Book Overview: In Praise of Oxen

My original intent in doing book overviews was to try to help people be more confident in their ox related book buying decisions by giving a brief description and to categorize the book as either a practical guide or more of a history book.  Well this book has a lot of history in it but it isn’t a history book full of dates and time lines.  If you try, you could glean some practical advice from it but I wouldn’t call it a practical guide.  I don’t know how to categorize it other than to call it just plain beautiful!  It has just over one hundred pages and all but a handful contain at least one beautiful picture of fine Nova Scotia head yoked oxen and many contain several.  Most of the pictures, taken by Terry James, are accompanied by quotes taken from interviews with various teamsters.  The quotes make you feel like your eavesdropping on a couple of old teamsters regaling each other about their teams of yesterday and how it was in their heyday   The book could easily stand on its own with just the fantastic pictures, and insightful quotes but it does include some text, written by Frances Anderson, colorfully explaining the history and culture of oxen and their teamsters in Nova Scotia.  The book is broken up into acknowledgments, preface, introduction, and just three chapters including “EVERYBODY HAD OXEN”, “THEM TIMES, THE CATTLE WAS WORKED”, and “THE CATTLE DO DRAW A CROWD”.  This book is like no other.  It won’t help you with any training problems and it won’t fill you with bunch of historical facts to expand your ox knowledge but it will certainly entertain you and will likely inspire you!

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