The Boilerplate Rhino
Nature in the Eye of the Beholder New edition
By (author) David Quammen
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Boilerplate Rhino by David Quammen
Book DescriptionIn 1981 David Quammen began what might be every freelance writer's dream: a monthly column for Outside magazine in which he was given free rein to write about anything that interested him in the natural world. His column was called "Natural Acts," and for the next fifteen years he delighted Outside' s readers with his fascinating ruminations on the world around us. The Boilerplate Rhino brings together twenty-six of Quammen's most thoughtful and engaging essays from that column, none previously printed in any of his earlier books. In lucid, penetrating, and often quirkily idiosyncratic prose, David Quammen takes his readers with him as he explores the world. His travels lead him to rattlesnake handlers in Texas; a lizard specialist in Baja; the dinosaur museum in Jordan, Montana; and halfway across Indonesia in search of the perfect Durian fruit. He ponders the history of nutmeg in the southern Moluccas, meditates on bioluminescent beetles while soaking in the waters of the Amazon, and delivers "The Dope on Eggs" from a chicken ranch near his hometown in Montana. Quammen's travels are always jumping-off points to explore the rich and sometimes horrifying tension between humankind and the natural world, in all its complexity and ambivalence. The result is another irrepressible assortment of ideas to explore, conundrums to contemplate, and wondrous creatures to behold.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780743200325
(214mm x 139mm x 17mm)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publish Date: 5-May-2001
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author David Quammen
Evolution: A Visual Record, Hardback (October 2016)
Stunning images to reawaken us to the scientific process that drives the amazing diversity of life on earth
Yellowstone, Hardback (September 2016)
This monumental book is an incredible journey through Yellowstone, America's first national park.
Chimp and the River, Paperback (May 2015)
Tells the story of AIDS - how it originated with a virus in a chimpanzee, jumped to one human and infected more than 60 million people. This book includes research reports that has revealed dark surprises and yielded a radically new scenario of how AIDS began and spread.
Ebola, Paperback (October 2014)» View all books by David Quammen
"A frightening and fascinating masterpiece of science reporting that reads like a detective story." -Walter Isaacson
US Kirkus Review » The only downside to this collection of Quammen's (Wild Thoughts from Wild Places, 1997, etc.) natural history essaysand it is a painful oneis the reminder that he no longer writes them on a monthly basis. Here is Quammen doing what he does like no other, knocking about in nature, one eye skinned for the curious organisms through which he explores big questions, the other on the lookout for a suitable opportunity to stick his finger in the eye of our species-specific complacency and self-delusion. Like the cats (Felis sylvestris) he so admires, Quammen walks alone. He is an odd fellow, not self-consciously so, but rather for the fresh and unexpected take he brings to such puzzles as ``what drives the evolution of bizarre forms of penis' and ``does the female sea horse take foolish pride in the size of her thing'? Or why Tyrannosaurus rex ought to be the state bird of Montana. Or why two one-eyed poets are masters of the exigent art of seeing. Or what motivates the plague of defenestrated cats. Through such probings, improbable as it may seem, Quammen raises other grander questionsand infers a direction in which answers may lieabout the ``confusion of good logic and bad logic, earned emotion and specious emotion.' If at times he pursues in his work ``a fascinating scientific question that might lend itself rather well to vulgarization and mockery,' more often he discovers something jarring and demanding: ``a chimpanzee, confronting its own reflected image, is capable of self-recognition. But humans look in a mirror and see only God.' It is a rare and beautiful thing, Quammen's entertaining, challenging, and sustained brilliance. No wonder he needed a break from the monthly grind; it must have been like giving blood one too many times. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - David Quammen
David Quammen is a regular contribulor to Natural history magazines. He is also the author of three novels and several other books one of which, The Elight of The Iguana (0684836262), is also available from Simon & Schuster.
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