[Review] All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

Publisher and Publication Date: St. Martin’s Griffin. December 29, 2020. First published in 1972.
Genre: Nonfiction. Biography. Rural life of a veterinarian in England in the early to mid-20th century.
Pages: 448.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Public library.
Audience: Readers who love animals and rural English life.
Rating: Very good.

Link @ Amazon.


The year is 1937 and Dr. James Herriot is a new veterinarian surgeon. He arrives in the Yorkshire Dales to work in an established practice.

Dr. Herriot cares for farm animals: horses, cows, pigs, and dogs.

The various procedures and surgeries are the huge part of the story, including those hard-to-treat problems. For example, a pharyngeal abscess in a cow and lambing in the springtime.

The front cover of the book is from the series on PBS. I’ve watched a few episodes.

My Thoughts:

This is the first time I’ve read any of the books written about James Herriot’s veterinarian life. Although, his books have been on my to be read list a long long time.

Why do I love this story?

  1. James Herriot is a real person. I see him as a person who has positive and negative traits as all humans. I see the obstacles and conflicts he endures. I applaud his longsuffering and humility.
  2. I love animals. I’d like to have read stories about cats. I don’t remember reading in this book about a cat under his care.
  3. I love the dialogue and descriptions with the people he encounters on a daily basis. Some are nice people. Some are not. He struggles through caring for animals while the owner criticizes him.
  4. I feel he is a sensitive person. Sensitive to the animal’s welfare and to the people who own the animals. Not all, but many of the people love their animals. They see them as not merely for-profit farm animals.
  5. I see a growth in Herriot during the beginning of his time working in the practice. I see him as a person who just jumps in to care for animals, swallowing any fears he has, but has a strong amount of perseverance.

One thought on “[Review] All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

  1. I have read a couple of books by him and have enjoyed them but they did get a little repetitive as I continued. I still liked them though because I enjoyed the stories. I was surprised to learn as I read the books that Herriot was his pen name and his real name was James Alfred Wight.

    Liked by 1 person

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