A study of why we deem certain animals "pests" and others not--from cats to rats, elephants to pigeons--and what this tells us about our own perceptions, beliefs, and actions, as well as our place in the natural world.
With its modest title, Pests might be mistakenly shelved with mouse-proofing guides. But Bethany Brookshire’s new book is something far more ambitious. A lively and fascinating work of science writing ... Writing insightfully about the cultural history of nature as it evolves with us, Brookshire...emphasizes that semi-imaginary animals we create in our minds are just as influential as real animals ... Brookshire mutters asides, even jokes, but she doesn’t talk down to the reader. She has done her research and writes with style ... Brookshire pays admirable attention to the questions of inequality and injustice that underlie our relationships with animals as they underlie everything else ... Brookshire expertly and entertainingly demonstrates that while it is risky to interact with our fellow creatures, it is even more perilous when we fail to clearly see our changing relationships with them.