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

4.38  ·  Rating Details  ·  20,723 Ratings  ·  328 Reviews
Readers adored his tales as a Yorkshire animal doctor in All Creatures Great and Small and All Things Bright and Beautiful-- now James Herriot treats us to another delightful volume of memoirs rich with his own brand of humor and wisdom.

In the midst of World War Two, James is training for the Royal Air Force, while going home to Yorkshire whenever possible to see his very
Paperback, 440 pages
Published July 15th 1998 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published November 1st 1976)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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.
Dec 03, 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...
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
May 04, 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
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
Khris Sellin
Apr 17, 2016 Khris Sellin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All Creatures Great and Small had always been on my list of books I wanted to read someday....which is why I started with All Things Wise and Wonderful, the third book in the series. Whoops! Then I saw it includes the author's wartime experiences. Oh, no, I thought. NOT a fan of war, war stories, war anything.
No worries, I soon discovered.
If you don't know already, "James Herriot" is the pen name of a country vet in the Yorkshire Dales (don't you just love the sound of that alone?), and he doles
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
Dec 15, 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.
May 04, 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 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
Nov 04, 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
Apr 07, 2016 Arkadeb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general, 2016
What can I say about this wonderful book that has not already been said?

A truly unique and fulfilling reading experience, I recommend this book to anybody who has had a bad day, is tired, depressed, angry, generally feeling out of things. The stories are like therapy. I have rarely rad anything where the warm affection, the kindness and the love are so tangible.
Sonia Gomes
Mar 17, 2016 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...

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,
Cathy Cramer
Thorougly enjoyed this. I had been reluctant to read this book 3 because I was afraid it would involve more wartime memories and less animal memories, but it still involved animals, beginning to end. I liked the way that Herriot made himself feel better during the hardships of his training by remembering the warm people and animals in his past. I read the chapter on the Christmas cat to the entire family during a car ride, very appropriate during this time of year. Later on, we made the book a f ...more
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! ; )
loretta ann thomas-brisbon
All Things wise and wonderful lived up to its reputation!

I absolutely loved this book! If I could proffer any complaint it would be, "It's too short!"
I was sincerely sorry when it ended, and jubilant that there was another book, about this lovely world, created by the author for me to dive into! It is truly a gift to write this beautifully. I am so grateful to the good doctor for making writing his second career! He painted a huge picture with words, then invited me into it. If you're on the fe
Jul 26, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully warm narrative. This was like a cozy blanket. I loved it!
I'll admit I was a bit tentative going into this installment of Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small Series mostly because I wasn't sure what to expect given where we left off in the last book. While this book is a bit more somber touching on some things the previous books didn't (view spoiler) it is still beautifully written. We get some of Herriot's RAF training and mixed in we get flashbacks of his vet life (usually something from the RAF ...more
Aug 01, 2013 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.
May 27, 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.
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.
Jun 20, 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.
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!
Karenbike Patterson
This book has the same charm, warmth, funniness, sadness, and poignancy as the other two books about life in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1930s and 1940s. The stories follow the same pattern showing the personalities of the farmers and animals in the district. This last book has James married with a son and serving in the RAF until it is realized that he is in a reserved profession and must return back to his practice. There are reflections of his training and learning to fly solo with memories of ...more
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...
Apr 06, 2014 Dad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: naturalist
This was a good book about a veterinary surgeon from Yorkshire, England, who talked of his experience in the Royal Air Force during World War II and would then give flashbacks to his experiences as a veterinarian. It was a good format. I enjoyed his reverence for the animals he practiced on and how he felt so good if he could help them.
He had a clever sense of humor and that added to the story. I didn't, however, like the use of the Lord's name in vain. That could have been handled differentl
Suhasini Srihari
It was an amazing read, Herriot simply grips your hand and you might not want to pause for a moment even! Though the novel starts of on a recalling of the past and fluctuates to the present, regardless of the initial confusions, it speaks of the connection between a vet and his inner turmoils while treating animals. The work of a vet is foregrounded against the war scenario; while both the aspects receive almost equal descriptive agency in the novel. As I progressed with the novel, I could under ...more
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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
  • All Creatures Great and Small
  • Let Sleeping Vets Lie
  • Vet in Harness
  • All Things Bright and Beautiful
  • Vets Might Fly
  • Vet in a Spin
  • The Lord God Made Them All
  • Every Living Thing

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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.” 14 likes
“Why had I entered this profession? I could have gone in for something easier and gentler—like coalmining or lumberjacking.” 0 likes
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