If Only They Could Talk

If Only They Could Talk

By: James Herriot
Published by: Michael Joseph Ltd. (London)
Publication Date: 1970
Series: James Herriot's Veterinarian Memoirs and Stories
Series Number: 1

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James Herriot tells in his book the story of his first year in veterinary practice. Fresh from college, he took a job in a large rural farming area in Yorkshire as assistant to Mr. Siegfried Vernon M.R.C.V.S., who turned out to be not half as daunting as his name implied. This was before the time of antibiotics and many other modern drugs now widely used to treat sick animals and Mr. Herriot takes us back to a world which in many ways seems almost unbelievably primitive and yet down to earth and warmly human. With great affection, and an earthly humour worthy of COLD COMFORT FARM, he gives us an insight into the country vet's year and describes the changing seasons with as much skill and variety as he uses to introduce us to the uncommunicative but warm-hearted Yorkshire farmers and their wives. One amusing episode follows another but never dull relationship between Siegfried Vernon and his brother Tristan, a college student with a refreshingly dilettante approach to veterinary work.

Large animal practice is a rough job but it was rougher still when James Herriot started. There were no metal crushes to catch and hold the big, struggling beasts, none of the sedatives and tranquillers which are taken for granted now.

Before the present army of salesmen overran the farms, the vet used to be one of the few visitors from the outside world; and an interesting one, for he still had hanging around him a faint miasma of witchcraft born of his knowledge of strange lore, secret cures. And most important, he had his magical hypodermic syringe. It gave him an aura. Nowadays ever farmer has his own syringe and a healthy disbelief in the occult.

The only unchanging factor is the Yorkshire practice where James Herriot still works is the countryside. The undisturbed serenity of the Dales, deeply felt and interpreted, adds depth to a witty and vastly entertaining book.

From the dust jacket

All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of an Animal Doctor Reprint

All Creatures Great and Small: The Warm and Joyful Memoirs of an Animal Doctor        
Reprinted in 1972 by St. Martin's Press
Reprint Cover Art by Don Stivers
Available formats: Hardcover
List: Comfort Books for Adults
Series: James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small Members Only
Series Number: 1
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First American Edition. This book incorporates If Only They Could TalkIt Shouldn't Happen to a Vet, and three chapters from Let Sleeping Vets Lie.

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