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All Things Wise and Wonderful (All Creatures Great and Small #5-6)

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  21,980 Ratings  ·  375 Reviews
Veterinarian James Herriot recalls life in England during World War II, when the great forces of the modern world came even to his sleepy Yorkshire hamlet

Only a couple of years after settling into his new home in northern England, James Herriot is called to war. In this series of poignant and humorous episodes, the great veterinarian shares his experiences training with th
ebook, 442 pages
Published November 15th 2011 by Open Road Media (first published November 1st 1976)
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Jason Koivu
Shit gets real this time around, all too real.

I was not thrilled with the start of All Things Wise and Wonderful, because from the get-go we learn that James Herriot is going to be writing about his wartime experiences. Frankly, I wanted more of the same - warm and fuzzy stories with a bit of low-tension drama about life as a country vet in the north of England as dished out in the first two books of this series.

Vet/writer Alf Wight, aka James Herriot

However, instead of going fully into war st
I recently read an online article about James Herriot (aka Alf Wight) in which I learned of his lifelong battle with severe depression. With no real knowledge of Herriot outside of his professional accomplishments, I read his first book casually; cute stories about a budding British veterinarian and his furry, lovable patients in 1930’s farmland. What could be more pleasant and lighthearted, right?

Well, as is true for many things in life, Herriot’s stories actually run deeper than the superfici
Mike (the Paladin)
"James Herriot" (James Alfred Wight) continues his story as war encompasses his world and the things he loves become distant. I love the Herriot books and have worn out several copies of them. I recommend that you try... to start at the first, the beginning of the story and follow it through. The only draw back is it can put a longing in your heart that may never quite be fully met.
Nov 23, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone!
I just adore these books. I can't help it. Herriot may not be the most polished author but his books have a sense of warmth around them and I feel like I know Helen, Tristan, Siegfried and James. I love that they are real people and wish I could go and visit them, they just seem so lovely. Tristan's antics in this book are hysterical and James' reaction to becoming a new father priceless. I love it. Love. I'm going to wait to read the fourth for a little because I'm sad it's the last one...
May 03, 2011 Brittany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the course of my successive re-reads of James Herriot's books as a child, I would routinely skip this one, which I thought of as "the sad one." It is sad. In it, Herriot covers the years during World War II, including his service in the Royal Air Force. It is no heroic, chest-thumping saga. He talks about homesickness, about missing his wife and worrying about the birth of their first child, and about being lonely and scared. It's not as happy or bubbly as some of his other books, but, now th ...more
My other books in this series are much-thumbed editions, obviously read and reread until the color is rubbed off the spine-edges.

This volume, though it's also used, is in better condition. It rather makes me wish Herriot had stuck to his determination not to discuss his war experiences. He clearly hated them so much that it discolored his memories, and it's not surprising that he keeps slipping away into reminiscence. If he had to discuss those years at all, I'd have preferred it if he'd dug out
Oct 19, 2007 Cappy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who yearns for English countrysides
Harriot is the quinetessential author who captures the essence of Yorkshire countryside through his delightful depictions of the people, landscape, and of course the animals. This particular story centers around his leaving the veterinary practice during WWII to go off and learn to fly with the seems each time he enters a new adventure in the RAF his mind wanders off to the hills and dales of his home county. A wonderful read for anyone who enjoys the voice of a story teller and doesn't ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Tasha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the little stories throughout these books. Herriot has a great way of storytelling making what would seem a regular event quite funny. I never thought I would enjoy these books as much as I do.
Apr 05, 2010 Autumn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, it's lovely to read Herriot. He loves his work and those he works for, and that tenderness shows in his storytelling with a good amount of humor perfectly balancing it all out. This time around, Herriot is training in the RAF, and incidents in his training lead to memories of his life as a vet, which he skillfully ties together. I like how Herriot talks to you as though he knows you are as interested in his work and love his patients as much as he does, because, as his reader, you do. ...more
Aug 31, 2015 Keeley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Pretty much everyone
I am continually and increasingly impressed by James Herriot's storytelling craft as I reread his books. This novel deals with the World War II years in Britain, and the author's service in the RAF. As such, it would provide an interesting counterpoint to the third quarter of Anthony Powell's Dance to the Music of Time: The Valley of Bones, The Soldier's Art, and The Military Philosophers, which also cover the uneventful military service of the educated author.

In both cases, it is the skilful u
Aug 05, 2011 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers
I first read these books in high school and fell in love with them because I am such an animal lover. I found this copy on the free shelf at the library and read it again. The stories are humorous, gentle, and told by someone with a genuine understanding of animals.

The story of Cedric, the gaseous dog, left me in stitches and am so glad that his final owner had no sense of smell! What a match made in heaven for this man and his dog! I also felt so sorry for the author and his experience with the
Sonia Gomes
Jan 10, 2010 Sonia Gomes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Herriot should be everyone's favourite
Pick up a James Herriot preferably when you are sad or have had a rough day.
Open the much creased Herriot randomly at any chapter or better still close your eyes run your fingers around the pages, open Herriot.
Sip your tea and start with your chosen chapter. You smile, you grin, you grin broadly, you are in splits when you read about the vet brothers Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, particularly Tristan
Mood wonderfully restored.
You can now face anything, the Weather, the Market, anything...

