There are few among us who would readily jump at the chance to read a book about rats, but Sullivan has written a fascinating book intertwining trivia (rats can chew through concrete and collapse their skeletons to squeeze through holes less than an inch wide), personal observations, interviews, and New York history. With pen and notebook in hand, the author spent a year surveilling rats in a Manhattan alley, where he found that they love macaroni and cheese, and interviewing everyone who’s anyone in the rodent world in return for some of the most skin-crawling stories you’d ever hear. Against this backdrop, he looks at some of the issues faced by an urban area such as New York City and how rats have played a role from angry tenants bringing a rat to court to protest slumlords to the tragedy of September 11 and how the ensuing construction flooded the area with rodents. An eye-opening look at a creature many would rather run away from.
Rats: observations on the history and habitat of the city’s most unwanted inhabitants by Robert Sullivan
Posted in: Nonfiction– August 20, 2009