The Man Who Ate The Zoo

Frank Buckland

Richard Girling

Frank Buckland was an extraordinary man – surgeon, natural historian, popular lecturer, bestselling writer, museum curator, and a conservationist before the concept even existed.

Eccentric, revolutionary, prolific, he was one of the nineteenth century’s most improbable geniuses. His lifelong passion was to discover new ways to feed the hungry. Rhinoceros, crocodile, puppy-dog, giraffe, kangaroo, bear and panther all had their chance to impress, but what finally – and, eventually, fatally – obsessed him was fish.

Forgotten now, he was one of the most original, far-sighted and influential natural scientists of his time, held as high in public esteem as his great philosophical enemy, Charles Darwin.

First publlished by Chatto & Windus (Penguin Random House, UK) in 2017.


“Hugely entertaining.”
Jeremy Paxman

“[A] tumultuously entertaining…irresistibly engaging .”
John Carey, Sunday Times

“A joy”
Daily Mail

“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

“Brilliantly entertaining”
The Economist

“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 of A Sting in the Tale

“A rollicking ride through eccentric Victorian England”
The Times

“Rousing, brilliantly written”
Mail on Sunday

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