Unforgotten: The Wild Life of Dian Fossey and Her Relentless Quest to Save Mountain Gorillas

National Geographic. Jun. 2021. 96p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781426371851.
Gr 4-7–Silvey highlights the life of Dian Fossey, the famed researcher who dedicated her life to studying and defending the endangered gorillas of east Africa. As a child, Fossey was never allowed to have pets. That didn’t stop her from spending her life’s savings and moving to Africa in 1963, when Louis Leakey helped her establish a camp to study mountain gorillas through the National Geographic Society. With no formal training, Fossey was accepted by the gorillas and established relationships with them. The animals were frequently attacked and killed by poachers. Fossey often worked to stop the killings, sometimes resorting to questionable methods, even terrorizing some poachers. She was able to keep her image in a positive light and her work garnered her international fame, including a best-selling book and Hollywood movie. Silvey’s brief but balanced overview of Fossey’s life focuses on the many positive aspects of her career, saving the species from extinction, but also touches on other issues, including her alcohol dependence, and concludes with her murder in 1985, still unsolved. This well-documented work is populated with interesting sidebars and field notes that profile some of Fossey’s gorillas, and includes numerous full-color original photos.
VERDICT A compelling and useful biography for upper elementary and middle schoolers.

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