Gorillas in the Mist

Gorillas in the Mist by Dian Fossey (2000)
Fossey’s highly personal, detailed account of the ecology and behavior of the mountain gorilla based on her 13 years among “the greatest of the great apes.” These highly endangered gorillas are restricted to just six extinct volcanoes in the Virunga mountains, an area 25 miles long and only 6-12 miles wide. She describes habituating her study group. Having named the animals, she follows the life history, diet and sex life of each, offering insight into both the study animals and researcher. Originally published in 1983.

The Year of the Gorilla

The Year of the Gorilla by George Schaller (2010)
A vividly written tale of adventures among the gorillas of the Virunga volcanoes of Rwanda and Uganda. This book is a wonderful, accessible account of field work under difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances by one of the great wildlife biologists. In this classic, Schaller tells of the gorillas, the excitement of tracking animals in the jungle bureaucratic pitfalls and very real trouble with poachers. Illustrated with photographs and line drawings by the author.

Land of a Thousand Hills, My Life in Rwanda

Land of a Thousand Hills, My Life in Rwanda by Rosamond Halsey Carr (2000)
Carr’s chronicle of a remarkable life and her 50-year love affair with Africa. In 1949, Rosamond Halsey Carr, a young fashion illustrator living in New York City, accompanied her dashing hunter-explorer husband to what was then the Belgian Congo. When the marriage fell apart, she decided to stay on in neighboring Rwanda, as the manager of a flower plantation. She has experienced everything from stalking leopards to rampaging elephants, drought, the mysterious murder of her friend Dian Fossey, and near-bankruptcy. She has chugged up the Congo River on a paddle-wheel steamboat, been serenaded by pygmies, and witnessed firsthand the collapse of colonialism. Following 1994’s Hutu-Tutsi genocide, Carr turned her plantation into a shelter for the lost and orphaned children.

Our Lady of the Nile

Our Lady of the Nile by Scholastique Mukasonga (2014, Rwanda)
A debut novel that quickly rose through France’s best-seller list. Set behind the closed doors of an upper-crust girls’ school, just before the Rwandan genocide of the early 1970s, the novel follows rising political tensions, broken friendships and growing animosities as incitements to racial violence and secret desires are kindled. Winner of the Prix Renaudot and the Grand Prix of the French Voices.

A School for My Village

A School for My Village by Kaguri Twesigye Jackson (2011, Uganda)
Director of development at Michigan State University and a visiting scholar at Columbia University, Kaguri returns home to found the Nyaka and Kutamba AIDS Orphans Schools in his native Uganda.

Our Lady of the Nile

The White Nile by Alan Moorehead (2000, Uganda)
A lively history of the Victorian search for the source of the Nile including the extraordinary tales of Richard Burton and John Speke, not to mention the famous meeting of Livingstone and Stanley. A classic, originally published in 1960. With vivid descriptions of Zanzibar, the last days of Khartoum and the building of the Suez Canal.