12 January 2022


  • This edition on Kindle (Amazon.com)
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08CP7LLT2
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Apollo (August 6, 2020)
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 237 pages 

Synopsis  (Amazon.com)

From the plains of ancient Mesopotamia to the vast sheep farms of modern-day Australia, sheep have been central to the human story. Since our Neolithic ancestors' first forays into sheep-rearing nearly 11,000 years ago, these remarkable animals have fed us, clothed us, changed our diet and language and financed the conquest of large swathes of the earth.

Sally Coulthard weaves this fascinating story into a vivid and colourful tapestry of engaging anecdotes and extraordinary ovine facts, whose multiple strands celebrate just how pivotal these woolly animals are to almost every aspect of human society and culture.

My Take

This was a very entertaining, and at the same time easy, read. And of course not my usual crime fiction.

Who knew there would be so many aspects of our relationship with sheep to consider: from how they were originally tamed, to the properties that make wool so useful,  how long we have been relieving sheep of their woolly coats, and then the employment that sheep have sponsored in the human race, the importance they have had economically and socially speaking, the role they have played in the history countries all over the world? 

Each chapter is entertaining with myriad anecdotes. For those who want the serious stuff of history there are scores of references to follow up. I just enjoyed the stories.

Highly recommended.

My rating: 4.6

About the author
Bestselling author and columnist Sally Coulthard has spent the last two decades writing about her favourite things – nature, history and craft. Many of her books delve into the traditions of rural life – from artisans to agriculture – the people, plants and creatures who make the countryside tick.

Sally’s work often weaves together different disciplines, pulling threads from social history, anthropology, archaeology, design and nature writing to bring her diverse subjects to life.

After studying Archaeology and Anthropology at Oxford, and a brief stint working in factual television production, Sally moved back to her beloved Yorkshire, married a gardener and set up a smallholding; it’s from there, surrounded by her family and other animals, that Sally writes from a shed in the old orchard.

Her books have covered a wide range of themes – from native bees and hedgehogs to folklore and the history of rural buildings. The countryside remains a constant source of inspiration – whether it’s barn owls or earthworms – and many of Sally’s books share her love of native wildlife and sustainable living.

Sally also writes a column for Country Living magazine, A Good Life, in which she reveals the triumphs and disasters of growing her own fruit and vegetables, and keeping an unruly gaggle of livestock including Soay sheep, runner ducks and hens.

Sally’s written over twenty-five non-fiction books. Her titles have been translated into a dozen languages and many of her more recent publications are also available as audiobooks


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Jacquie said...

Thank you for this recommendation. It sounds like my kind of history. As a fellow crime reader, may I recommend, "Three Bags Full," by Leonie Swann. It's a mystery where a flock of sheep solve a murder (or two.) It's very charming and fun.

Jacquie said...

I meant to say they solve the murder of their shepherd.


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