Most helpful positive review
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2014
I bought this as a handy reference in order to learn more about the sheep I encounter when walking in the Lake District and the Chilterns. It is indeed an excellent reference book, but is far more than that.
The author is immensely knowledgeable about his subject but wears his learning lightly and writes with self-deprecation and humour. He communicates simply and clearly and his prose is at times lyrical, at times elegiac, as when he confronts the dreadful slaughter during the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 and its lasting impact on our farming.
He places sheep farming in its historical context and covers the sweep of history, from ancient times to the present. He makes the point, and I find it convincing, that many things in the countryside which we assume are gone are still there: they have simply become invisible to us because we have forgotten how to look for them.
There's a section on each of the main breeds of sheep, putting them in both their regional and historic context, along with a delightful and informative chapter on sheepdogs and a closing chapter looking towards the future.
This is a beautifully written book by a writer with great empathy for his subject, and I recommend it highly.