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on September 25, 2002
Reason For Hope outlines Jane Goodall's life and her philosophy, and provides a summary of what she believes, why she believes it, and how she came to believe it. I was a bit skeptical when I began this book, but quickly became a convert to much of Ms Goodall's philosophy and outlook when it became rather obvious that her insights were tested by, and developed through, the many trials of her life as a scientist and a publicist. Goodall gives a charming and succinct view of how her interests in primatology developed, how she remained positive despite personal tragedy and the environmental depradations in her beloved Africa, and why we should cultivate a concern about life.
I was most impressed by how Ms Goodall's insights were carefully nurtured through intense patience and keen observation. She does not come by her insights cheaply, and has made an enviable blend of rationalism and empiricism. She notes many similarities between humanity and the higher primates, such as an innate cruelty (which can be overridden, but only with difficulty), an understandable but often fiercely destructive "herd mentality," and a tendency to favor optimism and joyfulness in our acquaintances. She makes a convincing argument that an appreciation of other life forms can enhance --not degrade-- our humanity. Finally, Ms Goodall argues that each one of us can make a positive difference in how we live, for the betterment of ourselves and others.
I was impressed with how this productive and innovative scientist shows how science can be ethically progressive and "spiritually" meaningful. I can't think of anyone I would not recommend it to. Her book is a wonderful gift to her readers and to life.
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on May 16, 2001
Others have written so well and have covered so much territory, thus I shant repeat what has been said. Would simply like to note that this is a book about a woman and by a woman who set out to partake an adventure that most single women sans a college degree just didnt do forty years ago. And this is what makes the book so wonderful, because she is now sixty and reflecting on what was, where she has come from as well as where she still hopes to go.
Personally I appreciated the sharing of what it was like to be married and raising a child in an outback area, then divorcing, finding and loving a man who sadly died and here she is reflecting upon life. Yes it has some deeply religious/spiritual undertones but again, it is nice to read of a science minded soul who does ackowledge something bigger than the self. This is a book I am enjoying sharing with all my over 40 and 50 age group women friends.
Just wish Ms Goodall would slow down. A PBS special I saw recentiy showed her hectic schedule and how she had been ill, but that she has the sincere and serious concern that primate lands are quickly disappearing and that nations need to wake up before it is to late.
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on June 6, 2001
I was one of those kids who was just at an age to be fascinated by the National Geographic when Ms. Goodall's first article was published in it. I looked at the pictures, yes, but then went beyond them to the remarkable text about her remarkable experiences. I eagerly gobbled up each new installment of her life among the chimps of Gombe.
As a college student in communication disorders, my early interest in primates that was spawned by her work reasserted itself, when I did my senior paper on the chimp language studies being done at that time, taking an anthropological point of view. I had thought maybe one day I would find myself following chimps through the African forests. I have been to Africa, but have not seen the chimps, though that may yet happen.
This is a book written by a very public woman who has maintained a very private personal life. I was especially interested to see what she had to say about religion and science, and more than anyone else I have read, she embodied the true sense of what it means to be spiritual. Her description of the vivid experiences she had upon the death of loved ones, and her eventual healing and acceptance of what life had dealt her, was particularly poignant and inspiring. Her views of what is really important in this world are clearly shaped by her unique experience among the chimpanzee community at Gombe, but she elucidates so clearly these values for all to consider.
Most amazing to me, however, is her willingness to accept the call she felt to leave her beloved Gombe behind most of the time to travel the world, hoping to create change in our attitudes and specific practices that harm animals and the environment. Any of us who have felt the pull from something we love to take us into action can relate to the strength of her convictions. I am so inspired by this book, in fact, that I have already begun to explore how I might start one of her "Roots and Shoots" programs for kids at the school where I teach. There are not many books that stir in me an almost immediate response like that.
If you have an interest in Ms. Goodall, in her work with chimps, in the relationship between science and religion, or in how one person might begin to work for change, this book will not disappoint. Her clear, direct voice about her purpose on this planet is refreshing and inspiring.
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on July 10, 2004
Jane Goodall writes openly and honestly about her awesome and inspiring life. Jane Goodall tells us about her amazing travels-- from a young ambitious girl growing up in the birches of England to a brillant woman documenting apes' behavior in the forests of Africa to bravely fighting for environmental change around the world.
In this book, Jane Goodall pours from the deep corners of her heart. By sharing her personal experiences, Jane Goodall is a witness to the true innate goodness of all human beings, the triumph of the human spirit, and the great God in which we all live, move, and have our being.
Jane Goodall ponders the greatest of human questions throughout her book. Is God real and present in our world, even with all of the modern discoveries of science? Can human beings achieve greater levels of moral, intellectual, and spiritual growth and overcome the great obstacles that they face? Jane Goodall makes sense of these questions and helps the reader to come to a better understanding of how to live in the world.
