On the bookshelf
Rats: you either love them or hate them. This animal species triggers very diverse human reactions. In the book "Rats" the author performed research for a year in an alley near Wall Street. He got to know not only the rats, but also their friends and enemies.
The battle between city residents and rats has been raging for centuries. Exterminators, rubbish collectors and animal protectionists each play a role on the battlegrounds. Sullivan delves deep into the history of New York (and of cities in general) and the role of the rat in that history. He sees the rat as much more than a pest. To him, rats are New Yorkers par excellence, immigrants that disembarked in Manhattan around the time of the American Revolution and then fanned out. Sullivan even goes so far as to call the rat our mirror species. Rats can be found in every place where humans go, set up camp, and leave behind rubbish.
The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list, and critics have said it deserves a place among nature book classics.
Title: Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants
Author: Robert Sullivan
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, 2005