Tag Archives: Jane Goodall

50 Years at Gombe by Jane Goodall


Title: 50 Years at Gombe
Author: Jane Goodall
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Biographies, Memoirs, Nature
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 2010


Personally, I would recommend that you read In the Shadow of Man before reading 50 Years at Gombe. Mostly because it gives a much more in-depth insight into Goodall’s first experiences in Gombe. Which, then gives you so much more of a base from which to understand this wonderful 50th anniversary insight into Jane’s work.

This novel is a great overlook at all of the ground-breaking work that has occurred at Gombe over the years. It’s filled with images and snapshots into the many different aspects of not only life at Gombe, but Goodall’s life and her j fluency throughout the world.

I’ve always admired people like Jane and wished that I could accomplish what they have. But, for a long time, I didn’t actually understand the sacrifices that have to be made for this to happen. Goodall spends approximately 3 weeks a year at her home. She is amazing and so important to the survival of earth, but I can’t imagine the sacrifice that that would be.

I loved revisiting the world of Jane Goodall and Gombe, it’s reminded me that I want to dive into more of her books. And even watch the documentary about this phenomenal woman’s life and contributions not only to science, but the way we move through the world.

<- More Jane GoodallAfrica in My Blood ->

Image source: Amazon


My Life with the Chimpanzees by Jane Goodall


Title: My Life with the Chimpanzees
Author: Jane Goodall
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Conservation, Memoirs, Nature, Non-fiction,
Pace: Slow
Format: eBook, Novel
Year: 1988


I absolutely loved In the Shadow of Man. This wasn’t quite as good, but still, it was wonderful. I think, though, that anything by Jane Goodall will leave me feeling pretty damn happy. I mean, she’s a goddamn icon and an inspiring woman. My Life with Chimpanzees gives a much broader outline of Goodall’s personal history and a brief overview of her entire lifetime. Where In the Shadow of Man focused on the short time period in which Goodall started her work at Gombe, My Life with the Chimpanzees was a much broader overview of a whole lifetime.

This was a very simple read. The language in this novel was very accessible and obviously geared towards a younger audience. Each chapter covers a very large chunk of Goodall’s life and only gives a brief glimpse into each moment of her history and journey towards being the internationally recognised figure that she is. It makes for a quick and very easy read. But one that I will possibly try to sink my teeth into again in the future.

I enjoyed how the last three chapters of this novel really focus on the future of our planet. It’s not about Goodall’s own experiences like the rest of the novel, but rather about what she hopes for the future. It’s a bit of a cold dose of reality because there are so many things truly wrong with the world. But it’s also incredibly hopeful. A balance that is hit perfectly.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It wasn’t as in depth as most of the memoirs that I’ve been reading, and it was definitely only a snapshot into the world of Gombe and Goodall. But it was also a great overview. And now I want to pick up even more Goodall books

<- My Friends the Wild ChimpanzeesPerformance and Evolution in the Age of Darwin ->

Image source: Booktopia

In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall

Image result for in the shadow of man book cover

Title: In the Shadow of Man
Author: Jane Goodall
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Biographies, Conservation, Non-fiction
Dates read: 13th May – 6th June 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Mariner
Year: 1971
5th sentence, 74th page: Christmas that year at the Gombe Stream was a day to remember.


World-renowned primatologist, conservationist, and humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodall’s account of her life among the wild chimpanzees of Gombe is one of the most enthralling stories of animal behavior ever written. Her adventure began when the famous anthropologist Dr. Louis Leakey suggested that a long-term study of chimpanzees in the wild might shed light on the behavior of our closest living relatives in the animal kingdom. Accompanied by only her mother and her African assistants, she set up camp in teh remote Gombe Stream Chimpanzee Reserve in Tanzania.

For months the project seemed hopeless; out in the forest from dawn until dark, she had but fleeting glimpses of frightened animals. But gradually she won their trust and was able to record previously unknown behavior, such as the use – and even the amking – of tools, until then believed to be a skill exclusive to humans. As she came to know the chimps as individuals, she began to understand their complicated social hierarchy and observed many extraordinary behaviors, forever changing our understanding of the profound connection between humans and chimpanzees.


I’ve always wanted to read a book by Jane Goodall but I just never seem to quite get around to it…. until now. And now I’m mostly just annoyed that it took me this long and I have to wait until next pay day to buy any of her other books. Not only was it impossible not to fall in love with Flo and Fifi and all of the other characters in Jane’s chimpanzee family, but it was so inspiring. Conservation studies and the sciences may have changed a lot since the founding of Gombe Research Station, but our passions and slightly unorthodox approaches to what fascinates us kind of remain the same… it gives you hope.

One of my favourite aspects to this novel is that each chapter deals with a different aspect of chimp (and human) behaviour and interaction. In each mini story, a span of years of observations is covered. It ties everything in beautifully so that you can really gain an insight and understanding into this unique group of animals and individuals. That is of course, aside from the first few chapters which provide a storyline for the start of Jane’s career and how she found herself in such an amazing opportunity.

Normally I like to read biographies and non-fiction books before bed. They’re an easy read that is interesting, but also simple to put down. Not so much with this book. There was something about the extra relatability of chimpanzees and Jane’s journey with them that made it stupidly difficult to put this novel down. Like ridiculously difficult… I stayed up WAY too late reading this. And had quite a few sleepless nights… but it was totally worth it!

 <- Hope for Animals and Their WorldJames and Other Apes ->

Image source: Jane Goodall’s Good For All News