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A Forest in the Clouds: My Year Among the Mountain Gorillas in the Remote Enclave of Dian Fossey

As a young pre-veterinary college student, John Fowler applied for and was accepted into a year-long research assistantship with Dr. Dian Fossey at Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda. Fowler knew little about Fossey at the time but was enticed by the rare opportunity intimately to study the mountain gorilla in its African habitat. When he left the United States in January 1980, he anticipated exciting adventures and priceless education, but what he found instead was a hostile environment led by an alcoholic struggling to keep her position before her murder in 1985. 

A Forest in the Clouds is Fowler's firsthand account of life in Fossey's research camp, nestled among the Virunga Volcanoes. It paints a dramatically different picture from the acclaimed primatologist's articles in National Geographic or her book, Gorillas in the Mist. It also illustrates an amazing corner of the world and a spectacular species only a few DNA chain links away from humans.

Fowler's raw honesty, his awe and respect for the natural world and his talent for storytelling make A Forest in the Clouds both mesmerizing and terrifying. Humorous anecdotes, like Fowler's experience having a gorilla pee on him in the night, balance the grim realities of wildlife--and human life--he must face. Readers will feel transported to the wilds of Africa, where Fowler educates them on raising a baby gorilla, camp cuisine and surviving the greatest challenge, Dian Fossey. A Forest in the Clouds is a brave and beautiful memoir any animal lover will devour. --Jen Forbus, freelancer