I read this book for an assurance that science only adds to the wonder and mystery of existence, and that science can help us come closer to God. My favorite part was when Jane Goodall went to the forest after the death of her second husband, and felt a connection to the "great spiritual energy of life itself." She reaffirmed her conviction by discovering how science was only a part of the human pursuit of understanding and knowledge, not the complete and final truth.
At the end of the book, Goodall asks a significant question as she reaches the autumn of her life, "And when I reach the end, it will be the beginning?" I recommend this book to all who want to remember that the journey of growth, understanding, and knowledge we are all on is always just beginning.
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on February 29, 2004
Jane is a remarkable woman, who's story of struggle as a young and inexperienced scientist with what were thought to be absurd ideals and methods of study, received much flack from the scientific community of her time. Still, many scientists under go the rigors of the scientific community's lateral and blinkered thinking. Reason for Hope, serves more than to encourage individuals into believing that each is capable of achieving their ideals and dreams, but that the simpler, intangible qualities like motivation, tenacity, courage and love, can triumph in the end with belief and resilience.
Jane made an amazing and commendable effort to be honest and humble with her readers, sharing her deepest and seemingly most private thoughts, which all have played a part in shaping her life and character. anyone will appreciate this book, be they from a scientific, animal welfare, spiritual or casual background. because jane's work relates to of all of us in the simplest of ways - we all have ambitions we wish to fulfill, depending on what they are we're often hard challenged and many of us have been defeated, yet we hold true to our beliefs and jane reminds us all, that that is which matters most - that is which will pull through to the end. that that, could only be, our reason for hope.
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on June 30, 2004
Author is Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman. 1999 edition. Book is new (I ended up with two copies). It is hardcover with dustcover. The cover does have slight scuffs and fine scratches front and back and a tiny tear along top edge unfortunately. These are seen only when held at an angle in the light.
Publisher is Thorsons. Was first published in the US by Warner Books, 1999.
If you are interested in Nature and its preservation; and true life stories , this is a book for you or others sharing the same values. It is an autobiography. It includes the story of Jane's entry into chimpanzee study and follows her through her life. You read about her struggles and triumphs among the chimps of the Gombe Reserve. Feel her deep concern for the current global environmental crisis.
Section of black and white pictures which always add to the story in a descriptive way.
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on February 10, 2004
I got this book as a present and knew hardly anything about this incredible woman, Jane Goodall before reading her book. Thankfully, because it is her autobiography this book tells her story in her own words. Jane Goodall is a true inspiration for all. Anybody, whether they are young or old, in the science field or just the average person, could relate to the themes represented in this book. This book shows Ms. Goodalls' true good nature and humanity towards apes as well as showing the courage, determination, sensitivity and passion that she had for life. Ms. Goodall is truly a woman with class and is an inspiration to all people.
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on June 11, 2002
To describe an intimate mystical experience so clearly that the reader can virtually participate in it -- this is a truly rare gift! Jane Goodall possesses the ability to take you right into her moments of vision, glimpses of spiritual realities. For me, these are the unforgettable highlights of her memoir. The story of her childhood, adolescence and young adulthood is enchanting, as a portrait of an essentially normal and loving, supportive family (why is that so unusual in autobiographies!?). I would have liked to learn more of how and why her marriage dissolved, but Goodall chooses to veil that part of her life in privacy.
The final chapters of the book are somewhat less interesting, dealing with fairly well-known information about the serious conditions on the planet. Jane Goodall probably deserves to feel like a saint if anyone does, but it was a little off-putting to sense the halo in her self-image. She recommends that we all become "saints" in saving the earth and its creatures, even in such simple ways as turning off the lights we don't need (it makes me smile to feel like a saint as I flip a switch). This is one of the most engaging memoirs I've read. It seems particularly appropriate for the teenager and young adult reader, showing how a unique life path can develop from seemingly random events and the simple faith to step into the unknown.
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on February 25, 2002
Jane Goodall's book is thought provoking. She asks us to confront the tough questions: Will we be able to save our planet when the air and water is being poisoned, overpopulation and over consumption is rampant and the natural world is being destroyed? What are the ethical implications of animals in research. Are we justified in causing agony in healthy animals?
Her answers are heartfelt and wise and her stories about the compassionate side of humankind are inspiring: Our desire to try to help beyond the borders of our own nations and the creation of the Grameen Bank that makes small loans to the poor.
Above all we learn about Jane's beautiful spirit-her gathering scientific data and learning from chimpanzees, becoming a voice for all species and how the forest can bring us a spiritual power and peace that "passeth understanding."
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on August 11, 2001
I've enjoyed reading other books by Jane Goodall about her research with chimpanzees in Gombe. I guess, judging from the content of those other books, this book comes as no surprise. The spiritual side of her character, although not alluded to directly, comes forth in her other books. I think the reason I so enjoyed this book is that she touches on the spiritual component at the core of environmental issues. I was also fascinated by her accounts of her spiritual development and her strong connection to the jungle and her relationship with her husband. This is a wonderful book. Her humanity and spirit shine through.
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