All Creatures Great and Small

All Creatures Great and Small

by James Herriot


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The classic multimillion copy bestseller

Delve into the magical, unforgettable world of James Herriot, the world's most beloved veterinarian, and his menagerie of heartwarming, funny, and tragic animal patients.

For over forty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot's marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.

In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. Some visits are heart-wrenchingly difficult, such as one to an old man in the village whose very ill dog is his only friend and companion, some are lighthearted and fun, such as Herriot's periodic visits to the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo who throws parties and has his own stationery, and yet others are inspirational and enlightening, such as Herriot's recollections of poor farmers who will scrape their meager earnings together to be able to get proper care for their working animals. From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth.

James Herriot's memoirs have sold 80 million copies worldwide, and continue to delight and entertain readers of all ages.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250057839
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 05/06/2014
Series: All Creatures Great and Small Series , #1
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 19,243
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

JAMES HERRIOT was a veterinarian in Yorkshire, England for over half a century until his death in 1995. His bestselling memoirs include 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.

Read an Excerpt

All Creatures Great and Small

By James Herriot


Copyright © 1972 James Herriot
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-2790-9


They didn't say anything about this in the books, I thought, as the snow blew in through the gaping doorway and settled on my naked back.

I lay face down on the cobbled floor in a pool of nameless muck, my arm deep inside the straining cow, my feet scrabbling for a toe hold between the stones. I was stripped to the waist and the snow mingled with the dirt and the dried blood on my body. I could see nothing outside the circle of flickering light thrown by the smoky oil lamp which the farmer held over me.

No, there wasn't a word in the books about searching for your ropes and instruments in the shadows; about trying to keep clean in a half bucket of tepid water; about the cobbles digging into your chest. Nor about the slow numbing of the arms, the creeping paralysis of the muscles as the fingers tried to work against the cow's powerful expulsive efforts.

There was no mention anywhere of the gradual exhaustion, the feeling of futility and the little far-off voice of panic.

My mind went back to that picture in the obstetrics book. A cow standing in the middle of a gleaming floor while a sleek veterinary surgeon in a spotless parturition overall inserted his arm to a polite distance. He was relaxed and smiling, the farmer and his helpers were smiling, even the cow was smiling. There was no dirt or blood or sweat anywhere.

That man in the picture had just finished an excellent lunch and had moved next door to do a bit of calving just for the sheer pleasure of it, as a kind of dessert. He hadn't crawled shivering from his bed at two o'clock in the morning and bumped over twelve miles of frozen snow, staring sleepily ahead till the lonely farm showed in the headlights. He hadn't climbed half a mile of white fell-side to the doorless barn where his patient lay.

I tried to wriggle my way an extra inch inside the cow. The calf's head was back and I was painfully pushing a thin, looped rope towards its lower jaw with my finger tips. All the time my arm was being squeezed between the calf and the bony pelvis. With every straining effort from the cow the pressure became almost unbearable, then she would relax and I would push the rope another inch. I wondered how long I would be able to keep this up. If I didn't snare that jaw soon I would never get the calf away. I groaned, set my teeth and reached forward again.

Another little flurry of snow blew in and I could almost hear the flakes sizzling on my sweating back. There was sweat on my forehead too, and it trickled into my eyes as I pushed.

There is always a time at a bad calving when you begin to wonder if you will ever win the battle. I had reached this stage.

Little speeches began to flit through my brain. "Perhaps it would be better to slaughter this cow. Her pelvis is so small and narrow that I can't see a calf coming through," or "She's a good fat animal and really of the beef type, so don't you think it would pay you better to get the butcher?" or perhaps "This is a very bad presentation. In a roomy cow it would be simple enough to bring the head round but in this case it is just about impossible."

Of course, I could have delivered the calf by embryotomy—by passing a wire over the neck and sawing off the head. So many of these occasions ended with the floor strewn with heads, legs, heaps of intestines. There were thick text books devoted to the countless ways you could cut up a calf.

