"A witty, scientifically accurate, and often intensely creepy exploration of sanguivorous creatures."
—San Francisco Chronicle
For centuries, blood feeders have inhabited our nightmares and horror stories, as well as the shadowy realms of scientific knowledge. In Dark Banquet, zoologist Bill Schutt takes us on a fascinating voyage into the world of some of nature’s strangest creatures–the sanguivores. Using a sharp eye and mordant wit, Schutt makes a remarkably persuasive case that blood feeders, from bats to bedbugs, are as deserving of our curiosity as warmer and fuzzier species are–and that many of them are even worthy of conservation.
Enlightening and alarming, Dark Banquet peers into a part of the natural world to which we are, through our blood, inextricably linked.
"Dark Banquet is an amazing account of all those creatures that most of us consider really creepy! But author Bill Schutt doesn’t, and actually embraces these critters and their bloodthirsty lifestyles. It’s great to see such wonderful animal research in a reader-friendly form. After finishing the book, you’ll have a lot to discuss at your next dinner party!"
—Jack Hanna, director emeritus, Columbus Zoo, and host of television’s Emmy Award—winning series Into the Wild
"[A] passionate defense of bloodsuckers from the leech to the candiru."
|Product dimensions:||5.16(w) x 8.02(h) x 0.69(d)|
About the Author
BILL SCHUTT is an associate professor of biology at C.W. Post College in Long Island and a research associate in mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A great read for Halloween time! Schutt's does a nice job of being an investigative reporter for several sanguivorous animals, starting with Vampire Bats which he has studied. His writing is quite accessible, full of wit, personal connection, and even the little jargon he uses he explains in footnotes. He includes some basic biology on blood, differences between invertebrate and vertebrate animals, some historical notes on the development of medicine, and current concerns about these organisms and disease transmission. The only error I found was that he called cellulose a protein -- which it is NOT. Cellulose is a carbohydrate. (I can't believe he made that mistake nor that the editors missed it. -- Shame on you!) Great book, though. Highly recommended. Better than a read of Frankenstein at Halloween...I think I will be a bed bug for Halloween this year...
Dark Banquet is an exhilarating, informative, and VERY funny exploration of nature's bloodfeeders. From vampire bats, to bed bugs (a real problem), leeches, and ticks - they're all here and Bill Schutt is just the man to tell us about them (he studies vampire bats for a living). Additionally, there's a fascinating chapter on blood (and how very little we actually knew about it until the 20th century). We learn, for example, that George Washington was bled to death by his well-meaning doctors (who drained him of 80 ounces of blood while treating his sore throat). All of this (sometimes gory) material is presented in a highly entertaining manner. What an enjoyable ride! I'm looking forward to Schutt's next book (which, according to his cool and informative website, will be about cannibals).
I have not yet finished reading this book but have already learned things I didn't know about those creatures who exist on blood. The book is well written and humorous, not taking itself too seriously. I find that for a book that is clearly research oriented I am not in the least bored. I'm looking forward to reading more and finding out how the meal ends.
If Lewis Black or the late George Carlin were evolutionary biologists, this is the sort of book they would have written - beginning with the history of blood-letting - enhanced by the incomparable (and sometimes Adams Family-esque) drawings of Patricia Wynne (The killing of George Washington - bled to death by physicians trying to cure a common cold, comes quickly to mind.).
This is definitely the work of a child who grew up without ever losing - as do most human beings - that uniquely child-like sense of wonder. The text is a vertebrate zoologist's personal journey into the mysterious world of blood-feeding creatures and our species' often bizarre fascination with the substance itself - by the scientist who stopped worrying about vampire bats, and bedbugs, and vampire catfish, and learned to love them instead.
A book like this has never been written before on any scientific subject. The reader is often left with a sense of mystery and wonder, between bouts of rolling on the floor laughing. And, as does the author, we come to love vampire bats (if not bedbugs and urethgra-seeking catfish) - and even to think of the little beasties as "cute."
Highly recommended for anyone (from intelligent Junior High School readers through Ph.D.s) - anyone, with any interest at all in nature or science.