Synopses & Reviews
She is everywhere: as a vehicle for both farmers and advertisers, a subject for research scientists and poets, and ever-present in the form of lucky charms, children's toys, or simply as a tasty sandwich-filler. The female of the bovine species is revered as sacred or reviled as stupid, but one thing she never inspires is indifference. After more than ten thousand years living alongside us, she remains a beguiling mystery. Combining a myriad of richly entertaining anecdotes and an abundance of illuminating discoveries, Florian Werner presents the curious cultural history of that most intriguing of animals: the cow.
Since evolving from the aurochs, an ungulate that grazed the Persian grasslands, the cow has embedded itself into virtually all aspects of our lives. Cow is the first book to look at the animal in its countless manifestations in cultures around the world. Werner examines cows' role in commerce as an early form of currency and their place on our plates and in our stomachs in the form of meat and dairy products. Florian Werner examines how cows are worshipped in some circles, such as in Hindu mythology, and abhorred in others, today being vilified as an agent of climate change. And he waxes philosophic about the significance of the cow's rumination and cud chewing, as well as her simple but meaningful moo.
Combining thorough research with an accessible writing style, Florian Werner offers readers an eye-opening perspective on this commodified animal, whose existence is inextricably intertwined with ours and which we too often take for granted.
"Werner's book tells the story of what cows have meant to people, what we say about them, and what that says about us. His sources range from the Hindu Vedas, to Roland Barthes, to Gary Larson, and he manages to arrange their diverse voices into a compelling, if peculiar, conversation. The book covers the more obvious aspects of 'cowness' from milk, to beef, to their sacredness or lack thereof as well as some unexpected surprises, such as an extended consideration of the mournful implications of mooing and brief (but thoroughly distressing) exposÃ©s on bovine erotica. Werner's background as a literary scholar manifests itself in careful interpretations of myths, poems, and idioms some compelling and others a bit far-flung. Nevertheless, the book presents a fascinating and detailed picture of the universe of the cow, and the pleasures of discovering that St. Augustine likened the work of memory to the way 'cattle bring up food from the stomach when they chew the cud' more than make up for the occasional logical stretch. Cows, Werner (Rapocalypse) insists, are full of more than burgers and milk and methane. They are loaded with centuries of art, poetry, and philosophy, and this book provides an engaging tour of their pasture. Illus. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Journalist and author Florian Werner
studied American, British, and German literature and has published a number of books in Germany including the non-fiction book Rapocalypse
, a study of millenarianist HipHop lyrics, and Dark Matter: The History of S**t
, a cultural history of human excrement. When he is not writing, he tours with his band, Fand#246;n, and plays soccer for the German national team of writers' Autonama. Werner lives in Berlin.
Dr. Temple Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities, a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and an accomplished author. In 2010, Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people.
A linguist by training, Doris Ecker is a full-time translator and writer based in Vancouver.