In this inspiring collection of essays, acclaimed author David Quammen journeys to places where civilization meets raw nature and explores the challenge of balancing the needs of both.
For more than two decades, award-winning science and nature writer David Quammen has traveled to Earth’s most far-flung and fragile destinations, sending back field notes from places caught in the tension between humans and the wild. This illuminating book features 20 of those assignments: elegantly written narratives, originally published in National Geographic magazine and updated for today, telling colorful and impassioned stories from some of the planet’s wildest locales.
Quammen shares encounters with African elephants, chimpanzees, and gorillas (and their saviors, including Jane Goodall); the salmon of northeastern Russia and the people whose livelihood depends on them; the lions of Kenya and the villagers whose homes border on parks created to preserve the species; and the champions of rewilding efforts in southernmost South America, designed to rescue iconic species including jaguars and macaws.
With a new introduction, afterword, and notes framing each story, Quammen reminds us of the essential role played by wild nature at the heart of the planet.
About the Author
Three-time winner of the National Magazine Award (the Ellie) and author of 15 books, DAVID QUAMMEN is one of the world’s top nature and science writers. His 2012 book Spillover, which predicted a worldwide pandemic, was shortlisted for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award and has made him one of the most sought-after commentators on the coronavirus. He is a regular contributor to National Geographic, The New Yorker, and the New York Times. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.
"David Quammen is the conservationist's author. Not only can he explain complex scientific issues using great storytelling that makes them stick, but he also has the ability to transmit the passion involved in exploration, research, and conservation."——Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer in Residence and founding director of Pristine Seas
"Distinctively combining the splendor of nature, conservation biology, and exciting adventures, Quammen’s tales read as though Indiana Jones joined forces with scientist-ecologist Edward O. Wilson."——Booklist
"In his new book, The Heartbeat of the Wild, David Quammen guides us on a journey to remarkable places to meet remarkable people who live with remarkable wild animals. Throughout the journey – from 'the green abyss' of the Congo, to the sweeping plains of the Serengeti, to the wilds of Chile and Argentina – he makes a powerful and compelling case for the necessity of keeping nature’s wild heart beating. Only then will we and the planet thrive."——Chris Johns, former Editor in Chief, National Geographic magazine