The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape

The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape

by James Rebanks


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A Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Jason_A_Greer More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderfully refreshing memoir by a 40 year old Cumbrian Shepherd, that is grounded in reality and who has faced the realities and struggles of a globalized world head on, while keeping his integrity. Rebanks is a refreshing, direct writer. Words are used sparingly, but they keep a thoughtful punch to them. His recollections and really love for his land, his work, his young family, and especially for his recently departed father, shines through here. He does not present his way of life certainly as the best or the only way of life. He has no intention of being a 'guru', he simply wants to have his ancient way of life, and how it has struggled to maintain its integrity today, be heard, with the noise from a plastic, throwaway kind of globalized life. Because of his approach to writing, he leaves this reader refreshed that energized. This is really the best kind of counter culture here, a kind of counter culture that strives to be a very good nobody. He knows he is leaving his mark on the work, through his unique story and way to tell it, but he also knows that he is simply in a long line of people who have followed and who, hopefully, will continue to follow, most of whom are unknown to time. Written to describe his work over the seasons of the northern English year, Rebanks inserts his own story, and recollections of those he knows well. There is hardly any sentimentalism here, but real care and real, direct storytelling, that is hard sometimes to hear. Strikingly, his interaction with a Chinese trinket seller had one of the greatest punches of writing in this story, due to what it tells us about what the globalized world values and holds dear vs. traditional ways of life. This is well written, and very well worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so bummed that I' ve reached the end of this book. Two or more years ago, I began reading every book I could find on sheep and shepherds. I wanted to better understand why God calls us the sheep of His pasture. I have learned much, so that now when I want to relax, enjoy simplicity or feel loved by God, I read about sheep. This book has easily floated to the top of my favorites. Going through the day to day of shepherding and having the format of seasons really gives the truest picture I' ve seen. Hard work, pride and humility, a bondedness -- such treasures. I' ve no doubt I' ll be opening these virtual covers again and again.
Thebooktrail-com More than 1 year ago
This is a view of the lake district that you have never seen before and an experience that you will never had had before. Unless you’re a shepherd, that is. To travel to the Lake District is one thing but this book shows you how to live it, endure it, breathe it and experience it in all of its many forms. Don’t expect to wander across hillocks or stop at the top of hills to soak up the view. This is the every day real life reality of life in one of the most beautiful but remote and hardworking landscapes in England. Events such as the foot and mouth disease are recounted in all of its bleak reality. However harsh the landscape and the reality of being a shepherd however, the beauty of the setting and the passion James has for it, is clear to see. He is its biggest champion of living off the land, of loving the land and maintaining the heritage of his trade This book also looks at the literary side of the Lake district, the changing nature of farming and how the Lakes have taken shape, determined the future of farming and just how beautiful they really are, unwrapped, unveiled in all of their glory
DianaH-Maine More than 1 year ago
THE SHEPHERD’S LIFE: MODERN DISPATCHES FROM AN ANCIENT LANDSCAPE by James Rebanks is a stunning book. I couldn’t put it down (and not only because I raise sheep myself). What I do - on a tiny hobby farm in Maine, USA - is not even remotely comparable to Mr. Rebanks’ occupation and lifestyle. (We both love sheep though!) While reading, I kept pausing and thinking of all the James Herriot books I read and reread years ago. The tone and style and passion of the writing is similar - the love and respect of the land, the landscape itself, the enthusiasm and joy for daily farming and shepherding tasks - these thoughts leap out of the pages at you, embrace you and don’t let you go. Several of my students and co-workers (I, too, needed a money-paying job) used to ask me: Why did I have sheep and chickens and a big garden? Why did I have muddy shoes sometimes at school? How come pieces of hay dropped out of my hair sometimes? Why learn to spin and weave wool? Don’t I know about Wal-Mart? Isn’t that where food comes from? I tried to explain that the animals, the plants, and the work kept me grounded and in touch with the earth, the seasons, life itself. But this thought process and lifestyle is hard to explain and justify to most people - children or adults. That is why I am so pleased to have discovered this book. It will always be on my shelf and referred to often. Some of my favorite passages revolve around the attempt to justify a choice of lifestyle and profession and the attempts to resolve living and working in a revered landscape. The words that come to mind when thinking about this book are - passion (#1), love of animals, love and respect of the land, tradition, history, connectivity to surroundings, a sense of community, cooperation and compromise, reflections, mind-numbing work. I do like the short chapters and blog-style writing. I do enjoy Mr. Rebanks’ Twitter account. @herdyshepherd1 He is a great photographer. I do enjoy the reflections and musings of Mr. Rebanks about land use, landscapes, love of tradition, love of family and love of sheep and farming. I do highly recommend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago