Now in paperback from Pegasus Books
“An important historical document of that period—the writing is so excellent and descriptions so detailed that reading the book is a great pleasure.”
—George Schaller, author of The Mountain Gorilla: Ecology and Behavior and The Year of the Gorilla
"Fowler’s refreshing honesty and affection for the gorillas runs through every page of this book."
—Elizabeth Hess, author of Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human
About the Book
For the first time, a riveting insider's account of the fascinating world of Dian Fossey’s mountain gorilla research camp, telling the often-shocking story of the unraveling of Fossey’s Rwandan facility alongside adventures tracking mountain gorillas over hostile terrain, confronting aggressive silverbacks, and rehabilitating an orphaned baby gorilla.
In A Forest in the Clouds, John Fowler takes us into the world of Karisoke Research Center, the remote mountain gorilla camp of Dr. Dian Fossey, a few years prior to her gruesome murder. Drawn to the adventure and promise of learning the science of studying mountain gorillas amid the beauty of Central Africa’s cloud forest, Fowler soon learns the cold harsh realities of life inside Fossey’s enclave ten thousand feet up in the Virunga Volcanoes.
Amid the turmoil, Fowler must abandon his own research assignments to assuage the troubled Fossey as she orders him on illegal treks across the border into Zaire, over volcanoes, in search of missing gorillas, and to serve as surrogate parent to an orphaned baby ape in preparation for its traumatic re-introduction into a wild gorilla group.
Instead of the intrepid scientist he had admired in the pages of National Geographic, Fowler finds a chain-smoking, hard-drinking woman bullying her staff into submission. While pressures mount from powers beyond Karisoke in an effort to extricate Fossey from her domain of thirteen years, she brings new students in to serve her most pressing need―to hang on to the remote research camp that has become her mountain home. Increasingly bizarre behavior has targeted Fossey for extrication by an ever-growing group of detractors―from conservation and research organizations to the Rwandan government.
A Forest in the Clouds takes the armchair adventurer on a journey into an extraordinary world that now only exists in the memories of the very few who knew it.
A Forest in the clouds
"Finally a detailed account on Dian Fossey, the savior of the mountain gorillas who was murdered in l985 at the Karisoke Research Center. It must have been hard for Fowler to relive the abuse he was subjected to by this damaged woman, but I’m glad he has left us such a full record of his time in the magical Virungas."
—Alex Shoumatoff, author of The Wasting of Borneo
"John Fowler is a born storyteller."
"Prepare to climb with him high up into the forest as you experience fear, exhaustion, rain-drenched chill, and, finally, the supreme thrill of proximity with the awe-inspiring mountain gorillas. It was her love for them, and her fight to save them, that finally alienated Dian Fossey from human society. Unpredictable, tormented, and embittered, she now casts a dark shadow over this remote world."