Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler

Goat Song by Brad KesslerI 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.”

Simply beautiful.

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.

Five hooves out of five!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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4 Responses to “Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, a Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler”
  1. 02.04.2012

    I just finished this book in early January….. I did think it was a very good book, nicely written. I felt he went on just a little too long and into way more detail than necessary re: bucks and their strange natures; and I don’t necessarily agree that you need to completely remove kids from their mothers in order to get milk from them…. many people let the kids stay with their moms until a certain age and then separate them at night and milk in the a.m. Just a little kinder that way 🙂


    michelle Reply:

    I don’t really remember that part to be honest — I read it before we had kids, so I think I need to read it again 🙂


  2. Pete

    So now I have an idea on what book to read next. Thank you for sharing this.


    michelle Reply:

    Thx for reading, Pete; hope you enjoy it!


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Goats that readers have spotted out and about. Send your photos to michelle(at)goatberries(dot)com! 

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Goats in Central Park Zoo, NYC
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Goat on donkey (no not in that way)
Oman goat
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Testa Dura Goat Cheese
Goat at Maine Fiber Frolic 2011