But none of it was any good here, because this calf was alive. At my furthest stretch I had got my finger as far as the commissure of the mouth and had been startled by a twitch of the little creature's tongue. It was unexpected because calves in this position are usually dead, asphyxiated by the acute flexion of the neck and the pressure of the dam's powerful contractions. But this one had a spark of life in it and if it came out it would have to be in one piece.

I went over to my bucket of water, cold now and bloody, and silently soaped my arms. Then I lay down again, feeling the cobbles harder than ever against my chest. I worked my toes between the stones, shook the sweat from my eyes and for the hundredth time thrust an arm that felt like spaghetti into the cow; alongside the little dry legs of the calf, like sandpaper tearing against my flesh, then to the bend in the neck and so to the ear and then, agonisingly, along the side of the face towards the lower jaw which had become my major goal in life.

It was incredible that I had been doing this for nearly two hours; fighting as my strength ebbed to push a little noose round that jaw. I had tried everything else—repelling a leg, gentle traction with a blunt hook in the eye socket, but I was back to the noose.

It had been a miserable session all through. The farmer, Mr. Dinsdale, was a long, sad, silent man of few words who always seemed to be expecting the worst to happen. He had a long, sad, silent son with him and the two of them had watched my efforts with deepening gloom.

But worst of all had been Uncle. When I had first entered the hillside barn I had been surprised to see a little bright-eyed old man in a pork pie hat settling down comfortably on a bale of straw. He was filling his pipe and clearly looking forward to the entertainment.

"Now then, young man," he cried in the nasal twang of the West Riding. "I'm Mr. Dinsdale's brother. I farm over in Listondale."

I put down my equipment and nodded. "How do you do? My name is Herriot."

The old man looked me over, piercingly. "My vet is Mr. Broomfield. Expect you'll have heard of him—everybody knows him, I reckon. Wonderful man, Mr. Broomfield, especially at calving. Do you know, I've never seen 'im beat yet."

I managed a wan smile. Any other time I would have been delighted to hear how good my colleague was, but somehow not now, not now. In fact, the words set a mournful little bell tolling inside me.

"No, I'm afraid I don't know Mr. Broomfield," I said, taking off my jacket and, more reluctantly, peeling my shirt over my head. "But I haven't been around these parts very long."

Uncle was aghast. "You don't know him! Well you're the only one as doesn't. They think the world of him in Listondale, I can tell you." He lapsed into a shocked silence and applied a match to his pipe. Then he shot a glance at my goose-pimpled torso. "Strips like a boxer does Mr. Broomfield. Never seen such muscles on a man."

A wave of weakness coursed sluggishly over me. I felt suddenly leaden-footed and inadequate. As I began to lay out my ropes and instruments on a clean towel the old man spoke again.

"And how long have you been qualified, may I ask?"

"Oh, about seven months."

"Seven months!" Uncle smiled indulgently, tamped down his tobacco and blew out a cloud of rank, blue smoke. "Well, there's nowt like a bit of experience, I always says. Mr. Broomfield's been doing my work now for over ten years and he really knows what he's about. No, you can 'ave your book learning. Give me experience every time."

I tipped some antiseptic into the bucket and lathered my arms carefully. I knelt behind the cow.

"Mr. Broomfield always puts some special lubricating oils on his arms first," Uncle said, pulling contentedly on his pipe. "He says you get infection of the womb if you just use soap and water."

I made my first exploration. It was the burdened moment all vets go through when they first put their hand into a cow. Within seconds I would know whether I would be putting on my jacket in fifteen minutes or whether I had hours of hard labour ahead of me.

I was going to be unlucky this time; it was a nasty presentation. Head back and no room at all; more like being inside an undeveloped heifer than a second calver. And she was bone dry—the "waters" must have come away from her hours ago. She had been running out on the high fields and had started to calve a week before her time; that was why they had had to bring her into this half-ruined barn. Anyway, it would be a long time before I saw my bed again.

