Breeds of Cattle is a large volume (12 x 12 x 1.5 inches) of nearly 400 pages weighing some 3.4kg (8 pounds). It gives expansive information of 45 breeds, 12 more breeds than in the previous edition.
Split into beef and dairying sections, each breed is showcased with a full-size picture - either painting or photograph - of both a bull and a cow. These images represent the breed's ideals, plus there are many additional images from each respective breed's history. In total there are more than 400 pictures throughout the book.
The accompanying text discusses each breed's development in detail, the characteristics and physical description of the animal, and statistics from the breed. This gives information on the geographical distribution of the breed, and other interesting facts.
The development and evolution of each breed provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of cattle breeding.
Contact information including website addresses is given for the associations representing each breed around the world. The book itself has been endorsed by the US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture and Animal Science Departments of several major universities, cattle breed associations, and top cattle producers across the US.
But don't think it's all dry descriptions and factual information to numb your brain - quite the opposite.
The late Herman Purdy chose the book's format, because, he says, he'd resisted for 20 years various requests to write a textbook, and after teaching from textbooks for some 30 years, he figured too few people actually wanted to read them. "Books should be a pleasure visually," he said.
This book has achieved Purdy's original aim and more. As well as being a very useful addition as a reference work, it will be treasured by those who own it, and collectors are bound to see it appreciate in value.