Pastoral Song: A Farmer's Journey

Category: Book
By (author): Rebanks, James
Subject:  HISTORY / General
  NATURE / Regional
  NON-FICTION / General
  SOCIAL SCIENCE / Agriculture & Food (see also POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Poli
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: August 2021
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 304
Size: 8.25in x 5.50in
Our Price:
$ 35.99
Availability:
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

The Acclaimed International Bestseller * Named "Nature Book of the Year" by the Sunday Times (London) * Shortlisted for the the Orwell Prize and the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize

"A MASTERPIECE. ... A poetic, practical, raw, and almost miraculously detailed picture of this ancient way of life struggling to survive and to be reborn." ―New Statesman

The New York Times bestselling author of The Shepherd's Life chronicles his family's farm in England's Lake District across three generations, revealing through this intimate lens the profound global transformation of agriculture and of the human relationship to the land.

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Sunday Times, Financial Times, New Statesman, Independent, Telegraph, Observer, and Daily Mail

As a boy, James Rebanks's grandfather taught him to work the land the old way. Their family farm in the Lake District hills was part of an ancient agricultural landscape: a patchwork of crops and meadows, of pastures grazed with livestock, and hedgerows teeming with wildlife. And yet, by the time James inherited the farm, it was barely recognizable. The men and women had vanished from the fields; the old stone barns had crumbled; the skies had emptied of birds and their wind-blown song.

Hailed as "a brilliant, beautiful book" by the Sunday Times (London), Pastoral Song (published in the United Kingdom under the title English Pastoral) is the story of an inheritance: one that affects us all. It tells of how rural landscapes around the world were brought close to collapse, and the age-old rhythms of work, weather, community and wild things were lost. And yet this elegy from the northern fells is also a song of hope: of how, guided by the past, one farmer began to salvage a tiny corner of England that was now his, doing his best to restore the life that had vanished and to leave a legacy for the future.

This is a book about what it means to have love and pride in a place, and how, against all the odds, it may still be possible to build a new pastoral: not a utopia, but somewhere decent for us all.

[Published in the United Kingdom as English Pastoral.]

Review Quote*

"Remarkable … A brilliant, beautiful book … Eloquent, persuasive and electric with the urgency that comes out of love."

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"Rapturous … a paean to a more life-enhancing approach to farming … For Rebanks writing and farming have proved complementary: while working long hours on the land he has produced a book in a pastoral tradition that runs from Virgil to Wendell Berry."

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"James Rebanks's fierce, personal description of what has gone wrong with the way we farm and eat, and how we can put it right, gets my vote as the most important book of the year ... Some books change our world. I hope this turns out to be one of them."

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"Lyrical and passionate … I was gripped from the very first paragraph … Rebanks has shone a brilliant light onto a world about which the vast majority of people know little … a cri de coeur for a healthier countryside, rather than a manifesto … a magnificent book."

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"Beautiful and shocking, but ultimately so gloriously hopeful. The book we should all read as we emerge from this latest strangeness."

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"He is eloquent - scenes of mud and guts are interspersed with quotes ranging from Virgil to Schumpeter, Rachel Carson to Wendell Berry … English Pastoral builds into a heartfelt elegy for all that has been lost from our landscape, and a rousing disquisition on what could be regained - a rallying cry for a better future."

Review Quote*

"I have been thrilled by English Pastoral, an account of farming by James Rebanks. A real working farmer, whose own reading runs from Virgil to Schumpeter, he lays out in great detail just what has gone wrong, and what can be done to put it right."

Review Quote*

"This elegy that captures the soul of British farming- its families and their land from which they are indivisible … Rebanks's observations are rich with detail. He writes with a simplicity that hides his scholarship (how many Cumbrian farmers can quote from Virgil's Georgics?) and some passages are right up there with Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie … This is a wonderful book. James Rebanks writes with his heart and his heart is in the right place. We should listen to him."

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"James Rebanks's story of his family's farm is just about perfect.  It belongs with the finest writing of its kind."