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The Man Who Ate the Zoo
The Man Who Ate the Zoo

The Man Who Ate the Zoo

Frank Buckland: Forgotten Hero of Natural History


304 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $21.95 (US $21.95)

Publication Date: July 2018

ISBN 9781784701611

Rights: US

Penguin Random House UK (Jul 2018)
Vintage UK

Price: $21.95


A lively and fascinating biography of Frank Buckland, "the forgotten man of Victorian science"—an eccentric giant of his time

Frank Buckland was an extraordinary man—a surgeon, a natural historian, a sell-out lecturer, a bestselling writer, a museum curator, and a conservationist, before the concept even existed. Eccentric, revolutionary, popular, prolific, he was one of the 19th century's authentic geniuses. He was obsessed by food security and finding ways to feed the hungry (the book recounts his many unusual experiments), and by protecting our fisheries (he can be credited with saving British fish from commercial extinction). He was one of the most original, far-sighted, and influential natural scientists of his time, held as high in public esteem as Charles Darwin. The Man Who Ate the Zoo is no conventional biography, but rather a journey back into Buckland's life, a hunt for this forgotten man. It sets Buckland's thinking and achievements in a rounded historical context, but views this Victorian adventurer from a modern viewpoint. It is  a celebration of the great age of natural science, one man's genius and what, even now, can be learned from him.


"Hugely entertaining." —Jeremy Paxman

"[A] tumultuously entertaining biography . . . [An] irresistibly engaging book." —Sunday Times

"A rollicking ride through eccentric Victorian England. Frank Buckland is the most engaging of subjects . . . Girling's infectious enthusiasm for his subject shines through.' —the Times

"Girling brings to rip-roaring life a fascinating Victorian figure of whom few have ever heard; I so wish I could invite Frank Buckland over for dinner." —Dave Goulson, author, A Sting in the Tale

"An irresistibly engaging account of the life of the David Attenborough of the Victorian era." —Sunday Times

"a delightful tribute."—Publishers Weekly 

"A first-rate life history of an unjustly forgotten scientific pioneer."—Booklist 

Author Biography

Richard Girling is an award-winning environmental journalist. He was named Specialist Writer of the Year in the UK Press Awards in 2002, and was shortlisted for the same award in 2005 and 2006. He was Journalist of the Year at the Press Gazette Environmental Press Awards in 2008 and 2009. He is the author of The Hunt for the Golden Mole.