Sheep and Man, Hardback Book
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Apart from the dog, the sheep was the first animal domesticated by man (in about 10,000 BC).

This pioneering book on the history of our highly profitable relationship combines evidence from every possible source - anthropology, geography, folklore, linguistics, biology and agriculture.

The interests of scientists, archaeologists, historians - and general readers - are all kept in view.

Wool has been of prime importance throughout man's history, from ancient Babylonia ('Land of Wool') to modern Australia, and a major theme of this book is the author's own research in the variety of fleeces developed by selective breeding.

Never before has the sheep, or indeed any domestic animal, been treated on such a wide chronological and geographical scale.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 856 pages, 365 b/w integrated illustrations
  • Publisher: Duckworth Overlook
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Animals & society
  • ISBN: 9780715636473



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It's true, I haven't read every page yet, but I've read a lot of it. This is an absolutely amazing book about the history of sheep throughout time and around the world. Before it was reissued, I used to get it from interlibrary loan all the time. As soon as Duckworth brought out the new edition, I ordered a copy, despite the price.<br/><br/>Michael Ryder combines clear writing and explanation with original research and notes from his travel into an astonishingly wide-ranging discussion of all aspects of sheep: morphology, archaeology, husbandry practices, breed development, you name it.<br/><br/>This is one of the most comprehensive books on <i>any</i> topic that I have ever seen.<br/><br/>It isn't perfect. If we asked a book this ambitious to be perfect, it would never get written. There's a mention of the crocheted shawls of Shetland (they're knitted). In one instance, Ryder was given some misidentified wool samples (all too easy to have happen); he corrected his assessment in a later publication when he discovered the problem. Other, far more complicated, items that I have researched in depth through other sources have all checked out.<br/><br/><i>Sheep and Man</i> is the first place I go with questions about sheep history, development, and husbandry. Wow, what a book. I'm in awe. Even after many years' acquaintance.<br/><br/>