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All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of an Animal Doctor

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Overview

Twenty years ago, St. Martin's Press published a volume of memoirs by an unknown Scottish veterinarian named James Herriot. Its title was All Creatures Great and Small.

Within a year, the book had become recognized as a masterpiece. In the two decades that have followed, James Herriot has become one of the most universally loved authors of our time.

Now, as we celebrate the publication of Every Living Thing— the country vet's fifth book of ...

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Reprint Good [ No Hassle 30 Day Returns ] [ Edition: Reprint ] Publisher: St. Martin's Press Pub Date: 9/15/1992 Binding: Hardcover Pages: 442.

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All Creatures Great and Small

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Overview

Twenty years ago, St. Martin's Press published a volume of memoirs by an unknown Scottish veterinarian named James Herriot. Its title was All Creatures Great and Small.

Within a year, the book had become recognized as a masterpiece. In the two decades that have followed, James Herriot has become one of the most universally loved authors of our time.

Now, as we celebrate the publication of Every Living Thing— the country vet's fifth book of memoirs— St. Martin's is proud to reissue the book that started it all. Its pages, now as then, are full of humor, warmth, pathos, drama, and James Herriot's unique, richly justified love of life. His journeys across the Yorkshire dales, his encounters with humans and dogs, cows and kittens are illumined by his infinite fascination and affection, and rendered with all the infectious joy of a born storyteller.

As one reviewer wrote," If you ever loved a friend, human or otherwise, this is the book for you."

One of the most beloved books of our time--the first book of warm tales of the Yorkshire Dales from the kindly animal doctor. A national bestseller and a world treasure.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If there is any justice, All Creatures Great and Small will become a classic of its kind...With seemingly effortless art, this man tells his stories with perfect timing and optimum scale. Many more famous authors could work for a lifetime and not achieve more flawless literary control."—Alfred C. Ames, Chicago Tribune
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312084981
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/1992
  • Series: All Creatures Great and Small Series
  • Edition description: Anniversar
  • Edition number: 20
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.64 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

James Herriot (1916-1995) was the bestselling author of memoirs including All Things Bright and Beautiful, All Things Wise and Wonderful, The Lord God Made Them All, and Every Living Thing. At age 23, Herriot qualified for veterinary practice with the Glasgow Veterinary College, and moved to the town of Thirsk in Yorkshire to work in a rural practice. He would live in, work in, and write about the region for the rest of his life. Though he dreamed for years of writing a book, his veterinary work and his family kept him busy, and he did not start writing until the age of 50. In 1979, he was awarded the title Order of the British Empire (OBE). His veterinary practice in Yorkshire, England, is now tended by his son, Jim Wight.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 121 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(97)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 121 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 9, 2010

    Educational and humorous - a must read for aspiring veterinarians!

    As a teenager in the technical age, I sometimes forget about the hard work that past generations have done. I recently adopted a dog from my local humane society, and I love her very much. When my family and I take her to the veterinarian, I imagine an air condition office with sterile instruments organized in cabinets and large, metal operating tables, but that is not the case for Mr. James Herriot in his memoir All Creatures Great and Small. Fresh out of veterinary school and newly employed at a small private practice, James is unprepared for long drives, unreasonable farmers, and disobedient farm animals and must adapt quickly to life in the Yorkshire countryside. Mr. Herriot's veterinary experiences are not only educational to any aspiring veterinarians, but also quite humorous, as he makes light of the sometimes trying moments of his practice. He shows his dedication to the animals and his practice by putting them first. For instance, James attends a last-minute case of a scouring cow at the cost of a chance to win fifty pounds at the horse races. In addition, just after wedding his wife, they spend their honeymoon testing farm animals for tuberculosis. Through each chapter, I grew more and more connected with James and his life of service. I learned to appreciate the life I have now and not to complain because there always is someone working harder or having a worse day.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    Hey people! Read this:) :)

    Hey people! SERIOUSLY, THIS IS NOT A CHAT ROOM. I AM TIRED OF SEEING " HEY ROBIN, OR HEY FUZZYFACE. I DONT CARE IF YOU NEED TO TALK, GO ON FACEBOOK OR TWITTER. People rely on these reviews and i dought they want to hear about some random person. Now stop with the chatroom stuff. Im in 5 th grade, and i hate seeing this stuff and everybody else does too!

    7 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2011

    For All Animal Lovers!

