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Africa in My Blood: An Autobiography in Letters (Jane Goodall's Autobiography in Letters #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  406 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
AFRICA IN MY BLOOD is an extraordinary self-portrait in letters of Jane Goodall's early years, from childhood to the publication of IN THE SHADOW OF MAN, revealing this remarkable woman more vividly than anything published before, by her or about her. We see her at eleven founding the Alligator Society ("You have to be able to recognize 10 birds, 10 dogs, 10 trees and 5 bu ...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 15th 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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2,118 books — 2,472 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Gisela Hafezparast
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very interesting reading Jane Goodall's letters, showing her progress from a quite spoilt and protected upper middle class girl to one of the most eminent researchers I can think of. And who would have thought it, Jane Goodall was a flirt!

There is so much more to say about privilege leading to opportunities. Beauty making life easier, but in the end for me Jane redeemed herself through her work.
Africa in My Blood: An Autobiography in Letters - Goodall/Peterson
3 stars

The sub-title says it all. This is a collection of Jane Goodall’s correspondence, beginning with a childish note to her mother written in 1942 and ending with the personal and business letters of 1967. Each chapter is introduced with biographical and interpretive information written by Dale Peterson.

I have great admiration for Jane Goodall. I stood in line for a signed copy of this book at an early Los Angeles Times Book F
This book is a collection of letters, all written by Jane Goodall to various people, mainly her family. The most interesting aspect of the book is just how well she portrays her emotions and her energy through words. Jane Goodall is a one of a kind person. She is passionate, focused and so energetic about the work that she does. This was a nice read after reading her biography last year. The one thing that I didn't like was the amount of letters in the book that were taken from her childhood. Al ...more
Brenda J
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
I admire Jane for her work & I have had the privilege of hearing her speak; this book though did not keep me engrossed and reading her letters for me became quite boring. Especially since there was only her side and many times I became lost in what she was speaking about or replying to at the time of writing the letters. I have to admit that I skimmed through many of the letters.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
fascinating. Who would have guessed:
She never had an undergraduate degree but obtained an PH. D. from Cambridge
She was so pretty, a flirt and declined several proposals.

Wish there were more photos. I found a lot of movie clips of her on YouTuve of some of her favorite chimps. And so many bananas.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book, although it wasn't very interesting to me, was written in a very unique and practical was. Friends and family of Jane Goodall put together a collection of her most exciting and informative letters she had sent to them and published them. Because they are letters, they describe all of the major events in detail. She talks about school when she was younger and work when she was older. Then, she talks about her adventures and progress with the chimps. She tells about how they struggle wi ...more
Aug 15, 2014 rated it liked it
As others mentioned, this book got off to a slow start and was a bit confusing with all of the different people mentioned in the letters. A list of names and who they were may have been helpful. That being said, I enjoyed learning more about Dr. Goodall who I admire so much. I was happy that the letters from her younger years were included and I feel like I know her better as a person now. I learned many things about her that I was previously unaware of. She is a remarkable woman but over the ye ...more
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I really like Jane Goodall, but I really don't like monkeys. I read this one because I am working on a letter transcription project and I wanted to see how others have taken a grouping of letters, transcribed, and summarized/grouped into chapters to create a book, so read this for form, not content as much. This was an excellent example of what I was looking for and ended up with great content as well. Very easy to get lost in book about the early life and coming about of Dr. Goodall's lifelong ...more
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As the title states, this is a compilation of letters from Jane Goodall, starting when she was a little girl and continuing during the first years of her chimp observations. The letters are grouped, with an explanatory statement, giving insight into her life at the time.

I really enjoyed this book. I have to say I was really impressed with the tone and quality of her letters, done at a time when people took time to write and took care with what they wrote. Her life is fascinating, but a bit gory
Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Jane is one of my favorite people. I love her books and hearing her speak, even if it seems as if every talk I've heard her give was basically the same. My familiarity with her makes this book, maybe, a little more interesting for me since I am familiar with so many of the names - chimps and people alike. If I did not have this background, maybe I would never pick this book up. Getting a glimpse of what the young Jane Goodall was like and following her progress in letters was interesting but, at ...more
Robin Reynolds / October Woman
Aug 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is made up completely of letters written by Jane Goodall to family, friends and colleagues, starting in1942, when she was seven years old, and ending in 1966.

