Pastoral Song: A Farmer's Journey (Hardcover)

Pastoral Song: A Farmer's Journey Cover Image
$28.99
Usually Ships in 1-5 Days

Description


The acclaimed chronicle of the regeneration of one family's traditional English farm

NATIONAL BESTSELLER * Winner of the Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing * Named "Nature Book of the Year" by the Sunday Times * New York Times Editors' Choice * Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize * A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: Sunday Times, Financial Times, New Statesman, Independent, Telegraph, Observer, and Daily Mail

"Superbly written and deeply insightful, the book captivates the reader until the journey’s end.” — Wall Street Journal

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

As a boy, James Rebanks's grandfather taught him to work the land the old way. Their family farm in England's 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.]

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. He is the author of The Shepherd's Life.

Praise For…


"Superbly written and deeply insightful, the book captivates the reader until the journey’s end. ... Pastoral Song is a lament for lost traditions, a celebration of a way of living and a reminder that nature is ‘finite and breakable.’ Mr. Rebanks hits all the right notes and deserves to be heard.”
Wall Street Journal, Best of the Month

“Thank the gods of agriculture for James Rebanks. … A lyrical narrative of experience, tracing 40 years and three generations of farming on his family’s land as it is buffeted by the incredible shifts in scale, market, methods and trade rules that have changed farming all over the world. … We experience that esoteric life through Rebanks’s evocative storytelling, learning with him to appreciate not only the sheep and crops he’s learning to tend, but the wild plants and animals that live among and around them.”
New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice

"Rebanks has a gift for capturing both the allure of his beautiful surroundings and his difficult work, and for articulating the complex, worrisome issues facing farmers today. Pastoral Song enchants. ... Urgently conveys how the drive for cheap, mass-produced food has impoverished both small farmers and the soil, threatening humanity's future."
NPR.org, What We're Excited to Read Next Month

"Rebanks, who runs a family-owned farm in England’s Lake District and wrote the 2015 bestseller The Shepherd’s Life, waxes lyrically about his bucolic surroundings while also delivering an eloquent treatise on the problems of modern agriculture."
Washington Post

"Rebanks' lifetime spent farming gives this book its credibility; his sensible tone gives it its power. And his eloquence describing his beloved farm gives it its beauty."
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Remarkable … A brilliant, beautiful book … Eloquent, persuasive and electric with the urgency that comes out of love.”
Sunday Times (London)

“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.”
Blake Morrison, Guardian

“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.”
— Julian Glover, Evening Standard

Pastoral Song is a wonder of a book, fierce, tender, and beautiful. Deeply personal but also global in significance, its pages course with love and concern so palpable I more than once wept while reading it. James Rebanks writes lyrically and passionately of the shadow that has fallen over our relationship with land, and how we might reconfigure the ways we think about it, relate to it, interact with it, and with each other. It’s both a sobering, urgent read and a deeply inspiring, hopeful one. The book, and author, are to be treasured.“
Helen Macdonald, New York Times bestselling author of H is for Hawk

"Rebanks offers a sensible way to think about food and the planet. ... His prose will transport readers, introducing them to both the harsh realities and the joys of everyday life on a piece of land that has deep, personal meaning."
Christian Science Monitor, Best of the Month


Product Details
ISBN: 9780063073272
ISBN-10: 0063073277
Publisher: Custom House
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2021
Pages: 304
Language: English