"Well now, what have you found, young man?" Uncle's penetrating voice cut through the silence. "Head back, eh? You won't have much trouble, then. I've seen Mr. Broomfield do 'em like that—he turns calf right round and brings it out back legs first."

I had heard this sort of nonsense before. A short time in practice had taught me that all farmers were experts with other farmers' livestock. When their own animals were in trouble they tended to rush to the phone for the vet, but with their neighbours' they were confident, knowledgeable and full of helpful advice. And another phenomenon I had observed was that their advice was usually regarded as more valuable than the vet's. Like now, for instance; Uncle was obviously an accepted sage and the Dinsdales listened with deference to everything he said.

"Another way with a job like this," continued Uncle, "is to get a few strong chaps with ropes and pull the thing out, head back and all."

I gasped as I felt my way around. "I'm afraid it's impossible to turn a calf completely round in this small space. And to pull it out without bringing the head round would certainly break the mother's pelvis."

The Dinsdales narrowed their eyes. Clearly they thought I was hedging in the face of Uncle's superior knowledge.

And now, two hours later, defeat was just round the corner. I was just about whacked. I had rolled and grovelled on the filthy cobbles while the Dinsdales watched me in morose silence and Uncle kept up a non-stop stream of comment. Uncle, his ruddy face glowing with delight, his little eyes sparkling, hadn't had such a happy night for years. His long trek up the hillside had been repaid a hundredfold. His vitality was undiminished; he had enjoyed every minute.

As I lay there, eyes closed, face stiff with dirt, mouth hanging open, Uncle took his pipe in his hand and leaned forward on his straw bale. "You're about beat, young man," he said with deep satisfaction. "Well, I've never seen Mr. Broomfield beat but he's had a lot of experience. And what's more, he's strong, really strong. That's one man you couldn't tire."

Rage flooded through me like a draught of strong spirit. The right thing to do, of course, would be to get up, tip the bucket of bloody water over Uncle's head, run down the hill and drive away; away from Yorkshire, from Uncle, from the Dinsdales, from this cow.

Instead, I clenched my teeth, braced my legs and pushed with everything I had; and with a sensation of disbelief I felt my noose slide over the sharp little incisor teeth and into the calf's mouth. Gingerly, muttering a prayer, I pulled on the thin rope with my left hand and felt the slipknot tighten. I had hold of that lower jaw.

At last I could start doing something. "Now hold this rope, Mr. Dinsdale, and just keep a gentle tension on it. I'm going to repel the calf and if you pull steadily at the same time, the head ought to come round."

"What if the rope comes off?" asked Uncle hopefully.

I didn't answer. I put my hand in against the calf's shoulder and began to push against the cow's contractions. I felt the small body moving away from me. "Now a steady pull, Mr. Dinsdale, without jerking." And to myself, "Oh God, don't let it slip off."

The head was coming round. I could feel the neck straightening against my arm, then the ear touched my elbow. I let go the shoulder and grabbed the little muzzle. Keeping the teeth away from the vaginal wall with my hand, I guided the head till it was resting where it should be, on the fore limbs.

Quickly I extended the noose till it reached behind the ears. "Now pull on the head as she strains."

"Nay, you should pull on the legs now," cried Uncle.

"Pull on the bloody head rope, I tell you!" I bellowed at the top of my voice and felt immediately better as Uncle retired, offended, to his bale.

With traction the head was brought out and the rest of the body followed easily. The little animal lay motionless on the cobbles, eyes glassy and unseeing, tongue blue and grossly swollen.

"It'll be dead. Bound to be," grunted Uncle, returning to the attack.

I cleared the mucus from the mouth, blew hard down the throat and began artificial respiration. After a few pressures on the ribs, the calf gave a gasp and the eyelids flickered. Then it started to inhale and one leg jerked.

Uncle took off his hat and scratched his head in disbelief. "By gaw, it's alive. I'd have thowt it'd sure to be dead after you'd messed about all that time." A lot of the fire had gone out of him and his pipe hung down empty from his lips.

