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Cow Paperback – Oct 15 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books (Oct. 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861893264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861893260
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.3 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #445,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The book's design and illustrations are beautiful, which means, I suspect, that Cow will be probably bought most often as a gift--for country lovers, perhaps. . . . Velten has a passion for her subject and it comes across. Her account is sweeping but precisely detailed and subtly persuasive. . . . Look hard at cows and you learn about humans. Fascinating and delightful."
(Carola Groom Financial Times Magazine 2007-11-11)

"The book feels comprehensive despite its size, for Velten's writing is meticulously well researched. . . . She makes fascinating detours into domestication, breeding, art, religion, BSE, stampedes and the rodeo, and the section on African pastoralism is particularly evocative. . . . Velten's passion for the cow works subtly, incrementally becoming the narrative which binds the text together, and her insights into this seminal beast leave us wanting more."
(Patrick Evans Times Literary Supplement 2008-02-08)

"A fascinating paperback . . . A fascinating mix of history, myth and record prices paid for top breeding animals."
(Eastern Daily Press 2007-12-08)

"She aims to help us see the animals that produce beef, milk and leather as mythical and awe inspiring."
(Country Smallholding 2007-11-01)

"Considering the central role that cows have played in cultures around the world, it is remarkable how rarely an author has undertaken to devote an entire book to the complex history of this commendable animal. All the more welcome, therefore, is Hannah Velten's Cow, a brief but eminently readable book positively crammed with every sort of cattle lore."
(Richard Bullie Agricultural History)

About the Author

Hannah Velten is a freelance journalist who has worked as a livestock reporter for Farmers Weekly and has years of experience working with cows and oxen, including on Australian cattle stations and dairy farms in the United Kingdom.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! Nov. 28 2008
By Sue Weaver - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're interested in the history and evolution of the bovine race, this is your book!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A source of milk, leather, traction and meat, but also important as a cultural concept. Feb. 19 2015
By lyndonbrecht - Published on
Format: Paperback
I share the other reviewers' sentiments, but will give a longer list of reasons. Let's start with the fact that Velten is a fine writer who here manages to make cattle a fascinating subject. Then there are the many and excellent illustrations. Then the topic--something as prosaic as cows made into a compelling and fascinating read. Be aware, however, that this is not a book on farming, dairying, or animal agriculture; it's more a cultural analysis of cows, and cattle more generally as features in the human mind--as expressed in fable, story, art, film, painting.

The first portion tracks cattle from the ancestral bovine. Chapter 2 is largely myth and legend, much of it fascinating--the Minotaur and all. The book looks at uses of cattle: milk, traction, leather, meat. It examines different breeds, and cows as symbol of rural idyll. It deals with more, such as rodeos, differing cultural attitudes regarding cattle, and more. There is a great deal of information. Velten also considers industrial agriculture in the production of meat and milk, noting that it's out of sight and out of mind, and the animals are regarded as industrial inputs, not as living beings.
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Bovine Hardcopy July 10 2012
By Blackbull - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well-writ, well-illustrated, good read. Author's only mistake was to believe the corporate cover up of "mad cow disease," which is caused by insecticide residues in contaminated drinking water.