Oct 19, 2015 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs-essays
Herriot's stories are the types that leave a warm fuzzy feeling perhaps for the rest of your life. There are some stories and characters that I will never forget, even though they appear for only 5 pages. These books are so easy to read - you can even read them in bits and pieces because each chapter and story can really stand on its own (although they mean so much more when you know the entire backstory, including how Herriot became a vet, met his adorably sweet wife, got his dog, etc.).

These b
Vicki Jaeger
Mar 01, 2010 Vicki Jaeger rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was great to settle in with an old friend. I read this series over & over in my childhood years, up through high school. James Herriot is why I wanted to be a vet--until I came up against chemistry, that is! I LOVELOVELOVE this entire series. His warmth, intuitive descriptions of his animal patients and their humans, and genuine delight of life are a wonderful gift to the world. I'm reviewing all the books in this series the same way, so you only have to read this review once! ; )
Jan 07, 2011 Sue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, england, wwii
The third in the series, this recounts his experiences in the RAF during WWII. The chapters are a mix of RAF experiences and then tales from his pre-war vet days.
Although I read this through, it is a good one for dipping here and there. The chapters are self contained - only once or twice does an account stretch into a second chapter. A fun, light read.
Jessamyn Leigh
Herriot's writing was lovely and charming and somehow managed to make veterinary surgery interesting to me. This book made me want to curl with a cup of tea and a dog on my lap and eat pasties and scones and other English foods.
May 23, 2013 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really, really liked this book! I love animals, so this book was absolutely perfect for me. Some of the stories were super sad, while some were hilarious! I told Lydia some of the funny ones, and she just stared at me oddly while I rolled on the floor laughing hysterically.
Jul 09, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully warm narrative. This was like a cozy blanket. I loved it!
Jan 30, 2015 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
I was turned off by the sentimentality but so many good stories about animals and the people that love them, so if that's your thing, that's your thing and you'll probably love this.
Margaret Sharp
Unforgettable and superbly written! This is one of those rare books that stays with you throughout the decades, and is a true classic. Five stars is not enough...
Mar 01, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
last read 2/12/2014
Steve Shilstone
Oct 22, 2013 Steve Shilstone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many a heart-warming anecdote told by our favorite Yorkshire vet.
Aug 06, 2016 Jodi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, how I love these stories! I adore the characters, care about their animals, and dream about spending time with Dr. Herriot in the Yorkshire countryside.
Lynne Stringer
I enjoyed reading about James' forays in the air force, even though he didn't get very far. I love the stories he tells, especially when he went to help the farmer. Brilliant!
Nov 26, 2013 Anj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-shelf
Reread in July 2016
Aug 01, 2012 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pure comfort read.
May 23, 2017 Bella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ever since finishing All Creatures Great and Small, I have come into contact with the BBC adaptation of Herriot's books that the faces of the actors popped into my mind as I was reading this instalment, somewhat making me wish my mental images of the characters of Herriot et. al. were as untainted as they had been. That's only a minor, minor gripe, however.

I recognized some of the stories from James Herriot's Dog Stories and James Herriot's Cat Stories. The overarching mood of this book is not
Mar 20, 2017 Usfromdk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the story sort-of-kind-of takes place during the war, most of the book is really not about the war at all, but rather about things which happened before the war; although the book does cover in broad strokes what happened to Herriot during the war, e.g. how he handled the birth of his son and the separation from his wife while he was enlisted, mostly this is a book in which Herriot is thinking back to the time before the war, and draws parallels between his life experiences during the w ...more
Mar 22, 2016 Jefferson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
James in the RAF, Homesick and Nostalgic

All Things Wise and Wonderful (1976) is the third of James Herriot's wonderful books combining two shorter ones each, following All Creatures Great and Small (1972) and All Things Bright and Beautiful (1974). Like the others, this one is comprised of numerous short story chapters based on his experiences working as a veterinarian among the fells, moors, dales, and farms of Yorkshire, especially in the fictional community of Darrowby. Like the other books,
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James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS also known as Alf Wight, an English veterinary surgeon and writer. Wight is best known for his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small, a title used in some editions and in film and television adaptations.

In 1939, at the age of 23, he qualified as a veterinary surgeon with Glasgow
More about James Herriot...

Other Books in the Series

All Creatures Great and Small (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • If Only They Could Talk
  • It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet
  • Let Sleeping Vets Lie
  • Vet in Harness
  • Vets Might Fly
  • Vet in a Spin
  • The Lord God Made Them All
  • Every Living Thing
  • All Creatures Great and Small
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful (All Creatures Great and Small)

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“This old man had once told me that he left school when he was twelve, whereas I had spent most of the twenty-four years in my life in study. Yet when I looked back on the last hour or so I could come to only one conclusion. I'd had more of books, but he had more of learning.” 21 likes
“Why had I entered this profession? I could have gone in for something easier and gentler—like coalmining or lumberjacking.” 2 likes
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