"I know what this little fellow wants," I said. I grasped the calf by its fore legs and pulled it up to its mother's head. The cow was stretched out on her side, her head extended wearily along the rough floor. Her ribs heaved, her eyes were almost closed; she looked past caring about anything. Then she felt the calf's body against her face and there was a transformation; her eyes opened wide and her muzzle began a snuffling exploration of the new object. Her interest grew with every sniff and she struggled on to her chest, nosing and probing all over the calf, rumbling deep in her chest. Then she began to lick him methodically. Nature provides the perfect stimulant massage for a time like this and the little creature arched his back as the coarse papillae on the tongue dragged along his skin. Within a minute he was shaking his head and trying to sit up.

I grinned. This was the bit I liked. The little miracle. I felt it was something that would never grow stale no matter how often I saw it. I cleaned as much of the dried blood and filth from my body as I could, but most of it had caked on my skin and not even my finger nails would move it. It would have to wait for the hot bath at home. Pulling my shirt over my head, I felt as though I had been beaten for a long time with a thick stick. Every muscle ached. My mouth was dried out, my lips almost sticking together.

A long, sad figure hovered near. "How about a drink?" asked Mr. Dinsdale.

I could feel my grimy face cracking into an incredulous smile. A vision of hot tea well laced with whisky swam before me. "That's very kind of you, Mr. Dinsdale, I'd love a drink. It's been a hard two hours."

"Nay," said Mr. Dinsdale looking at me steadily, "I meant for the cow."

I began to babble. "Oh yes, of course, certainly, by all means give her a drink. She must be very thirsty. It'll do her good. Certainly, certainly, give her a drink."

I gathered up my tackle and stumbled out of the barn. On the moor it was still dark and a bitter wind whipped over the snow, stinging my eyes. As I plodded down the slope, Uncle's voice, strident and undefeated, reached me for the last time.

"Mr. Broomfield doesn't believe in giving a drink after calving. Says it chills the stomach."


It was hot in the rickety little bus and I was on the wrong side where the July sun beat on the windows. I shifted uncomfortably inside my best suit and eased a finger inside the constricting white collar. It was a foolish outfit for this weather but a few miles ahead, my prospective employer was waiting for me and I had to make a good impression.

There was a lot hanging on this interview; being a newly qualified veterinary surgeon in this year of 1937 was like taking out a ticket for the dole queue. Agriculture was depressed by a decade of government neglect, the draught horse which had been the mainstay of the profession was fast disappearing. It was easy to be a prophet of doom when the young men emerging from the colleges after a hard five years' slog were faced by a world indifferent to their enthusiasm and bursting knowledge. There were usually two or three situations vacant in the Record each week and an average of eighty applicants for each one.

It hadn't seemed true when the letter came from Darrowby in the Yorkshire Dales. Mr. Siegfried Farnon M.R.C.V.S. would like to see me on the Friday afternoon; I was to come to tea and if we were mutually suited I could stay on as assistant. I had grabbed at the lifeline unbelievingly; so many friends who had qualified with me were unemployed or working in shops or as labourers in the shipyards that I had given up hope of any other future for myself.


