- Use promo code PRIMEBOOKS18 to save $5.00 when you spend $20.00 or more on Books offered by Amazon.com. Enter code PRIMEBOOKS18 at checkout. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $2.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches from an Ancient Landscape Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 12, 2015
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
“Captivating... A book about continuity and roots and a sense of belonging in an age that's increasingly about mobility and self-invention. Hugely compelling” ―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“It's bloody marvelous.” ―Helen Macdonald, New York Times bestselling author of H IS FOR HAWK
““Rebanks’s family has farmed sheep in the hills of the lake District, in northwestern England, for some six centuries. The work, detailed lovingly in this memoir, has changed little… Rebanks is concerned with the survival of the landscape, of the life that it has fostered, and of its inhabitants’ view of the world.”” ―The New Yorker
“James Rebanks's unsentimental, sharply detailed memoir about his life as a shepherd in England's Lake District gripped me from the first page.” ―The Wall Street Journal
"James Rebanks’s “The Shepherd’s Life” stands in blissful earthbound contrast. Farming the high fells of the Lake District, the first son of a shepherd, who was himself the first son of a shepherd, Mr. Rebanks writes with loving eloquence about a kind of deep-rooted life that is all but lost in the developed world. Herdwick sheep, the local breed, are set free to graze on unfenced commons and could head off to Scotland were they not “hefted”―tied to their home range by invisible bonds of instinct and inheritance. Mr. Rebanks is himself hefted to his land and deftly conveys the worth and beauty of such a connection." - Geraldine Brooks
“A gorgeous book, unsentimental but exultant, vivid and profound, and a fierce defense of small-scale farming against the twin threats of agribusiness and tourism.” ―National Geographic
“A powerful - and quietly electrifying - meditation on the gruelling truth of rural life... Rebanks' prose is beautifully sure-footed.” ―The Sunday Times (UK)
“Rebanks' enthusiasm and talent for poetic writing is infectious... [His] words create not only a gorgeous landscape painting of the Lake District and its inhabitants, human, animal, bird and fish, but also a useful social document... What is most striking about this book is its authenticity; this is the real thing.” ―The Times (UK)
“Beautifully written” ―Alan Cumming, New York Times Bestselling author of NOT MY FATHER'S SON
“May well do for sheep what Helen Macdonald did for hawks.” ―The Guardian (UK)
“Superstar Shepherd.” ―The Daily Mail (UK)
“Affectionate, evocative, illuminating. A story of survival - of a flock, a landscape and a disappearing way of life. I love this book” ―Nigel Slater, author of the internationally bestselling Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger and Tender
“Rebanks writes about his native Lake District with a loving eye for its past and present, its working denizens--humans, dogs, sheep--who continue to shape our picture of what Pastoralism is.” ―Brad Kessler, author of Goat Song
“The Shepherd's Life weaves together the human history of the farmers with factual history of the farms, the spiritual pull of the land with the physical demands it makes, the cruelty and beauty, optimism and pragmatism of the most beautiful corner of the world. A vivid, honest, unforgettably written account not just of one shepherd's year, but of an ancient way of life.” ―Lucy Dillon, author of LOST DOGS and LONELY HEARTS
“THE SHEPHERD'S LIFE is a reader's delight. Rebanks lives, breathes, and works his landscape - which gives him an inside edge as sharp as shears over most of the flock of current countryside writers. He has written a marvelous autobiography - of himself, his family, and the hills themselves.” ―John Lewis-Stempel, author of MEADOWLAND and YOUNG JAMES HERRIOT: THE MAKING OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS VET
About the Author
James Rebanks runs a family-owned farm in the Lake District in northern England. A graduate of Oxford University, James works as an expert advisor to UNESCO on sustainable tourism. He uses his popular Twitter feed - @herdyshepherd1 - to share updates on the shepherding year. The Shepherd's Life is his first book.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The book is the story of his life's journey to show that shepherding demanded high order emotional, physical and intellectual effort, while coming to realize that books, too, could impart knowledge and maybe wisdom. Remember, shepherding is a pre-industrial occupation; The idea that anything that requires hard, physical labor is somehow unworthy, and maybe demeaning, isn't an idea that would have found much traction before the late 19th and 20th centuries.
Mr. Rebanks' road eventually leads him to studies at Oxford. It isn't clear from the book that his professors ever understood why his road took him back to the Lake District of England and the work of shepherding. But, it did. In following his journey, I found myself enriched to see values that I don't generally find in the world of higher education with which my work brings me into contact.
I thought back to the mid-1980s when I represented an agricultural lender and I was meeting with their board of directors. They were in overalls and I was in a suit. But, as I listened to them they spoke of buying expensive farm equipment the way I would speak of buying a pair of shoes and they paid close attention to the Chicago Board of Trade for the prices of farm commodities. The guy at the end of the table was in his early 40s and, as I thought about it, I realized he controlled at least $6M in assets, had a college degree and engaged in breeding dairy cattle scientifically. I realized that, despite how they were dressed and how I was dressed, I needed to give these people some respect. James Rebanks' book brought this thought.
Mr. Rebanks' book challenged how I think about the value of a father, work, learning and a sense of place. I recommend it highly.
But I did. A lot.
I enjoyed the way Rebanks structured the narrative - following the four seasons of a Shepherds life (Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer) while weaving in a narrative of the different seasons of his own life. I have never set foot on a sheep farm, but I came to identify with world he described: the cycles of work and rest, the family blessing and family tension, the need to prove yourself... I also came to long for many aspects of his experience: the deep connection to the land (being hefted) and to the people who lived on it and worked it before you, the deep and real sense of community with (the few) others who know and have experienced your life, and the ability to watch your decisions play out over a long period of time in order to both learn and improve your skill.
This is not a sentimental look at the shepherding life. It is full of joy and family - but it is also realistic in its descriptions of the landscape, the work, and the people who dwell in it. Like his farm, after you walk through this, you will look down and see that you have muck on your shoes.
And if you are like me, you'll be glad you do.
He returned to the life he knew and loved--but you can't really make a living at that. That is, unless you have a town job. In Rebanks case he became a blogger and a writer--also a consultant with the UN on marginal indigenous farmers, and how to preserve those agricultural communities.
He's an interesting writer, and the book itself is interesting.
Most recent customer reviews
You mean life isn't all about making money?Read more