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Gorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey Paperback – 21 Feb 2006


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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse; annotated edition edition (21 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 059537669X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0595376698
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,922,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Georgianne Nienaber has been an investigative environmental writer for more than thirty years and now writes a column for the Rwandan New Times. She lives in rural northern Minnesota. Recent articles have appeared in The United Nations Publication, A Civil Society Observer, AllAfrica.com, and Zimbabwe?s The Daily Mirror. Her fiction exposé of insurance fraud in the horse industry, Horse Sense, will be re-released in early 2006.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nigel I. Fields on 7 April 2006
Format: Paperback
I found Ms Nienaber's book to fill a much needed void.
I have been a keen advocate for gorillas and the conservation of these animals for many years, I have therefore become very familar with the work of Dian Fossey through my own readings and research.While Gorillas in the Mist answered many questions it approaches the the observation of the mountain gorilla from a detached objective perspective, Ms Nienaber's book manages successfully to bring the human element into Dian Fossey's work, showing the pain, selflessness, dedication and unrelenting determination that was needed to ensure the survival of Gorilla gorilla beringei.
Individuals have attempted to re-write history through their own literature and teachings which leaves one wondering as to the validity of the work achieved by Dian Fossey, Ms Nienaber through thousands of hours of meticulous research from archives of Dian Fossey's own writings leaves us wondering no more, Ms Nienaber successfully acts as a medium and shows us that the dead do have a voice .
After reading Gorilla Dreams one is left without question knowing that it is indeed Dian Fossey who is the true saviour of one of the worlds most magnificant creatures.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gorillas in the Mist is an anthropomorphic, subjective read that tells you exceptionally little about Fossey's life and focuses only on stories about the gorillas, which are not necessarily scientific enough to be used for research purposes. The film version of Fossey's book is nothing more than a sensationalised depiction of her love life and somewhat an insult to the memory of her character and all that she did with the gorillas, since they're barely in it! Apart from these two accounts you will find numerous contradictions of her character, harsh criticism about her work and many claiming to take ownership of Fossey's achievements. Although Gorilla Dreams is fictional, I believe it's very well researched and - finally - there is a voice for Dian who seemed to disappear behind other versions of herself, put out there by others. I'm not a huge fan of the way this book is written, but there's no doubt it gives you all the evidence you need - quite shocking in parts; definitely saddening. It certainly feels like justice.
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Format: Paperback
Georgianne Nianaber's dreamlike book is an adjunct to Dian Fossey's work. Although fictional in nature - Georgianne's story from the perspective of the murdered Gorilla named 'Digit" has empathy and opens a dialogue with the wild world that Dian alluded to - in her book Gorillas in the mist.

Georgianne's ability to move into a third way of seeing and sharing the lives of Dian and Digit opened a view only good literature does. I was taken not only to the place they inhabit in the forest but deep into their relationship to each other. This story is from the outer limit of the shrinking madding / modern world. The carefully, surgically excluded feeling from Dian's own writing has a voice at last - her abiding love for and with the last our great Cousins.

Well worth a read, suspend belief and it will touch you and haunt you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Inside the mind of a conservation heroine. 23 Mar. 2006
By Nigel I. Fields - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I found Ms Nienaber's book to fill a much needed void.

I have been a keen advocate for gorillas and conservation of these creatures for many years, I have therefore become very familar with the work of Dian Fossey through my own readings and research.While Gorillas in the Mist answered many of my questions it approaches the observation of the Mountain Gorilla from a very detached objective perspective, Ms Nienaber's book manages successfully to bring the human element into Dian Fossey's work, showing the pain, selflessness, dedication and unrelenting determination that was needed to ensure the survival of Gorilla gorilla beringei.

Individuals have attempted to re-write history through their own literature and teachings which may leave one wondering as to the validity of the work achieved by Dian Fossey, Ms Nienaber through thousands of hours of meticulous research from archives of Dian Fossey's own writings leaves us wondering no more, Ms Nienaber successfully acts as a medium and shows us that the dead do have a voice.

After reading Gorilla Dreams one is left without question knowing that it is indeed Dian Fossey who is the true saviour of one of the worlds most magnificent creatures.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fact and Fantasy Collide - Dian and Digit in the Afterlife 2 May 2006
By Lorraine Chapdelaine - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This fictional story of Dian Fossey and Digit, her beloved and most favorite gorilla, was touching and footnoted often when the author could verify facts. This gave a reality to the book. It was very emotional, as Dian comes to realize that she was accepted by the gorillas, whom she considered her "family". The frequent referrals to the head wound she received at her death was a jarring connection to her physical end. It startled me every time. The author seems to sympathize with Fossey's physical issues in the mountains, where it was difficult to breathe. She suffered from advanced emphysema and had great difficulty going up into the hills to see her gorillas. The staff would tell her when they were near. Dian's poor relationship and mistreatment of poachers were detrimental to her work in the Virungas. She tries to come to terms with that, the isolation of the site, her possible mental illness and even her unhappy love affairs. These issues were carefully footnoted by the author whenever possible. A prior reading of "Gorillas in the Mist" by Dian Fossey is a must to assist the reader in knowing what she and Digit are talking about! All in all, a sensitive pro-Fossey look at the life and work of this great researcher in a lonely, hostile environment. I loved it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Written with a passion inspired by Dian Fossey 20 Jan. 2007
By Russ Simmons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a fellow Minnesota writer, I have greatly enjoyed Georgianne Nienaber's riveting account of Dian Fossey's life and African-style review of her life and work. "Gorilla Dreams" has allowed me to see into the heart and soul of this great advocate and active conservationist, to share her struggles on a personal level, to review mistakes and angry moments and reasons for different reactions to things others so easily looked away and pretended to ignore.

