Essays filled with affection, sophistication, and down-home common sense in an engagingly understated style by this prolific naturalist

Look Inside

Copyright © 2004, Bil Gilbert. All rights reserved.


Bil Gilbert is one of America's most preeminent and popular essayists and nature writers. If you've ever opened a copy of Smithsonian, Audubon, or Sports Illustrated magazines, you've likely come across an article by Gilbert. In the past four decades, more than 350 of his articles and essays have appeared in places ranging from Esquire to the New York Times.

Natural Coincidence collects some of Bil Gilbert's finest writing, covering a diverse range of subjects that include investigations of the biology of Tasmanian devils, the lives and loves of snapping turtles, and an appreciation of the intelligence of crows. Perfectly suiting this eclectic choice of angles is Gilbert's unique writing style, a blend of unprepossessing erudition, wit, and honesty that has been compared to Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac.

The collection opens with a memoir of a childhood Christmas in western Michigan, before Gilbert's fascination with the natural world drew him to more exotic locales like Tasmania, Alaska, Nova Scotia, and Manhattan to write about such topics as the javelina, bigfoot, buffalo, and ringtails.

"More than 50 years ago," writes Gilbert, "without a clear notion about why or where I was going, I set off on a trip from Kalamazoo, Michigan. I am still traveling toward an unknown destination. But along the way, much more for reasons of good luck than thoughtful planning, I have met many wonderful beings and happenings. The essays appearing in Natural Coincidence represent an attempt to describe some of these wonders. I like to think, or at least pretend, that the inspiration for and theme of this book is gratitude."

Specializing in American social and natural history, Bil Gilbert has worked as a writer for much of the last forty years. He's published hundreds of articles in major national periodicals, including Discover, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, and the Washington Post, and he's the author of several books. He lives in Pennsylvania.

"Bil Gilbert's Natural Coincidence: The Trip from Kalamazoo is stylish and thought-provoking. And as his sister I have long admired and wanted his secret recipe for mince, the best there is for pies."
-Sue Hubbell

". . . our best full-time environmental journalist."
-Washington Post

"Bil Gilbert has been writing about nature so well, so sensibly and so long that he's become a kind if natural resource to be cherished for his own sake, like the rivers, hawks, grizzlies and other wonders he evokes with low-key eloquence."