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All Creatures Great and Small (original 1972; edition 2004)

by James Herriot

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4,334671,142 (4.26)150
Member:ktbarnes
Title:All Creatures Great and Small
Authors:James Herriot
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Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:nonfiction, memoir

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All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (1972)

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» See also 150 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
Simply delightful. Not sure what else I can say about it. Herriott's writing is simple and unadorned, but it fits the subject and setting so damn well. ( )
  tlockney | Sep 7, 2014 |
James Herriot's books are, for me, the ultimate in comfort books. Which is odd, it occurred to me while listening to this audiobook; there's blood and gore and uterine explorations and knackerings and death and cruelty… There is casual mention of deeds and practices which would turn PETA's collective hair white. But I've been reading these books since I was about ten. (Which, considering the language, is surprising. Them Yorkshire farmers were salty, mind.) And then there was the wonderful tv series.

That last is what made the audiobook ideal: the reader is Christopher Timothy, who played James in the series (alongside my beloved Peter Davison as Tristan). I think he's one of those I'll follow anywhere, listen to anything he reads. He's perfect. Not just because I know him so well in the role already – he is a warm, funny, compassionate reader, wonderful at the accents and natural in his delivery.

Just like Alf Wight, better known as James Herriot. The things I mentioned before – well, they were simply a part of life on a Yorkshire farm, in a Yorkshire veterinary practice in the first half of the 20th century. It was as it was, there were no better treatments than some of the medieval remedies used, and for the most part animals were well kept because they were vital to the livelihood of their owners. There is a surprising lack of sentiment overall, whether the animal in question is a pig or a puppy, a horse or a heifer.

Which isn't to say the stories are strictly cool and clinical – not by a long mark. Tricki Woo is the perfect embodiment of the series as a whole. The pampered Pekingese "son" of a rich widow, he is a good-natured little furball whose ailments tend to stem mainly from that pampering. And when he goes flop-bott or shows other symptoms which alarm his Mrs. Pumphrey, "Uncle Herriot" is summoned on to the scene at once. The reward for James's promptitude is baskets from London at Christmas (I can't even fathom how expensive that would be, sent all the way to the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930's) along with other periodic delicacies – so James, naturally, has a mercenary fondness for the Peke. But he is also genuinely fond of the dog for his own self, as a personality, and of Mrs. Pumphrey as well. And balancing it all out like a splash of lemon juice is Mrs. Pumphrey's chauffeur, responsible for the spasmodic bouts of exercise she penitently orders, along with the role of body servant to the dog, and he loathes Tricki with a deep and burning passion. (And when the pig Nugent comes along, there is much hilarity.)

So, yes, there is some cringing as we visit the knacker's yard, or when some archaic remedy is brought out. But it merely acts in the same lemon juice fashion on the warmth found in the daily interactions with the farmers and peers and kids with their goldfish, the dogs and cats and horses and pigs and cows and sheep, the slowly disappearing way of life of the Dales farmers. The madness that is the Farnon brothers; the surely-hopeless love James has for a client's daughter – eccentric as it all can be, it still rings true, and that's the key. The book is, to co-opt what they might say about a particularly nice cob, as sound as a bell.

So, whether it should be a comfort book or not, it got me through a particularly bad night recently. The very definition of a comfort book. I love these stories. ( )
  Stewartry | Jul 13, 2014 |
This is one of the first books I’ve read and really thought, here is a non-fiction book for someone who doesn’t read non-fiction. The author, James Herriot, shares tales of his life, with all its’ adventures and mishaps, as a country vet in North Yorkshire, the largest county in England. Like Dewey, this book reminded me very much of the At Home in Mitford series. It’s pleasant. It’s about the mundane, but often wonderful events in someone’s life. It’s a glimpse into a simpler, less busy life than most of us live today. And it’s very much like a particularly articulate and funny friend is telling you stories about their life. So you don’t have to rely on my comparison to the Mitford series, here are two quotes I particularly liked and which give you a good feel for the story:

Read more here... ( )
1 vote DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
This was the first book I read which impacted who I thought I wanted to be when I grew up. I loved this book. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me into a life-long reader. This book made me love literature.

All I can say is THANK YOU James Herriot! ( )
  weisser4 | Jun 3, 2014 |
Disclaimer: I review books on how they stand alone without regards to anyone’s personal views about the author. I review based upon readability and how the book affects my life for good, and less upon literary style.

I recommend this for older teens and up because of the language, and the reference to alcohol use.
However, I love this book, it is very humorous and shows just how intelligent animals really are, and how they have unique personalities. I enjoy the humorous illustration of how Siegfried contradicts himself, but nevertheless, very hands off the way he treats James to let him find his way. I think it is a good example of how a manager can be very effective by giving help when needed, and even advice, but otherwise giving employees lots of room to discover their niche themselves. I also enjoy the way the book shows the benefit of a simple life... which is a great example to us all... to simplify and focus on what is really important, namely family and taking care of what we are responsible for. I enjoy the attitude that James' father-in law views his late wife and how fondly he speaks about her, and has the same views about his daughter, Helen. ( )
  wadehuntpc | Mar 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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James Herriotprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Järvenpää, HeidiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Eddie Straiton with gratitude and affection and Donald and Brian Sinclair, still my friends.
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312965788, Mass Market Paperback)

Take an unforgettable journey through the English countryside and into the homes of its inhabitants-- four-legged and otherwise-- with the world's best-loved animal doctor.

For over 25 years-- since All Creatures Great and Small was first published-- readers have delighted to the storytelling genius of James Herriot, the Yorkshire veterinarian whose fascinating vignettes brim with the wonder of life, animal and human.

Whether struggling mightily to position a calf for birthing, or comforting a lonely old man whose beloved dog and only companion has died, Herriot's heartwarming and often hilarious stories of his first years as a country vet perfectly depict the wonderful relationship between man and animal-- and they intimately portray a man whose humor, compassion , and love of life are truly inspiring.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

An English veterinarian reminisces about his life, career, and animal patients in a small village.

(summary from another edition)

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