Through a Window : My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe

Through a Window : My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe

4.2 15
by Jane Goodall

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The sequel to In the Shadow of Man, this book relates the story of Jane Goodall's thirty years with the chimpanzees of Gombe.


The sequel to In the Shadow of Man, this book relates the story of Jane Goodall's thirty years with the chimpanzees of Gombe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Her first 10 years at Gombe (Tanzania) on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika produced the classic In the Shadow of Man. A fitting successor to that work, Goodall's newest continues the saga of the chimpanzee families with an engrossing account of animal behavior. She examines the mother-child relationship, noting that young males must sever the ties in order to learn male responsibiities (patrolling, repelling intruders, searching for food). There are profiles of special individuals: Goblin, who was determined to rise to the top and stay there; Jomeo, without social ambition; Gigi, a sterile female; Melissa, mother of successful offspring. Other stories of the chimpanzees include a brutal war between troops; a gruesome affair of cannibalism; incidents of injury, death and grief. The reader gets promptly involved with the characters -- they have distinct personalities. In the final chapters, Goodall turns to the plight of wild chimpanzees today (loss of habitat) and the appalling living conditions of those in captivity (including laboratory animals). An important book for students of behavior.
Library Journal
World renowned chimpanzee expert and field researcher Goodall scores another hit with this new account of her observances in the field. Readers who enjoyed Goodall's In the Shadow of Man ( LJ 12/1/71) will delight in this continuation of the familiar (human and animal) characters in new situations. Despite her depth of knowledge, Goodall has obviously kept her audience in mind; her book never gets bogged down by technical terminology. Instead, one encounters a very descriptive writing style in which Goodall strongly conveys the social forces that shape chimpanzee behavior and mirror those which must have faced early humans as well. Readers may not agree with the parallels Goodall draws between apes and humans, but they will neverthess be entertained by her theories. For more scientific information on the same subject, try Goodall's own The Chimpanzees of Gombe ( LJ 8/86). This more popular account is highly recommended for general readers with an interest in wildlife, conservation, and adventure.-- Edell Marie Peters, Brookfield P.L., Wis.
School Library Journal
(YA) -- The detailed observations of the life, habits, and behavior of chimpanzees in the wild continues in this interesting account. The conversational storytelling style is readable for both science students and non-science-oriented teens. Readers meet the assertive but caring Gigi; the aggressive Goblin; and the cannibalistic Passion. Chapters are organized around either a theme or a particular chimp who displays a special character trait. The last two chapters and two appendixes are special pleas for conservation and wildlife management to prevent the extinction of chimpanzees in the wild and for care of the chimps used in laboratories. --Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Everything that Goodall writes becomes, by virtue of scientific import, an instant classic. In her book In the shadow of man she wrote of her first ten years at Gombe, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, where the principal residents (other than herself) are chimpanzees. In this equally remarkable volume she brings the story up to the present, further completing her portrait of this animal community. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.89(d)

Meet the Author

Jane Goodall was a young secretarial school graduate when Louis Leakey sent her to Tanzania in 1960 to study chimpanzees. She later received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University and has become one of the world's most honored scientists and writers. Jane Goodall's research on chimpanzees has been described by Stephen Jay Gould as "one of the Western world's great scientific achievements." Her books include the recent REASON FOR HOPE, IN THE SHADOW OF MAN, and THROUGH A WINDOW. She is the co-author with Dale Peterson of VISIONS OF CALIBAN. She resides in Tanzania.

