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The Shepherd's Life- James Rebanks

Reviewed by Elias, Balgowlah


The English Lakes are famous for their beauty, but less famous for their farmers. James Rebanks, proud inheritor of a tradition that spans millennia, is a tenth-generation shepherd – that rarest of beasts, a working small hold farmer. This book is an account of his life on a land enshrined in the poetry of William Wordsworth and the stories of Beatrix Potter, but rarely considered as a working landscape – a place where people lived and died in partnership with their animals long before the first tourists arrived. From his grounded, soil-conscious perspective, Rebanks relates the wrenching struggles and transcendent rewards of the shepherd’s year. A simple, beautifully observed story, The Shepherd’s Life is a book that captures a way of life at risk of vanishing forever, and, even rarer, a way of work that allows those who pursue it to retain their dignity.

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