Excerpted from All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. Copyright © 1972 James Herriot. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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All Creatures Great and Small 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 150 reviews.
AustynL More than 1 year ago
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.
ChrislynD More than 1 year ago
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.
songbirdsue More than 1 year ago
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.
ANIMALOVER93 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book but it made me cry.
Austin_E More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Makes me think of my grandfather, also a vet in the country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is oone the most amazing books i have ever read and i love it
Charlie_C More than 1 year ago
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.
Nick_R More than 1 year ago
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.
Kamy_A More than 1 year ago
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.
KerryKate More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
hugergamesfan_26 More than 1 year ago
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.
MatthewY More than 1 year ago
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.
-mels More than 1 year ago
Olalaa ! je suis tres content parce-que c'est livre est magnifique!
lovestoreadLC More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
zoobi More than 1 year ago
All Creatures Great and Small is the first in a series of books written by the author James Herriot about his life as a veterinarian in the Yorkshire dales. Set in the fictitious town of Darrowby, the book begins with Herriot arriving for an interview with Siegfried Farnon for a job as an assistant veterinarian. Farnon, a charming bachelor of mature years, is described as a temperamental boss with a warm heart. Herriot is given the job and is invited to stay in Farnon's home - Skeldale House-which also doubles up as the veterinary clinic. This first volume records Herriot's experiences with the farmers who are reticent yet are extremely warm and generous once familiarity develops. Siegfried's brother, Tristan, arrives at Skeldale House on a study break from veterinary school and becomes a part of daily life in Darrowby. Being of a carefree nature, he is the cause of some comic mishaps and confrontations with Siegfried. Herriot also describes falling in love with a local girl, Helen, who complements his shy, diffident nature. The first volume ends with his marriage to Helen. Set in the days preceding world war II, one gets an insight into the tough lives of farmers in the dales. Herriot is enchanted by the wild beauty of the countryside and enjoys every minute of his existence in Yorkshire. He describes his successes and failures with ease lending us a sense of deja vu with regards to our own similar emotional experiences. The relationship between him and Siegfried is one of mutual respect developing into a strong friendship. One gets the sense of bonhomie and camaraderie between Siegfried, Tristan and Herriot. He beautifully captures the Yorkshire accent in his narration in the book. This is a book that can be read at any time by children and adults alike.
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I was young I wanted to be an author and a vet when I grew up. Knowing this, my parents introduced me to the writing of James Herriot, who was both. Later I decided that having to fiddle with animal innards everyday is not the same as owning pets and I veered more towards the writing side of my ambitions, but it never affected my love for Herriot¿s writing. I¿d already read his collections, Dog Stories, Animal Stories and Cat Stories and some of the tales in those volumes are drawn from this book. But they¿re such sweet tales that it was a pleasure to re-read them. This memoir, the first in the series, introduces us to James Herriot, a Scottish vet working in rural England in the first half of the 20th century. His writing has a wonderful warm feeling. He can find the humor in any situation, while at the same time understanding the seriousness of others. He manages to portray the bittersweet nature of his job with an admirable sincerity, never deriding his clients¿ love of their animals and treating each case with the utmost importance. I love reading Herriot¿s funny stories about his early days as a vet. Each one is told with a dry British sense of humor. Some of them are a bit too detailed (talking about the animal procedures) and make me squeamish, but that¿s to be expected and it¿s always relevant info. His descriptions of the stoic farmers and eccentric partners are a constant source of amusement throughout the book. I found myself wishing that the book wouldn¿t end, which is a rare thing.
pwinn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Herriot's first book, an autobiographical collection of stories recalling his life as a large-animal vet, is charming. He went on to write several more books on the same theme, and while some of them were more thematically unified, All Creatures Great and Small bounces around a little, and I think it benefits from the lighter touch.It's a classic, and well worth reading whether you love animals or not. You might even find yourself enjoying animals a bit more by the end!
edwardsgt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'd forgotten how entertaining these stories are until someone gave me this for Xmas. Although I'd seen many of the classic TV series with Christopher Timothy, Robert Hardy and Peter Davison and read odd extracts I'd never read this edition in its entirety. Well worth reading even if you've seen the TV programmes or film.
ASBiskey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While visiting my parents, I needed something to read. Perusing their shelves, I came upon All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot and decided to start it, as I have a copy at home to continue with when I left. I have read all of the All Creatures Great and Small books in the past and watched the BBC program while growing up, so I didn¿t expect to be surprised. Even with my prior experience with the series, rereading this book was still one of the most satisfying reads I have had in quite some time. This book is brilliant. It sparkles with humor. Birth, life, love, and death are all woven together within the stories in a tender, humorous manner. I would recommend this book to anyone of any age. I cannot praise it enough.
milti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Omg, I love, love, LOVE Herriot!! If you love animals and think they have personalities and are unique, you'll love Herriot.