The Ghosts of Gombe: A True Story of Love and Death in an African Wilderness

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In the late 1960s, a researcher named Ruth Davis went missing and was found dead several days later at the Gombe Stream Research Centre in Tanzania. The Centre had been initially set up by Jane Goodall to promote research on chimpanzees. The Ghosts of Gombe examines what happened over the course of Ruth Davis’s stay at the camp. The author provides a fascinating look at the chimpanzee research that was at the time in its infancy, and he also delves into the social dynamics at work within the camp, which might have led to the tragic death.

On the one hand, this work is tinged with sadness, as it focuses on the death of a young researcher in the prime of her life, but, at the same time, it gives a unique glimpse into the work Ruth and others in the camp were so passionate about. The details of camp life were so well presented that at times I felt I was there following Ruth and the others right out into the forest of Gombe.

Both sympathetic and engaging, this will no doubt mean that those who knew and loved Ruth will feel her contribution at Gombe has not been forgotten. Peterson’s work is a must-read for those interested in Jane Goodall’s work and primate research in general.


Reviewed By:

Author Dale Peterson
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher University of California Press
Publish Date 2018-Apr-06
ISBN 9780520297715
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2018
Category Biographies & Memoirs
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