mountain gorillas of the Virunga volcanic peaks; two, to meet the famous Dr Louis Leakey. That trip was the first step towards Fossey’s setting out to observe mountain gorillas, and to subsequently set up the Karisoke Research Center in the Virungas. Her story is documented here, in Gorillas in the Mist.

This memoir is split into 12 chapters,
After each display, the gorillas would look at us quizzically as if trying to determine the effect of their show. It was their individuality combined with the shyness of their behavior that remained the most captivating impression of this first encounter with the greatest of the great apes. I left Kabara with reluctance but with never a doubt that I would, somehow, return to learn more about the gorillas of the mist mountains.
Jul 24, 2013 rated it liked it

Anyone who knows anything about Fossey and her research knows the highlights (or lowlights, as the most memorable are also the saddest) of her story. This really gives a closer look at the day-to-day and the way Fossey worked from her own point of view. It's understood straight away that she feels strongly, very, no extremely strongly. She beats you over the head with what her views are, how she thinks things should be done in regards to conservation, and how they should n
Sep 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
The legendary autobiographical account of Dian Fossey and her passionate quest to study and save the few remaining mountain gorillas from extinction. I am glad that I read this book AFTER our own mountain gorilla trek, because I was able to connect with her commentary regarding the jungle, the local culture, and the trekking experience more completely. The book is a bit confusing with regards to timeline, but Fossey's strength of character and heroism clearly showed through. I would recommend th ...more
Tove R.
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Everybody should read this book!
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Much like when I reviewed Jane Goodall's In the Shadow of Man, I quickly fell in love with the gorillas that Dian Fossey describes in exquisite detail in her book Gorillas in the Mist. (You may have heard of it.) Dr. Fossey moved to the Virungas of Africa (Zaire, Uganda, and Rwanda) to study the mountain gorillas that lived there. That study ended up taking nearly 20 years. However, she wasn't only studying the habits of the gorillas but also the parasites, environment (rainfall), vegetation, an ...more
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
From 1966 until her death in 1985 Dian Fossey studied the mountain gorillas of the Virunga mountains which extend along the borders of Zaire(known today as the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Rwanda and Uganda. Gorillas in the Mist is Fossey's chronicle of her time spent with the gorillas from 1966 until it was published in 1983.

She began her studies in Zaire but was expelled in 1967 and spent the rest of her time in Rwanda at their national Parc des Volcans at the Karisoke Research Centre wh
Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it
Gorillas in the mist written by Diane Fossy was a true eye opener, Fossy did a great job at explaining all her research and clearly explain what was happening to the gorillas. She explains perfectly to a sense that she is giving facts but makes it interesting. I really got a true sense of how much Fossy really loves these animals.
Fossy first became intrigued by gorillas in 1973 when she took her first safari to Africa. Her only goal for that trip was to visit the gorillas and meet Mary and Louis
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
A fascinating look at Dian Fossey's work with gorillas, but don't read it while you're eating (like I did)-- there's one spot where she talks about a certain bodily function of gorillas that's rather gaggish. ...more
This beautiful animal nonfiction book is just as significant now as it was when it was written and for decades in between-- as it showcases the connection Fossey had with both the volcanic mountainous regions in Zaire, Rwanda, and Uganda, the gorillas themselves, the significance of understanding their lifestyle as an indication of how close they are to humans.