    When I was a young girl I always wanted to be a veterinarian. I thought that it would be so much fun to be with the animals all day long. The moment I saw All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot I knew it was a book for me. I recommend this book for anyone and everyone who loves animals. In this memoir you get to experience the fun, lighthearted moments James has with his numerous animal clients, like the time he gets a letter from a small dog named Tricki. "Tricki requests the pleasure of Uncle Herriot's company on Friday, February 5th. Drinks and dancing," (111). While reading All Creatures Great and Small you could experience how James felt, especially when he miracurosly saves two twin cows. "Twins are often dead when they're mixed up like that-good job we got them out alive," (359). James Herriot does a wonderful job explaining the hardships and accomplishments he faces as a young vet in Yorkshire, England. Therefore, I would definitely recommend this book to all people who share a love for animals.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    It was fascinating and humorous in places though slow in some p

    It was fascinating and humorous in places though slow in some places as well. It was worth reading, I did enjoy it.

    It was fun to see how a veterinarian practiced so long ago. I also enjoyed the actual stories of cases and how detailed he was on what the ailment was and how he treated them.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    Somewhat Enjoyable Read

    All Creatures Great and Small is a somewhat interesting book. This book has action, tragedy, and is a bit comedic. I found it to bore me a little as I reached the halfway point in the book. The book seems to go on and on forever right until you finish. Being part of a younger generation I didn't find this book to be very fun or action packed like books today. I would recommend this book to people who are older, but not people still in high school. Some parts were appealing to me and got me reading for a while but then as the book slowed down again I felt bored. James Herriot is a young man just out of college. His job sends him to treat from the biggest to smallest of all animals. Along with animals he meets all kind of people with a range of personality. "Tricki request the pleasure of Uncle Herriot's company on Friday February 5th. Drinks and Dancing." (109) James even gets letters from his patients who are overly spoiled by their rich owners. Not only does he get to go to high class parties but gets regular gift baskets from some of his patients, but also gets invited to have dinner from several farmers. Along with being spoiled countless times from countless patients and farmers James experiences very tragic moments in the story. One of the most memorable moments was when James had to put down a dog. The owner of the dog had told James he was his only friend. "The old man was silent, then he said 'Just a minute,' and slowly and painfully knelt down by the side of the dog. He did not speak, but ran his hand again and again over the grey old muzzle and the ears, while the tail thump, thump, thumped on the floor." (75) This was an enjoyable book to read but I don't recommend it to people of a younger age.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Read it thats all im going to say

    This is oone the most amazing books i have ever read and i love it

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Great Book

    This is a great book but it made me cry.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    I loved reading this book and how it just took me away and broug

    I loved reading this book and how it just took me away and brought me to those green hills with beautiful forests. This book is constantly moving while making you laugh or just smile with its humor. This book does require an elevated reading ability to be able to follow the flow of the story. The chapters are usually very short and in each chapter you get immersed in a entirely different story each time, and this is the one part I didn’t like because that made it very hard to be aware of how much time passed throughout the story. But that is the only downfall of the book but a few times the chapters do connect and once you get the hang of how that part works you will be just fine. Also unless you are very familiar with the veterinary practice then you will encounter quite a few terms of different diseases tools and various other things of the sort but do not let that worry you too much because you don’t really have to understand them to enjoy the book, and the book also does a very good job of telling you what is going on in these cases. This book is a great read and I enjoyed reading the book the whole time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    Loved it

    Makes me think of my grandfather, also a vet in the country.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    All Creatures Great and Small

    All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot is a heart-felt book with stunning details and captivating characters. This memoir lures you into the unusual daily life and adventures of this Scottish veterinarian in the Yorkshire dales of England. His career along the countryside encounters a diverse range of animals. Herriot's connection and affection towards the animals are well expressed in this touching memoir. His natural urge to love and care for the animals remind me of my own dog. Having grown-up with a pet to look after for as long as I can remember, my experiences can easily relate to Herriot's feelings towards animals throughout the book. This book intrigued me at first, but later it began to drag on to an almost pointless and dull storyline. There was not as much interest and excitement as I had expected and the chapters soon became almost predictable. However, there were occasional chapters which caught my attention with its ability to allow the reader to picture the vivid scene and actions. James Herriot does a spectacular job describing the characters in his memoir with remarkable detail and imagery. "The dog did not move as the needle was inserted, and, as the barbiturate began to flow into the vein, the anxious expression left his face and the muscles began to relax. By the time the injection was finished, the breathing had stopped" (75). This brilliant imagery from Herriot's memoir describes him euthanizing an ill dog. Though the story seemed to be redundant, by the end of the story, the characters' personalities and experiences would have all come to life. "This is the end. You're sacked, do you hear me? Sacked once and for all. So get out of here- I don't want to see you around anymore. Go on, get out!" (41) Herriot is able to assist the reader in picturing the tense relationship between Tristan, who is Siegfried's brother, and Siegfried, Herriot's employer. Herriot connects certain chapters with a common theme such as the arguments and lectures from Siegfried to Tristan. This book is appropriate for all ages and I recommend this memoir to those who are interested in becoming a veterinarian. All Creatures Great and Small opens a greater range of perspectives towards veterinarian practices.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    An Inspiring memoir