I recently read In The Shadow of Man, and many incidents from that book are recounted in Jane's letters, though from a slightly different perspective, as that book was the result of her research, and this one is her own bubbly personality relating incidents to her family and friends. For the most part this was a fascinating read,
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-quite-for-me
I truly admire this woman, but I guess I prefer a "real book" written by her in her adult years, and I have read one of those so far and enjoyed it a lot. These letters written in her youth (especially the first section) just didn't interest me enough. I felt I could have been reading letters written by almost any young girl, and those can get pretty silly at times, which these did. Since the letters were written to friends and family, tho, who'd ever think they'd end up in a book years later, s ...more
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book offers an incredible insight to the remarkable scientist Jane Goodall. This wonderful story of perseverance illustrates how determination and patience can lead to incredible things. It's really fascinating to go through the entire journey of Jane's life and to see how the choices she has made have influenced our view of nature and society's attitude towards it. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in science, nature, women's history, and/or overall amazing, inspiring peopl ...more
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love memoirs and books of letters, that must be what prompted me to buy this book. Also it was on Clearance. Going into this with no prior knowledge about Jane I didn't have any expectations. Honestly, all I knew about her was that she was a lady who worked with primates. There really was so much more to know. For me the best part was getting to know her as a child and a young woman instead of just jumping into her life when she was already a famous scientist.
Mar 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
I LOVED reading Goodall's early letters. Very insightful as to how she became the legend she is today. Also great descriptions of Africa, animals, etc. The letters are grouped chronologically with short introductions to each new topic. Personally, I recommend skipping these because they give away much of the best content, but they also provide good background information if you're not familiar with Goodall's life.
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was really neat to read Jane's actual letters from back in the day. Definitely an interesting autobiography and style. You get a good sense of her person in a way you don't get in normal autobiographies. However, the flow between letters was sometimes a bit hard to follow at times, and not always smooth to read. I did not like this book as much as some of her other books, but it was definitely still worth reading.
Feb 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful collection of letters! This book allows the reader to discover Jane in her earliest years and give the the reader a picture of what life was like for her in England. Jane's journey to Africa, friendship with Lewis Leaky, and first days at Gombe are all here. I loved this book and it serves as a great introduction to Jane Goodall and her many other books. Enjoy!!!
Mar 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
I still want to read more about Jane Goodall and her fascinating work with the chimpanzees in Africa, but not in this format. This book was a compilation of a bunch of letters she wrote to family, friends, fellow researchers, etc. and it just didn't flow very well. She's written several books, so I'll try another in the future.
Sari Lynn
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anthropology buffs
Recommended to Sari Lynn by: Read in book group
Shelves: memoir
It was incredible to read about her first experiences in Africa as they were happening. I found it especially exciting because I was already familiar with her work and the animals she worked with. Reading this book was like being there with her as she made discoveries about individual animals, their personalities, and the way they lived and interacted.
Feb 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Africa in My Blood (A biography of Jane Goodall) I enjoyed learning more about the woman behind the famous name. It is interesting and personal in that it was written as it occurred: it is a compilation of letters that she wrote describing her work and thoughts to her family, her National Geographic sponsors, and others.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Shawn
Shelves: africa
Jane has been my hero ever since I saw her in National Geo with her red high tops and her child named Grub. I didn't know about her life in England at all until I read this book, and my favorite new fact is that her first name is Valerie. If I'd known that sooner, I might have made more efforts to emulate her, and even now, I would be posting these reviews from the forests of Africa.
Brenna Gorbatov
Aug 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: never-finished
I really admire Jane Goodall, however, the pace of the letters did not keep my interests. I also found it confusing all the random friends or family members that were introduced. I will have to find another book done by her that is more enthralling.
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
The book taught me a lot about Jane (and chimps), but it could have been far briefer.

For my full review, check out my blog
Jan 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have read a lot of Jane' Goodall's work, so this was just one more in the collection, but I did enjoy reading her actual letters- her voice was so clear and it gave even more context to what i had previously read.
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
OK, I'm figuring this out. I just emailed out my "review" to people. I recommend this for people who are interested in animals and feminism. Jane Goodall rocks. She was a pioneer for female scientists in the 50s and 60s.
Aug 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: africa
Jane Goodall is my hero - In another life, I would have chosen hers. To live among the chimps in Africa- to love so deeply and learn so much. Goodall is as close as I come to believing in God. This is a woman who lives kindness, humility and compassion every moment of her days.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it liked it
I have read about Jane Goodall since I was a child. My grandpa got National Geographic and I was always discovering the world. She has spent her life with chimps and protecting them. This book is about the letters she has written to people in her life.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jane-goodall
It's Jane Goodall, it can't be anything besides amazing!
Jun 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
It was fascinating to read about her early years. A personal look at an amazing woman.
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Jane Goodall is awesome, obviously, but a bunch of letters don't really provide enough skeleton for a book.

You'll love this if you like reading other people's mail.
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For the Australian academic and mystery writer, see Professor Jane R. Goodall.

Dame Jane Morris Goodall, DBE (born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall), is a British primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace. Considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 45-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees in Gombe Strea
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