It's fantastically detailed and has a flow and voice that makes it accessible. She cared so deeply and hated poaches (as all should!) tr
Samantha Glasser
Dec 14, 2020 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Fossey spends a lot of time on exposition, explaining how much the habitat had changed over a few years, the impact poachers and cattle farmers had on the way the gorillas lived, what the landscape was like, and what it took to be a good tracker. She explains how she came to study the gorillas and all the surrounding factors about them before we are introduced to them. In a way, this tests the reader's dedication. How much do you really care about these animals? Are you willing to do the homewor ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
An important book to read. I was intrigued by her retelling of experiences that very few humans have had. I loved learning about the interaction between the various gorillas and their learning and growth. I was so sad to learn of the awful fate of several at the hands of poachers. Gladdened by the recent internet search which suggests that conservation efforts have been a boon to the mountain gorilla which has seen a resurgence in population since publication of this book.
Caroline Johansson
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm so fascinated and awed by this book and it's author. Amazing descriptions of the environment and fantastic portraits of the gorillas. The book is written with such passion and enthusiasm for all the animals in Virunga and the helping hands at the Karisoke center. Such a wonderful, passionate and strong woman! ...more
M. P.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If there is one redeeming quality, it's that Fossey's endless fascination and love for her research/research subjects most certainly shows. Unfortunately, outside of that, the book is very unengaging. No, not due to the subject of the book, or even due to Fossey's personal experiences she recounts in her book. Both of those are, in theory, quite interesting. The problem really culminates in Fossey's writing, which seems to suffer from the same affliction that plagues the writings of most natural ...more
Adrian Fingleton
Well I read this book in Kinigi Rwanda while looking at the extinct volcano where Dian Fossey is buried. Which made quite an impression. Its a very good factual account of the trials and tribulations and tragedies which she found in the early 60s as she tried to set up a gorilla sanctuary in the Virunga mountains which are shared by Rwanda, Uganda and DRC.

Truth to tell, some parts of the book are very matter of fact. She cares deeply for her animals, and her battles to save them and her dedicati
This book is a true classic with a tireless message of conservation. The story of Dian Fossey and her work with the mountain gorillas in the Virunga Volcanic region of Rwanda is nothing short of incredible. She gave her life in an effort to make us aware of the importance of conservation issues all over the world.

My only problem with the book is its slightly confusing chronology. For example, Fossey would write about a particular animal in one chapter as an adult but then in a later chapter, wou
Tarah Luke
Interesting look at gorillas, and chockful of facts about the gorilla and its family life. Her tone was very colonial in that she spoke very negatively about Africans’ inability to save this species on their own (she probably had some white savior complex), though she did make exceptions for a few individuals she worked with. For me, her martyred stance/tone and the disorganization of the book brought it down quite a bit, though I did enjoy learning new things about the gorillas.
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating read about Dian Fossey's experiences. I couldn't put it down. It really gave me a taste for my upcoming trip to Uganda and Rwanda in March to see the mountain gorillas. I can't wait to come face to face with these majestic creatures. ...more
Ann Rhodes
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Although I read this book a long time ago, it is a must read. It will capture your heart and you will see the violence that done to the gorillas. You get an account of her murder as well. I have never forgotten this one. Definitely one of my favorites!
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I believe I read this in junior high. I remember being shocked and amazed to learn how the scientists determined what the gorillas ate but inspecting their scat. It was one of those moments when I realized there was so much more to know than I could currently imagine.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • In the Shadow of Man
  • My Life with the Chimpanzees
  • Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe
  • Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa
  • Born Free: A Lioness of Two Worlds (Story of Elsa, #1)
  • The Last Rhinos: My Battle to Save One of the World's Greatest Creatures
  • Never Cry Wolf: The Amazing True Story of Life Among Arctic Wolves
  • The Story of My Life
  • The Chinaberry Tree
  • The Miracle Worker: A Play
  • Telling Teddy
  • Kamikaze Kangaroos!: A trip around Oz in a van called Rusty
  • Anne Frank Beyond the Diary: A Photographic Remembrance
  • Pet Tales: Tabby Cat Tales and Guinea Pig Tales
  • Twenty-Eight Snow Angels: A Widow's Story of Love, Loss and Renewal
  • Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
  • The Eye of the Elephant: An Epic Adventure in the African Wilderness
  • La sed
See similar books…

Related Articles

For more than a decade, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the world-renowned astrophysicist and host of the popular radio and Emmy-nominated...
87 likes · 17 comments
“There are times when one cannot accept facts for fear of shattering one's being. As I listened to Ian's news, all of Digit's life, since my first meeting with him as a playful little ball of black fluff ten years earlier, passed through my mind. From that moment on, I came to live within an insulated part of myself.” 12 likes
More quotes…