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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Gorillas in the Mist

Before I travel, as I wrote previously, I like to get a bit of a perspective on a country. Normally I prefer to pick up a copy of a history book as I try to get a good feel of what a country has been through and how it’s developed. I gave it a bit of thought preceding my trip to Rwanda and decided to go in a different direction as I was able to pick up enough of a historical background from the marvel of the Internet; I instead purchased a copy of Dian Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist.
Most people are aware of who Dian Fossey was because of the movie starring Sigourney Weaver. I know of the film, but instead decided to skip it and read about the gorillas straight from the pages of Fossey, the woman who was actually there doing the research on the gorillas for so many years. It seemed like the most direct route to learning about the gorillas I was going to trek to see, and I was right.
As we hiked up the mountain to see the Hirwa Group of gorillas, I felt like I had a better base of knowledge to go on. I certainly wouldn’t have considered myself an expert like another member of our group, but I felt like I at least understood and appreciated what I was seeing a bit more opposed to if I had not read her book.
But really, Gorillas in the Mist, other than being a story of some of Fossey’s time in the beautiful Virunga Mountains, is also a tale of travel. Dian was really the ultimate traveler as she left the United States for an opportunity to live in a tent, high in the mountains, observing the endangered mountain gorillas. Sure, her conditions improved over time as a more premanent facility was constructed, but she was still roughing it with the best of them.
I greatly appreciated her perspective and knowledge as I trekked to see the gorillas, but I would also recommend it to any other reader. It really is a gripping story of research, preservation and protection, and loss; the book is beautifully written and an excellent read for anyone wishing to learn more about the world around us. From my point of view, it was invaluable as I was so keen to gather more information on the mountain gorillas before hiking to see them in their natural habitat.

So, whether you’re traveling to Africa to see the mountain gorillas, or interested in learning about them from the comfort of your own home, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Dian Fossey’s Gorillas in the Mist. It certainly helped me better appreciate the work the researchers in the mountains are doing, and more interested in the environmental world around me. I’m sure it will do the same for you.
And now, I think it’s time to go see a movie that I’ve been putting off for far too long.

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  1. Travel Books to Read if You’re Not Traveling | Jason's Travels - June 3, 2014

    […] Mention: Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey is the one book I read before traveling to Rwanda. And while it’s not for everyone, […]

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