This is the first of several book overviews I plan to do on ox related books. I am in no way a literary critic, but I thought people might benefit from a brief description so as to know what to expect from a particular book.
Oxen..A Teamster’s Guide is the latest book on oxen by Drew Conroy. I suspect very few people, if anyone, has spent as much time studying oxen, their history, and their use as Drew. I am certain that no one else has written so much on the subject. What’s more, he is, himself, a Devon man. I have heard this book frequently referred to as the “ox bible”. If such a thing exists, then this is it. It’s just shy of three hundred pages broken up into no less than nineteen chapters covering such subjects as history, health, hoof care, training, housing, equipment, working, and international development to name a few. Its pages are full of informative pictures and illustrations. It also includes three appendices covering breeds, yoke and bow sizes, and nutrition. I thought I had heard just about every ox term at one point or another, but the glossary had a number of them that proved me wrong. A great touch to the book is the “On The Farm” pages where Drew gives a personal account of particular teamsters that he has met in his extensive travels. It doesn’t hurt that page seventy-seven is committed to my father! On the back cover the book is labeled in big bold letters, “OPERATING MANUAL FOR THE MIGHTY OX” and that is just what it is. If you are interested in oxen then this is a must read.