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Through a Window 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
ChimpGirl More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and I loved reading it on my Nook. This is a perfect book for anyone who is even slightly interested in chimpanzees, life in Africa, strong women, scientific women, or just a great read! I would recommend it a million times over. And will probably read it that many times as well!
ladyhawke28 More than 1 year ago
You get everything all in one in this book. Not only does Dr. Goodall discuss the lives of individual chimps she has known and what happened to each of them, but she does go into real depth about chimpanzee behaviors, anthropology, and why humans need to pay attention and help the environment. As much science that is brought to this book it is by no means difficult to read and understand. This is the first book I have read of Dr. Goodall's, and I have always been a fan, but I have to say she is a superb writer! She keeps you turning pages and wanting to read more about the observations she has seen and she really gives you a picture of the animals and their lives and that is what makes people care! If you are an animal lover or just want to read more about animal behavior in primates you must read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book clearly deserves more than five stars. Through a Window is the popular version of the first 30 years of Dr. Jane Goodall's pioneering primate research at the Gombe reserve in Africa. Arriving in Africa as a young woman who found she did not like office work, she looked for something to do. The legendary Dr. Louis Leakey became interested in the idea of doing parallel research on chimpanzees in the wild to shed light on the development of early man. He persuaded Dr. Goodall to trek into Gombe, and helped her raise money and respectability for the project. From the beginning, he knew it had to go on for at least 10 years. Overcoming great deprivations and dangers, Dr. Goodall turned this into one of the most important animal observation studies ever. In this book, you will get the highlights of what has been learned from that research. The book emphasizes the closeness between humans and chimpanzees. The two species have 99 percent genetic similarity. Each can catch diseases that no other species can. In fact, Gombe was overwhelmed by a polio epidemic that affected the chimpanzees and the humans in the 1960s. As you walk through the forest with Dr. Goodall, you will find behaviors that are very similar to what humans do. Is it any wonder that she supposes that chimpanzees feel many of the same emotions that humans do? The only major difference she finds is that chimpanzees never torture each other or other animals like humans do. You will follow along with families of chimpanzees over three generations, and find out about what works well and what doesn't for them. There are even chapters about memorable individuals who had a large impact on the chimpanzee community. Before Dr. Goodall did her work, people thought of chimpanzees as being insensate animals. She soon observed that they made and used tools, ate meat, and cooperated with one another in very sophisticated ways both for hunting and child rearing. They have very complicated social rituals designed to keep everyone in place, but feeling friendly towards one another. As Dr. Goodall says, there are some chimpanzees she has liked more than some people and vice versa, because each one is so different. Having developed a better understanding of and sympathy for chimpanzees, Dr. Goodall then turns her attention to making the case for more preserves for wild living (and observation), eliminating the trade in chimpanzees (which lead to much death, suffering, and disaster for chimpanzees and humans), eliminating and improving the way research chimpanzees are 'tortured' and 'mistreated,' and improving zoo conditions. Chimpanzees are very social creatures and are highly intelligent. She likens the treatment of chimpanzes by animal researchers, trainers, and zoos to modern day concentration camps. I must admit that she more than convinced me. Clearly, much can and must be done to improve the lot of chimpanzees. If we cannot treat our nearest animal relative well, what does that say about us? Who are the brutes? The book's title is a reference to the limited perspective we can get by only studying behavior. We do not know what goes on in a chimpanzee's mind. Perhaps someday we will because experiments are showing that chimpanzees rapidly learn to use sign language. You will laugh a lot about the problems that Dr. Goodall has had in convincing scientists that chimpanzees are advanced and sensitive. It's as though psychologically our self-image depends a lot on making animals 'dumber' than they are. Since I will probably never get to see chimpanzees in the wild, I was delighted that this very interesting book was available to me. It will make you feel like you are on a long hike chatting with Dr. Goodall (but minus the danger and deprivation). You will also come away vastly impressed by the dedication of Dr. Goodall and her colleagues at Gombe. They have done a marvelous piece of work here that will continue to pay important knowledge di
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One wonders why this effort might not have gone towards her own family extended family and a few in laws!!! For a really good read about animals and family read My family and other animals" Where the budding naturalist and his long suffering family after several books wind up with a preserve somewhere in england(?) An all creatures great and small
MeE97 More than 1 year ago
What a joy to read! Every page not only gave me an inside view of her work with chimpanzees, wonderful anecdotes about individual humans and chimps, but also insight into the character of this totally amazing woman. The book lifts the heart; it makes me want to be a better human and reinforces the idea that an individual can accomplish unimaginably difficult ventures...all it takes is commitment, will and love!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a superb book, i recommend it 100% it was a touching novel of ones life role, Jane Goodall beautifully wrote this novel