An addictively free-ranging survey of the massive impact that the domesticated ungulates of the genus Ovis have had on human history.
From the plains of ancient Mesopotamia to the rolling hills of medieval England to the vast sheep farms of modern-day Australia, sheep have been central to the human story.
Starting with our Neolithic ancestors' first forays into sheep-rearing nearly 10,000 years ago, these remarkable animals have fed us, clothed us, changed our diet and languages, helped us to win wars, decorated our homes, and financed the conquest of large swathes of the earth. Enormous fortunes and new, society-changing industries have been made from the fleeces of sheep, and cities shaped by shepherds' markets and meat trading.
Sally Coulthard weaves the rich and fascinating story of sheep into a vivid and colourful tapestry, thickly threaded with engaging anecdotes and remarkable ovine facts, whose multiple strands reflect the deep penetration of these woolly animals into every aspect of human society and culture.
Sally Coulthard is a bestselling author of design and outdoor living books including The Hedgehog Handbook, The Bee Bible, The Little Book of Snow, How to Build a Shed, Shed Chic, Gardenalia, The Little Book of Building Fires. She lives on a Yorkshire farm where she keeps chickens as well as naturally sheep.
"This book deserves a place in your bookcase next to Harari's Sapiens. It's every bit as fascinating and is surely destined to be just as successful"
– Julian Norton
"Sally Coulthard's story of how sheep shaped the human story is full of rich pickings [...] Coulthard weaves together a detailed story that is full of fascinating social history"
"I absolutely LOVE this [...] It's a perfect light-hearted informative history"
– Philippa Sandall
"Sally Coulthard weaves the rich and fascinating story of sheep into a vivid and colourful tapestry [...] Sally's book is threaded with engaging anecdotes and remarkable ovine facts"
– Yorkshire Post
"This rich story [...] overflows with anecdotes and ovine facts with Coulthard showing how intrinsic sheep have been to human society and culture"
– This England
"[An] intriguing book [...] You won't look at a sheep in the same way again"
– Country Living
"Love a sheep? Yorkshire writer Sally Coulthard has the ovis covered!"
– Yorkshire Life
"Not nearly as wacky as its title might make you suspect, this is an in-depth, accessible take on how sheep have shaped human history. The fact that they are the source of so many useful resources – meat, wool, milk, even blood – means that cultures have often kept them close at hand. Global in scope, with fascinating vignettes from the ancient world to the present day, this is anything but woolly"
– BBC History Magazine
"You often see them on walks, but what do you really know about the woolly bleaters? Sally Coulthard reveals mind-boggling facts in her new book"
– Country Walking
"The rich and fascinating story of the sheep, masterfully told. Such a splendid book"
"Over the course of some 300 pages, Sally Coulthard weaves the rich and fascinating story of sheep into a suitably colourful woollen tapestry"