Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler
I read Goat Song by Brad Kessler about two years ago, before I started this website, so I never did mention it here — and I really must. It’s a truly wonderful book, and I highly recommend it.
Kessler’s writing is simply beautiful; the book both tells the story of the goat song and is, itself, a song dedicated to goats. He describes the connection with nature, history, and yourself that raising goats provides, noting that throughout time, goats have been the subjects of many legends and stories, always “helping humans or leading them to unexpected places.”
“If you follow living beings assiduously in the field, or through the lens of a microscope,” writes Kessler, “they lead you to an understanding of their lives, and all life. They usher you into a kind of Eden.”
There were just a *few* tangents I could have done without in the book, parts I thought started to veer quite widely from where I wanted the book to go, but I can appreciate the symbolism of this as herding certainly lends itself to meandering.
I get an overwhelming sensation of calm just writing about this book, and so I highly recommend Goat Song to goat lovers as well as to anyone who enjoys the concept of a simpler life, being in Thoreau-like tune with nature, and/or meditation.
You can read an interview with Brad Kessler at The Fourth River, listen to him talk about herding goats (the “real” oldest profession in the world) at On Point with Tom Ashbrook, and read an excerpt of Goat Song at Simon & Schuster.
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