Review: A great local book for Christmas

Published: Tuesday 9th December 2014 by Paul Nickerson - Writer

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From Pushchair to Ploughshare is probably the wrong name for this book by retired farmer and serial entrepreneur, John Taylor.

It should be called ’An optimist’s guide to life’. Because it’s a heart-warming tale of a life well lived, and of a man who finds strength enough to get through some of life’s darkest times.

The book centres around John’s life in rural Ganstead, East Yorkshire. After a wartime stay in Nidderdale, John’s farming roots were established at an early age.

Throughout the rest of his life, John’s many ventures, businesses and enterprises all have a farming connection. They include the UK’s first online agricultural auction system, created long before the World Wide Web.

The book is packed full of characters, adventures and more than the usual ups and downs. Central to John’s story is the tragic loss of his young son in a farming accident – a subject that took him nearly a decade to be able to record here in his book.

As a memoir of rural life in East Yorkshire, it’s an important work.

After this, his business ran into trouble and his marriage ended. It’s a dark passage; courageously written and thoughtfully recorded.

Eventually John found a way through and the ability to take stock and realise that life doesn’t stand still, and the only way to move on, is to accept.

We’re lucky that he did, because although his painful account is heart-breaking, in sharing it, John offers counsel to all those who sometimes feel that the World is too strong.

In many ways, From Pushchair to Ploughshare is a classic story of  a ‘man finding his compass’,  but the immediacy of the many local references gives it  a unique value as a stand-out tale in it’s own right.


An important work: Local author John Taylor.

On top of human insight, you get a detailed social history of the mid and late Twentieth Century, with references that will delight the nostalgic, and educate a generation who don’t realise just how much the World has changed in John’s lifetime.

The book is a first for the Author, but it settles into a relaxed writing style which is pleasing to read. The language is thoughtfully restrained and there is evidence of some serious story telling talent. As a personal testimony it goes beyond touching and provides insight. As a memoir of rural life in East Yorkshire and the wider UK it is an important work.

John is now retired from farming and married to his second wife Irene. By all accounts of their honeymoon on The Orient Express, Irene has made John one very happy, fulfilled and gracious man.

We would highly recommend this book to a wide audience.

From Pushchair to Ploughshare
Author: John Taylor
Published by: Clio
Available online from
Our verdict: 4/5

Published: Tuesday 9th December 2014 by Paul Nickerson - Writer

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