Matthews's first book chronicles Dian Fossey's life in full-color photographs as well as in even-handed commentary that includes the controversial aspects of her attempts to protect the mountain gorillas of Africa; she destroyed poachers' traps, shot at their cattle, and burned their camps to keep them from killing off the creatures she knew to be endangered. This biography follows Fossey's growing love of animals through adolescence and college, covering her meeting on her first trip to Africa with Dr. Leakey, through whom she was able to get the position that evolved into her life's work, and perhaps to her murder. Photographs of Fossey with her beloved gorilla, Digit, help readers understand her retaliations when the animal was violently killed. Matthews also confronts readers with one of the major issues conservationists face--which means of preserving a species are justified, given the end goal? A strong, often compassionate debut.