Skip to Main Content

The Boilerplate Rhino

Nature in the Eye of the Beholder


About The Book

From “one of the most fascinating and thought-provoking writers of natural history” (The Seattle Times), a collection of enduring essays that form a bestiary of wondrous creatures and a gallery of the human faces that peer at them.

The Boilerplate Rhino brings together twenty-six of David Quammen’s most thoughtful and engaging essays from his column for Outside magazine, gifting readers with an irrepressible assortment of ideas to explore, conundrums to contemplate, and wondrous creatures to behold.

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.

About The Author

Photograph by Louise Johns

David Quammen’s books include BreathlessThe Tangled TreeThe Song of the DodoThe Reluctant Mr. Darwin, and Spillover. He has written for The New YorkerHarper’s Magazine, The AtlanticNational Geographic, and Outside, among other magazines, and is a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award. Quammen shares a home in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife, Betsy Gaines Quammen, author of American Zion, and with three Russian wolfhounds, a cross-eyed cat, and a rescue python. Visit him at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (April 17, 2001)
  • Length: 288 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743200325

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

“One of the most fascinating and though-provoking writers of natural history.”—David Williams, The Seattle Times

“[Quammen] is the only nature writer who makes you laugh out loud.” —Mike Weilbacher, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: David Quammen