David Quammen

The Heartbeat

of the Wild

Recently published 2023.

Heartbeat of the Wild

The Heartbeat of the Wild, Quammen’s newest book, is an intellectual journey, recounting a series of adventuresome physical journeys, amid some of the most spectacular wild creatures and wild places on planet Earth.


The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus

Recently published 2022.

Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus

Breathless is the story of the virus that has caused the COVID-19 pandemic—its origin, its evolution, its fierce journey through the human population. That virus is known as SARS-CoV-2. But this book is about people, not just about a virus.

Quammen makes his way across a basaltic scree field in Franz Joseph Land in the Russian Arctic. Read his blog post about the 2013 Pristine Seas Expedition sponsored by National Geographic. Photograph by Andy Mann.

David Quammen

David Quammen is an author and journalist whose eighteen books include Breathless (2022), The Tangled Tree (2018), Spillover (2012), The Song of the Dodo (1996) and, most recently, The Heartbeat of the Wild (2023). Though he began his career as a novelist (To Walk the Line, 1970, and three other works of fiction), in recent decades he has written only nonfiction, focused mainly on science, history of science, and the relationships of humans to landscape and biological diversity. In the past forty years Quammen has also published a few hundred pieces of short nonfiction—feature articles, essays, columns—in magazines such as The New Yorker, National Geographic, Harper’s, Outside, Esquire, The Atlantic, Powder, and Rolling Stone.  He writes occasional Op Eds for The New York Times and other newspapers, and book reviews for The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books.  Quammen has been honored with an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and is a three-time recipient of the National Magazine Award. His books have received various awards, and Breathless in 2022 was a finalist for the National Book Award.  He lives in Bozeman, Montana, with his wife, Betsy Gaines Quammen (also an author: American Zion and the forthcoming True West: Myth and Mending on the Far Side of America) and their family of three dogs, a cat, and a python.

The Latest

Recent musings...



    May 12, 2023. Bozeman. The long winter is finally over, the dropped Halloween candy and lost newspapers have melted out of the snowbanks, the tulips and daffodils are up, the geese are sternly defending their nests, and the click of golf clubs against Titleist 4s...



    Whew. It's been a busy three years for me, mostly spent researching and writing about the pandemic virus, SARS-CoV-2, and its fierce journey through the human population. (See the article on Breathless, just to the left.) For most of that time, I stayed home in my...

Little Things

Little Things

    Here's an interesting fact that you might want to swirl around in your head, along with a sip of the morning coffee: Scientists have now assembled and archived more than 12 million genome sequences of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.     Each of those...

Other Books


THE CHIMP AND THE RIVERHow AIDS Emerged from an African Forest

SPILLOVERAnimal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life

The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of Extinction