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Beth Armstrong

Author, conservationist, photographer and 

primatologist Beth Armstrong offers a rare glimpse into the complicated lives of captive gorillas through her new book Voices from the Ape House. Beth's many years as a gorilla keeper allowed her the privilege to observe the daily lives of this endearing, sensitive and socially savvy species.  Published in March of 2020 by the Ohio State University Press/Trillium, the book is available on Amazon, through local indie bookstores and through OSU Press.

Tap to buy Beth's book. 






I am so pleased and honored to announce that I was awarded a Greater Columbus Arts Council Grant for the 2022 year in support of my writing. Thank you GCAC for supporting local artists and believing in the power of creativity. 


Tap on Book Cover above & on Voices from the Ape House below for direct link to Amazon.

“Gorillas are also individuals, with unique quirks, personalities, and histories, and Armstrong writes about them with insight, intimacy, and heart in her lovely new memoir, Voices from the Ape House.”

—Dave Ghose, Columbus Monthly

“After reading this delightful book, I’m going to become a Columbus Zoo member and visit the zoo as soon as possible. I plan to devote extra time to observe the gorillas which Armstrong has lovingly described.”


Reviewed by George Cowmeadow Bauman, who was the co-owner of the late Acorn Bookshop, and has written for The Ohioana Quarterly for many years. 

For the full Kirkus Review review tap below:


“Beth Armstrong turns a revealing account of her career as an ape keeper into a love song for an extraordinary species. She captures the poignant tension between the magic of interacting closely with gorillas in captivity and the desperate need to support them in the wild. Her intimate revelations beautifully demonstrate that storytelling has a vital role to play in inspiring the next generation of conservationists.”


—Dr. Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution 

“This beautifully written, heartfelt account of a zookeeper's experiences when in the company of gorillas testifies to the richness and rewards of human-animal coexistence. It is a must-read for all wildlife enthusiasts and certainly for budding zookeepers.”


—Richard Johnstone Scott, former head gorilla keeper at Howletts Wild Animal Park and Jersey Island Zoo and author of Jambo: A Gorilla’s Story

“Armstrong was in the forefront of exchanging experiences with other zoos around the world, developing a network of relationships that spread advances made in gorilla husbandry and zoo management.…Though the author's discussions of zoo management are … engaging, the most heart-touching material is found in the profiles of the gorillas. A pleasing gathering of distinct personalities and unique stories from the ape house.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Voices from the Ape House is a powerful journey through a remarkable time in zoological history. Throughout, Beth Armstrong examines the unique relationship between animals and people—showing that there is so much more to be learned as we work every day to conserve these magnificent creatures.”

—Jack Hanna, host of Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild

"This is my favorite book of 2020 so far. I am a huge fan of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. This in depth look into the lives of the gorillas and the keepers is a must read for animal lovers.”

~ Kris Hickey, Whetstone Library & All Sides Weekend Books, WOSU Radio


From a Goodreads Review – July 2020

" I received my copy of "Voices from the Ape House," and I am loving it! It is brilliant -- you are a wonderful, wonderful writer, and I am so grateful to have a book that focuses on kindness and compassion at a time when darker forces are at play. At a time when zoos are hurting so badly, it is nice to read about a time when the potential was endless and the belief was total. You have captured a moment, an era, maybe, in time, that changed the world. How nice to be able to say you were there when it mattered most. Anyway, thanks again for the book -- it is truly inspirational.  "


Doug Cress, Former ED of UN-GRASP

(UN -Great Ape Survival Program)

Former ED of PASA (Pan African Sanctuary Alliance)


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