Stale biographies often simply give us the benchmarks of a person's achievements, or list the academic successes and failures, never really exploring why the person did what they did, how they felt, or if they were particularly passionate and what drove such passions. While I've not yet read the biographies or watched the motion picture or even read "Gorillas in the Mist," by Ms. Fossey, herself, Georgianne Nienaber's deeply moving account of Fossey's life makes me want to do so, just to see what everyone else said about her battle to stop poaching and the dangerous effects (such as spreading the ebola virus) caused by tourism and too much interaction with the mountain gorilla clans.

As other reviewers have noted, Georgianne Nienaber's book develops along the path of discussions with her favorite mountain gorilla, Digit. My favorite passage from the book, showing the keen insights Dian Fossey developed in her work, seen from this post-life perspective, is at the end of chapter three - which really touched my heart. I can think of no better way of describing this passage than simply sharing it with others who might consider reading this wonderful, gripping biographical novel.

I encourage you to take the time to read this one-of-a-kind jewel of American literature which I feel represents the best writing by a current Minnesota novelist. I believe that Georgianne Nienaber was greatly impassioned by Dian Fossey's writings, struggles and sacrifices -- and that it takes such passion to understand Dian Fossey's passion and why saving the mountain gorilla meant so much to Dian and now also Georgianne.

Here is my favorite passage from "Gorilla Dreams: The Legacy of Dian Fossey," beginning with Dian speaking to Digit:

"Oh, Digit, can you ever forgive me?"

"There is no need for the gorillas to forgive, Dian. We accept our existence without questioning."

"But he [Mweza] suffered too much!"

"He was cared for with loving tenderness when his mother carried him across the chasm to this side. The gorillas who had gone before protected Mweza. He tried to rally to make you feel better but was willing and eager to join the others. It was time for him to leave you."

"Describe for me how the gorillas view death."

"You had no time to observe, because you were always directing your staff to remove the bodies for your research."

This was certainly true. Whether a gorilla had been killed by the poachers, or had died in its sleep in its nights nest, we would always remove the body and carry it back to camp on a leaf-strewn litter for a complete necropsy.

"I have seen members of your group come back repeatedly to sniff the location or nest where a group member died. Is this your form of grieving, Digit?"

"Dear Nyiramacyibili [translated: `the woman who lives alone on the mountain']. We have wanted to show you. You have not observed the most surprising part. Why would we grieve? Things unfold as they should as far as the gorillas are concerned. We sing [47] over the body."

Digit took my hand and lifted me with strength and grace, indicating that I should climb upon his back. Together we bounded through the forest, across the grasslands and back to Karisoke. Along the way, he thrilled me with great leaps through the branches of the Hagenia trees, which were dripping with moss, vines, and succulents.

As we approached the camp at dusk, an astonishing whisper drifted across the treetops and remained suspended in the mist-laden air. The whisper swelled into an opus of harmonic purity that seemed to flow from the gates of heaven itself. I had be willing for so long to give hell its due, but the sound I heard could only have come from the throats of celestial beings. The resonance was so pure in its quality, that I held my hands over my ears, unable to assimilate the holiness of it all. I buried my face in Digit's fur, afraid to look.

Unexpectedly, the arms of the great silverback, Uncle Bert, tenderly pried me from my sanctuary. Bert carried me in his arms as a parent would carry an infant to the source of the sounds.

I opened my eyes to see all of the residents of the gorilla graveyard harmonizing over the grave of Dr. Dian Fossey.

[47] is a source reference to "Gorillas in the Mist," Appendix B, p. 256
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A third way of seeing the lives of Dian and Digit 5 Dec. 2009
By Judith Price - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Georgianne Nianaber's dreamlike book is an adjunct to Dian Fossey's work. Although fictional in nature - Georgianne's story from the perspective of the murdered Gorilla named 'Digit" has empathy and opens a dialogue with the wild world that Dian alluded to - in her book Gorillas in the mist.

Georgianne's ability to move into a third way of seeing and sharing the lives of Dian and Digit opened a view only good literature does. I was taken not only to the place they inhabit in the forest but deep into their relationship to each other. This story is from the outer limit of the shrinking madding / modern world. The carefully, surgically excluded feeling from Dian's own writing has a voice at last - her abiding love for and with the last our great Cousins.

Well worth a read, suspend belief and it will touch you and haunt you.
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