Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants (Paperback)

Rats: Observations on the History & Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants By Robert Sullivan Cover Image
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New York Public Library Book for the Teenager
New York Public Library Book to Remember
PSLA Young Adult Top 40 Nonfiction Titles of the Year

"Engaging...a lively, informative compendium of facts, theories, and musings."-Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Behold the rat, dirty and disgusting! Robert Sullivan turns the lowly rat into the star of this most perversely intriguing, remarkable, and unexpectedly elegant New York Times bestseller.

Love them or loathe them, rats are here to stay-they are city dwellers as much as (or more than) we are, surviving on the effluvia of our society. In Rats, the critically acclaimed bestseller, Robert Sullivan spends a year investigating a rat-infested alley just a few blocks away from Wall Street. Sullivan gets to know not just the beast but its friends and foes: the exterminators, the sanitation workers, the agitators and activists who have played their part in the centuries-old war between human city dweller and wild city rat.

Sullivan looks deep into the largely unrecorded history of the city and its masses-its herds-of-rats-like mob. Funny, wise, sometimes disgusting but always compulsively readable, Rats earns its unlikely place alongside the great classics of nature writing.

With an all-new Afterword by the author

About the Author

Robert Sullivan is the author of The Meadowlands and A Whale Hunt, both New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He is a contributing editor to Vogue and a longtime contributor to the New Yorker. He lives in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Praise For…

"Engaging…a lively, informative compendium of facts, theories, and musings."

-Michiko Kakutani

"Immensely lively, enjoyable, learned, witty and yes, appealing."

-Philip Lopate

"… a rollicking, richly drawn history…[he] offers up a parade of eccentric characters who deserve to be in the movies."


"Hugely entertaining."

"[Approaches] his fleet-footed, fast-food-loving quarry with a naturalist's curiosity and a storyteller's fluency."

"Improbably enchanting... a funny, rodent-centered mélange of natural and urban history."

"The author excels at fluid and witty prose."

"An urban Thoreau…"

"Sullivan persuasively associates the 'truth' he learns about rats with a deeper understanding of both the history of New York City and the essence of mankind."


"Rats will both entertain and edify you about a part of the world you never thought much about."

"Sullivan beguiles us with remarkable tales about an inexhaustible topic."

"Skittering, scurrying, terrific natural history."

"Who knew a book about one of nature's most reviled creatures could make such great bedside reading?"

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781582344775
ISBN-10: 1582344779
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: April 11th, 2005
Pages: 272
Language: English