- Series: All Creatures Great and Small (Book 1)
- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; New edition edition (May 6, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250057833
- ISBN-13: 978-1250057839
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,015 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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All Creatures Great and Small Paperback – May 6, 2014
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“Absolutely super, a rarity, magnificently written, insightful, unforgettable. . . . If you have ever loved a friend, human or otherwise, this is the book for you.” ―Houston Chronicle
“This warm, joyous and often hilarious first-person chronicle of a young animal doctor . . . shines with love of life.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“One of the funniest and most likeable books around.” ―The Atlantic Monthly
“[Herriot] is the most entertaining, most thoroughly likeable, most engaging person to have come along in a long time, and the stories he has to tell are fascinating.” ―The Washington Post
“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.” ―Chicago Tribune Book World
“Herriot charms because he delights in life, embraces it with sensitivity and gust and writes with grace. All Creatures Great and Small may well be the happiest book of the year.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Absolutely super, a rarity, magnificently written, insightful, unforgettable . . . If you have ever loved a friend, human or otherwise, this is the book for you.” ―Houston Chronicle
“Refreshingly original . . . as close to a novel as a chronicle of memoirs could be . . . hilarious, touching, athletic and warming . . . Dr. Herriot's characters . . . rival any from British fiction.” ―Los Angeles Times
“James Herriot . . . is one of those rare men who know how to appreciate the ordinary . . . a natural storyteller.” ―The New York Times
“Warm, anecdotal . . . All Creature Great and Small makes you feel good about the worried and some of the people in it.” ―San Francisco Chronicle
“What the world needs now, and does every so often, is a warm, G-rated, down-home, unadrenalized prize of a book that sneaks onto the bestseller lists . . . James Herriot's memoirs qualify admirably.” ―Time
“An inspirational book . . . with all its comedy; tragedy, drama, and farce . . . works like a spring tonic: It lifts the spirits and warms the heart . . . There is no advice, no pat formula for better living. There is just Herriot, a man you cannot resist.” ―Chicago Tribune
“Herriot has a real flair for writing and his book is a treat.” ―Publishers Weekly
From the Publisher
Here is the heartwarming true story of Dr. James Herriot, a country veterinarian whose unique courage, warmth, and natural storytelling ability have captured the heart of American in a very special way!
"A classic of its kind...'miraculous' is not too strong a word!" -- Chicago Times Book World
."Warm, joyous, often hilarious... shines with love of life." -- The New York Times Book Review. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is James first book, where he tells about meeting his employer, the area, the people and of course the animals he deals with.
After all the trash we run across daily what a breath of fresh air.
Herriot is a good writer and keeps things moving along..
A word to the wise, do not loan out your James Herriot books they don't find their way back, people like and keep them because they
are so good to read....
I recommend them for all ages, read to those too young to read, those who like animals and someone who needs a lift at the
end of the day...
One also learns of the language of England and the mountain folks...Those of us who have worked around animals most of
our lives really enjoy what James needs to deal with daily..
You have not lived until you have run across a muddy pen wearing big overshoes in 30 degree below zero with a mad cow
blowing snot in your back pocket, nope ..
When I was in high school, I was engrossed in James Herriot. The little stand-alone chapters accumulate into a life-story, making it easy to snatch a chapter in a time-cranny. Attune to Herriot's writing muse, I wrote a short story for a writing contest and promptly won. I am still proud of that story.
Herriot's real name was Al Wight. (You can read about that in his son's biography of him, which is a fascinating insider's view of how Herriot came to his writing gift.) Herriot is a gracious, gentle, gentle spirit (what I call "the 3 G's"). He is a great corrective to the abusive spirit of the day. He writes of a time when an old way of life was giving way to a new world where plow horses were replaced by tractors, and the veterinary business was shifting from large animals to small animals (pets). While his stories revolve around animal care, the real narrative is his penetrating insights into the lives and hearts of the people of Yorkshire. Time and again he contrasts the small-holders and estate owners.
These stories are a delightful and poignant testament to a day that has passed, and yet they remain relevant because human nature does not change. Savor these books... there are only 6 of them.
note: Herriot came out of nowhere with this book. I used to use its opening paragraphs in a writing class to illustrate mastery of the elements of writing. Think about that. His first paragraphs in print as good or better than any I had ever read. When you read that first chapter in "All Creatures Great and Small," notice how many senses are drawn in. It is vivid from the very first, and so human.
The book opens (after a brief chapter taking place several months later) with James arriving in Yorkshire, to be the assistant to the eccentric but kindly Siegfried Farnon (yes, that is his name). He becomes accustomed to Siegfried, Siegfried's mischievous younger brother Tristan (yes, that is his name), and the gruff, kindly farmers who eke out a living in the Yorkshire Dales. Pampered pooches who are spoiled rotten, savage pigs who chase Tristan around the farm, a nightmarishly strict secretary who drives Siegfried up the wall, James's car-with-no-brakes, cows running on three cylinders, a sadistic vet who makes James wear a rubber bodysuit, and an elderly, immensely wealthy widow who adopts a pig. And through this, James falls in love with the beautiful Helen Alderson and worms his way into the trust of the farmers.
James Herriot (real name, James Wight) was truly a one-of-a-kind man. He let readers into his head throughout the book, where the cows kick him across the yard, farmers often treat him as an interloper or a nuisance, and his boss gives contradicting orders from one day to the next. But he never loses his drive or his love of animals. (Okay, he hates some animals, but only as individuals) He even lets the readers see him at his worst, when he's humiliated by some recalcitrant livestock, and one horrible scene where he and his date show up drunk and mud-smeared in front of the girl he adores. (Not to mention when Tristan got him to use very feminine-smelling bath salts) But don't think that all of these stories are funny or romantic -- quite a few are aggravating or outright sad. James didn't soften the blows at all.
The people around James are just as fantastic: Siegfried, his weird but genial boss who can kick Tristan out of the house and forget about it overnight; Tristan, the mischievous anti-scholar who usually manages to keep out of trouble; and Helen, who seems a little too saintly at times (which isn't surprising, since James married her). There are a lot of details about surgery and stuff like that that will gross out the squeamish, but at least you'll learn a lot of medical trivia. (For example, what is a torsion?)
It's sweet, sad, funny, romantic, dramatic. "All Creatures Great And Small" (and its four sequels) is a fantastic read for all ages.
I can't believe these stories are 30 years old, and Dr. Herriot has passed on. Thankfully he left this legacy behind for us to savor. These are books to re-read on dreary days with a cup of tea or just when you really need something to lift your spirits.