    The memoir, All Creatures Great and Small, is a surprisingly interesting life story of a veterinarian in rural England. Most of us work in offices or labs, and whenever we go to the vet, we are in a clean, sterile environment: a hospital. Yorkshire is very different from the vet hospitals that we know. James Herriot thinks back on this several times throughout his book, and most of these times he is helping a cow or horse give birth. In our textbooks, everything looks so easy and clean, but in the real world, it gets down and dirty. James discovers this very early on, as countless farmers and animals strive to make his job more difficult. I like this book because I can really see these things happening. It is not so far-fetched that I cannot believe it, but still different enough from daily life that it is interesting. I especially like the quote: "If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are a lot better off than humans." (270) James says this while comforting an old lady when her dog dies. Another thing that I found memorable is a quote here that enhances the fact that every job, no matter how difficult, has its own, special, rewards: "This was my favorite part. The little miracle. The newly born calf was shaking its head and trying to sit up." (7) I really enjoyed reading all about James Herriot's experiences in Yorkshire, England, and I hope that you will too. I would really recommend this book to anyone interested in reading it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    An Animal Lover Like Me

    For an animal lover like myself, the memoir, All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot, automatically caught my attention. The book opens with much excitement, and I was very intrigued by the young man Herriot and his courage to practice his skills in the rural Yorkshire. As the book continues on, the story starts to become uninteresting. I feel its dragging on, with not much grab hold to.
    At times, though, something thrilling pops up, but after that it would go back to the similar dull, uninteresting story. In one particular part of the story, Herriot has to euthanize a man's dog, and has trouble with it. When Herriot tells the man, "He's out of his pain now" (75), I could really relate to it. When my dog died, my mom told me that it wasn't a sad thing, but a good thing, because she isn't suffering anymore. Although the story is a bit boring, the characters are captivating. They make you realize that even in this tough world, there is many great people. It is easy to relate to because you could really feel the connection between the characters, like you would with a friend or anyone else you love. Although the characters are heartwarming, the story has no diversity. In the book, there is a little to none "bad" characters. This makes the story a bit unreal.
    Herriot states,"It wasn't so easy to work out as it seemed; in fact it became increasingly difficult to decide who was getting the most out of their difficult lives"(399). Herriot has some challenging situations, which he has to go through, and throughout the story, many lessons were learned. We all have to keep moving forward, and forget about the past. Also, sometimes we cannot be ready for overwhelming circumstances, even how hard we may try to prepare for it.
    I always wanted to become a veterinarian when I grew up. This memoir showed me what a vet would has to go through, surprising me. I never thought it would be so difficult and intense. I could see that Herriot loved animals, just like I do.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2011

    Interesting and humor filled read; highly recommend this book.

    All Creatures Great and Small was a comforting kind of book; it's filled with these detailed and funny stories about an up-and-coming veterinarian in Yorkshire, along with the crazy people he lives and encounters along the way and funny animals he meets. This book was everything; it was depressing, it was motivating, it was intriguing, it was upsetting. Personally, I would recommend this book to everyone and anyone, providing that you have a great love for God's furry creatures. The themes in this book are also remarkable; passion, courage, determination, and happiness are all major and the way that Herriot incorporates them into this book is phenomenal. The only aspect of this book I didn't much care for was Tristan, and he was just a character in the book I found to be very obnoxious and unhelpful. I found All Creatures Great and Small to be a funny and entertaining novel, and look forward to reading more of James Herriot books. If you are looking for a book that will make you appreciate any animal in your life, or just something funny and interesting to read with deep themes that leave you speech-less, I would highly recommend All Creatures Great and Small. Another book I might recommend, although not by Herriot, is 19 minutes by Jodi Picoult.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2011

    Takes you back to simpler times

    All Creatures Great and Small is a great book about the daily trials of a 1940's vet in the heart of Yorkshire country. James' story begins when he gets a job with a quirky vet and immediately starts helping the country animals of the village and the farms. This story took me back to a simpler time when families sent the vet away with some kind of homemade treat. This story allows you to live his life and share his experiences through his writing.James Herriot shares his successes and failures in a way that makes you feel like you have been sitting, listening to him talk. His descriptions will make you appreciate the tough work all vets do, back then and now. This story truely will warm your heart and make you smile. One thing that I disliked about this book was how repetative it was at times. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves animals and needs to curl up with a good, heartwarming story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2011

    Wounderful Read- Such a Heartwarming Book!

