Since highland cattle ransacked his grandmother's vegetable patch when he was six, Roger Morgan-Grenville has been fascinated by cows.
So at the age of 61, with no farming experience, he signed on as a part-time labourer on a beef cattle farm to tell their side of the story. The result is this lyrical and evocative book.
For 10,000 years, cow and human lives have been intertwined. Cattle have existed alongside us, fed and shod us, quenched our thirst, and provided a thousand other tiny services, and yet most of us know little about them. We are also blissfully unaware of the de-natured lives we often ask them to lead.
Part history, part adventure and part unsentimental manifesto for how we should treat cows in the 21st century, Taking Stock asks us to think carefully about what we eat, and to let nature back into food production.
Roger Morgan-Grenville was a soldier from 1978-86 and later helped to set up the charity Help for Heroes. He is also the author of Liquid Gold (2020) and Shearwater (2021), both published by Icon. He lives in Petworth.
"Funny, insightful and hugely informative [...] a charming book"
– Daily Mail
"Tremendous [...] We all need to take stock, and this is the ideal starting point. I learnt a lot from this book and laughed a lot too."
– Rosamund Young, author of The Secret Life of Cows
"Stylishly locates the importance of the cow in absolutely everything from finance [...] to future food. [A] first-prize rosette for this paean to the wonderful cow, Man's other best friend."
– John Lewis-Stempel, Country Life
"A lyrical and evocative book"
– Daily Express
"No cow could ever hope for a better appreciation of its truly unique worth."
– Betty Fussell, author of Raising Steaks: The Life and Times of American Beef
"An epic story told with warmth, wit and humanity. Will make us feel differently about these long-suffering animals."
– Graham Harvey, author of Grass-Fed Nation
"While this book focuses on UK farming, there is plenty of information that can be appreciated regarding the cow, no matter where one is from."