Today Jane Goodall is famous as the woman who in her twenties went on her own into the jungles of Africa to study chimpanzees. Since then, she's not only become a world-renowned scientist, an authority especially on the relationship between humans and apes, but a great champion of the rights of animals in general as well as chimps in particular.
Goodall's background is surprising. The daughter of a race car driver, she did well enough at school. Upon graduating from secondary school, she went to secretarial school and went to work for a time for a company that made film documentaries. When a friend invited her to come see her in Kenya, Goodall leapt at the chance. It was while there that she sought out anthropologist Louis Leakey, who hired her as his assistant. It was he who would suggest that she go out into the wilds to observe the chimps at Lake Tanganyika. She would make history when she did so, taking her mother along with her. An extremely intelligent woman capable of intense concentration for long periods of time, she devoted herself for months to simply observing the chimpanzees. Leakey was amazed by her discovery that they fashioned sticks into tools that they used to capture termites to eat. This would change Leakey's thinking about the relationship between apes and men and thus the entire world's thinking.
Over time, Goodall would have what seems like a myriad of romances and two marriages. This book covers her entire life in great detail, giving us insight both into her personal life and her growth as an academic and primatologist and finally spokesperson for environmental causes.
This report prepared by Ann Gaines