    All Creatures Great and Small, is a heartwarming book, told by a marvelous story teller, James Herriot. The first installment in this moving series tells how Mr. James Herriot became the Yorkshire Dales finest veterinarian. This novel is uplifting and I would recommend it everyone! I am personally not a big fan of animals, but I still adored this book. Each chapter tells of a different adventure that James Herriot had, and everyone of them gave a special insight into what life was like back in the Yorkshire Dales. It took me a while to really get into the book, but after the first few chapters, I was completely captivated with this book. The stories told are so funny and I would find myself chuckling aloud throughout the book. So flowing, creative, and inventive, it is hard to believe that this in a non-fiction novel. It seems like this could be a story told by a very creative author... but no! It is a joyous read based off of real life encounters of a young veterinarian. I not only enjoyed this book for its content, but I enjoyed it due to the fact that is sheds lights on a time and place (the Yorkshire Dales)not often talked about throughout history. After completing this novel, I really wanted to be a veterinarian across the pond in the Yorkshire Dales of England. I intend to read the next few books in this series, in hope of learning more about how James Herriot continued his life and work as such a successful veterinarian.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 10, 2011

    All Things Entertaining and Heartwarming...Are in this Book

    From cows to horses to laughter to miracles, this book contains everything necessary for a good mood book to kick back and read in spare time. Its easy to forget the hardships that people used to have to deal with before technology made everything so much more manageable. Back in the 1940's when this book took place, farming was still the most common means of earning a living especially in little rural towns out in Scotland. With an economy like this, animals were as good, if not better, than money itself so the health of an animal is top priority. This is where James Herriot comes in. James is an up and coming veterinarian aspiring to make it big in the animal medicine field. This book is the tale of his journey from when he lands his first internship until when he finally becomes a partner in the business with his mentor. Herriot tells the story in such a detailed a personal way that it makes it seem as if you are right along side him every step of the way. The stories in this book range from crazy old ladies who treat their dogs as if they were children to stubborn old men that like to blame everything on the vet and there's even a little bit of a love story woven in as well. The overall theme of the book is that persistence and determination will eventually bring good results. It seemed that every time Herriot managed to solve one problem, there was another waiting for him just around the corner, but despite that, Herriot never gave up and it paid off in the end. What I liked most about this book was that it was an autobiography so the detail that Herriot gave was that which could never be replicated by another. The imagery was outstanding and every time I picked up the book I swear I could smell the hay and slop that lay inside the pig pen. The only thing I didn't like very much was that sometimes the story went on and on about parts that weren't extremely exciting and they were hard to get though but the book would pick right back up again after that. I definitely recommend this book and the two sequels, All Things Bright and Beautiful and All things Wise and Wonderful also by James Herriot, to anyone looking for an entertaining story that will capture your heart in a minute and leave you wondering how you read a 450 page book in such a short amount of time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 17, 2010

    A Good Book to Read

    All Creatures Great and Small is a poorly edited book. An obvious typing mistake is on the back cover of the book. It says "THE CLASIC MULTIMILLION-COPY BESTSELLER." Besides typing mistakes, this is a good book. Even though most of this book is about his job as a veterinarian, people who do not like animals may like it since there are a couple chapters about his life outside of his job. If you do not like reading, the book starts to get boring after awhile, because the chapters start to sound alike and become predictable. The book does have great passages and these are what make the book great. One of them tells of when he cut open a cow and his Viking assistant fainted. Another one is about the time when his got thermometer sucked in the cow and he almost had to surgically remove it. Most books about people's jobs are all boring, but this one is an exception. It is interesting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2010

    C'est excellent!

    Olalaa ! je suis tres content parce-que c'est livre est magnifique!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2010

    Adorable and funny!

    The book All Creatures Great and Small is about a kind and very patient country vet, James Herriot, who travels from farm to farm helping farm animals. He encounters troubling sicknesses and trying farmers who think that they know more than him about animals. But yet, Mr. Herriot still prevails in even the toughest situations. I absolutely love this book and suggest it for anyone who likes reading and who loves animals. This book illustrates how special life is and how everything is beautiful in its own way. Herriot continuously marvels at the English countryside sights, and how lucky he is in participating in bringing new life to this world. I like how the book really doesn't have a sense of time but goes from one entertaining story to another. Many of the adventures James Herriot experiences will make you laugh out loud or gasp with shock. One thing I did not like was that sometimes it was a little too descriptive about some of the procedures the vet had to do to help an animal. This is not a book for someone who does not like to hear about feces or animal body parts. All in all, it is a fascinating book that will take you for a fun ride.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2010

    Priceless

    The James Herriot books are absolutely wonderful. When you read his writing, you wish you could have met him before he passed away. These are very absorbing and honest stories about his experiences as a vet in rural England in the 1930's, but even if you know nothing about veterinary medicine or rural England, you can still enjoy these books. They are really about people--his co-workers and the owners of the animals he cares for. Funny (sometimes very funny!), sad, touching--really a little slice of life. And the stories (little vignettes) are only a few pages long, so it's great for bedside or travel reading--easy to find a stopping place. The mass market versions are cheap--you won't be sorry you bought this book! Also make great gifts for animal lovers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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