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Publisher's Summary

An addictively free-ranging survey of the massive impact that the domesticated ungulates of the genus Ovis have had on human history. 

From the plains of ancient Mesopotamia to the rolling hills of medieval England to the vast sheep farms of modern-day Australia, sheep have been central to the human story.  

Starting with our Neolithic ancestors' first forays into sheep-rearing nearly 10,000 years ago, these remarkable animals have fed us, clothed us, changed our diet and languages, helped us to win wars, decorated our homes and financed the conquest of large swathes of the earth. Enormous fortunes and new, society-changing industries have been made from the fleeces of sheep and cities shaped by shepherds' markets and meat trading.  

Sally Coulthard weaves the rich and fascinating story of sheep into a vivid and colourful tapestry, thickly threaded with engaging anecdotes and remarkable ovine facts, whose multiple strands reflect the deep penetration of these woolly animals into every aspect of human society and culture.

©2020 Sally Coulthard (P)2020 Head of Zeus

Critic Reviews

"This book deserves a place in your bookcase next to Harari's Sapiens. It's every bit as fascinating and is surely destined to be just as successful." (Julian Norton) 

What listeners say about A Short History of the World According to Sheep

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a UK/euro-centric bore. struggled to finish

mostly a history of UK wool economy and a history of the victors. colonialism? what colonialism?

2 people found this helpful

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Not bad but could be much better

This book was quite informative but definitely too much focus on UK. As if other countries don’t exist. So many lost opportunities. Narration was not great - whenever she’s quoting anything she changed her voice and is very annoying and completely unnecessary.

1 person found this helpful

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More like Great Britain & Ireland

Not just for wool fans, this book tells how economic history depends on sheep. It’s an enjoyable listen and I appreciated all the details.

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Loved it!

This was so interesting and informative! The voice acting was great, too. I only wish it was longer and had even more detail about non-Western parts of the world. There was some of that, but more would have made it even better.

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A Concise History on Sheep and Their Uses

It may bounce around a lot, but thats what I love about it, If you been interested sheep for awhile this is the book for you.

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  • Cat W
  • 04-20-22

fascinating insight into sheep and anthropology

I found this book absolutely fascinating, listening while spinning. Learned loads and will listen again

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  • Tina
  • 02-18-22

Fascinating stuff beautifully narrated!

Really enjoyed this book and learned a lot more than just about sheep! The narration was perfect for the topic too.

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  • Belinda
  • 05-26-21

Great book!

I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s short, and to the point, with lots of interesting facts. If you are at all interested in wool, fibre arts or a brief history of agriculture, this is a great book to start with.