Vet at the End of the Earth

Adventures with Animals in the South Atlantic

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Pub Date 5 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 26 Oct 2023

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A vet’s life with a difference: All Creatures Great and Small in the South Atlantic islands

The role of resident vet in the British Overseas Territories encompasses the complexities of caring for the world’s oldest known living land animal – Jonathan the giant tortoise, 190 years old – and MoD mascots at the Falklands airbase; pursuing mystery creatures and invasive microorganisms; relocating herds of reindeer; and rescuing animals in extraordinary and rugged landscapes.

Witty, warm and beautifully crafted, Jonathan Hollins’s tales of island vetting are not only full of wonderful creatures – they are also steeped in the unique local cultures, history and peoples of the islands, far removed from the hustle of modern life. Discover the Falklands, a sprawling archipelago rich in wildlife and fish; lush St Helena and its cindery sister Ascension; and Tristan da Cunha, a tiny, remote community of 250 people carving out an existence on an active volcano.

A vet’s life with a difference: All Creatures Great and Small in the South Atlantic islands

The role of resident vet in the British Overseas Territories encompasses the complexities of caring for the...

Advance Praise

‘A Great Veterinary Adventure set in the wilds of the South Atlantic... highly recommended!’ Gareth Steel, author of Never Work with Animals

‘Charming descriptions of a life well led on the fringes; vividly told with compassion and humour’ Jonathan C. Slaght, author of Owls of the Eastern Ice

‘A delightful, fascinating and entertaining book, ideal for anyone with a passion for the wild and natural world, and who dreams of escapism, adventure and challenge. It transports us to the smallest and most remote places on Earth, where the usual rules never apply, where the animals and wildlife are a joy and the single-handed dedicated vet is king’ Dr Hilary Jones MBE

‘A Great Veterinary Adventure set in the wilds of the South Atlantic... highly recommended!’ Gareth Steel, author of Never Work with Animals

‘Charming descriptions of a life well led on the fringes;...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9780715654866
PRICE £16.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 33 members

Featured Reviews

The job of a vet is both joyous and heartbreaking and this book encompasses those and many other emotions.
Dealing with everything from Cats to Reindeer Jonathan Hollins takes you on an extraordinary journey through some of the world's most beautiful if somewhat hostile terrain. You see first hand how difficult but rewarding a job it can be.
Filled with humour and warmth you will learn not only about the animals he cares for but also the history and environment of some of the world's most remote places.

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Entertaining tales of a vet based, at various points in his career, in the South Atlantic, on the Falklands, St Helena and Ascension Island. His patients include the oldest land animal - 192 year old Jonathan, the Giant Tortoise, and relocated reindeer. An enjoyable read.

Would recommend to any fans of 'All Creatures Great and Small'; indeed any animal lover.

With thanks to Duckworth and NetGalley for an ARC.

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I loved this book.Lots of funny vet stories in amongst learning lots about the Falkland and surrounding area. I loved learning about how not to get diseases on islands and how you can live remotely . I read on kindle. Can’t wait to see the book in real form. It kept me entertained to the end. How they found the missing dog was amazing. A great read

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Johnathan has the role of the resident vet in British Overseas Territories, not only does he describe the wonderful creatures he comes into contact with, he details the daily lives of the people who call these places home. He writes of the local history and cultures of the people living there.
This is a book I really enjoyed, meeting the people within the pages, and reading about the animals, some mysterious, some exotic, others more usual, right down to the microorganisms encountered on the islands.
Thoroughly recommended.

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Enjoyable and entertaining read. I learnt quite a few things too- should I ever have cause to inject a Patagonian Toothfish I think I could manage it! Loved the story of the turtle. Seeing the pictures really helped to bring the book alive' Some sage wisdom too. We may not like what happens but sometimes we have to realise that it's part of our past and we have to move on. I've managed to visit Argentina and would love to visit the Falklands and it seems a unique and very remarkable place ably captured by this book. Maybe I will? I don't know but the book has given me food for thought

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Hollins's days in therocky and harsh landscapes of St Helena and Tristan de Cunha are filled with adventures like this, such as dealing with mysterious toothfish deaths, cattle-murdring caterpillars and Monkat hysteria. The warm, close-knit communities of the islands welcome him with open arms as he copes with several different varieties of animals and illnesses.

Hollins really has a talent for describing the beauty of these islands, and making the scientific details easy to understand. This is such a delightful read - I'd love to see a TV series based on this book. I am sure that it would be very popular.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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I thought this was an interesting read ,quite different from my usual choices ,and an entertaining read.

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Very enjoyable read
A bit like James Herriot in far flung places but different too.
Joe Hollins describes his time as a vet in the Falkland, St Helena and Tristan De Cuna, including the dramatic landscapes and the people living there and their indomitable community spirit..

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If you like All Creatures Great and Small, you will enjoy this book.

It is a true veterinary tale of being a vet in far out not easily accessible places. Treatment for animals large and small, is also an insight into how disease can hit these islands even when they are so remote.

The descriptions are very well portrayed throughout this book.

Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this book.

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I first 'discovered' Tristan Da Cunha when I was in primary school. It was being evacuated because of its erupting volcano. The tiny island, thousands of miles from anywhere else, caught my imagination, as did the fate of the residents. Sixty years on, I get to visit it and the equally legendary (to my mind) St Helena, Ascension and Falkland Islands, courtesy of vet Joe Hollins.

For anyone who enjoys animals, whether pets, wild or livestock, this book is a treasure. The author's experiences cover an enormous range of events, from midwifery to biohazards. But behind the animal tales are the people of the islands, each very distinctive species in themselves. I began to wonder whether I could cope in the isolation of these places. Of course, they are thriving communities, even though they are small. Everyone works exceptionally hard, with and for each other, as often as not.

The author proves once again that a science background is no barrier to writing wonderful description, and keeping the reader on the edge of the seat. It is both nerve-wracking and uplifting, and I absolutely loved it. Armchair travel at its best!

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In this book you learn a great deal about the animals of the South Atlantic islands as well as a great deal about the landscape, the way of life and about the people. There are tales that make you marvel at the ingenuity of the veterinarian, the resilience of the population and the humanity shown towards animals. The role of people in some of the stories is important ranging from the compassionate to the thoughtless. There are tales to make you laugh, and yes it does fit the cliche, those that bring a tear to the eye. (If there is a dry eye after the tale of the cat that is a mascot at the air base then you must have a heart of stone!)

I found the diverse range of creatures and situation interesting and the different characters of these islands stood out. The book is easy to read and is well illustrated too giving a flavour of the locations.

I hope that Jonathan Hollins gets much success with this brilliant book and will be inspired to write more as I am sure there are plenty of other tales to tell.

A definite recommendation 5*

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I usually like book covers, but feel that this one suggests whimsical stories of animals in scrapes in a gentle environment. The reality of the book is very different, and a wonderful mix of history, geology, veterinary science, humanity and comradeship. Jonathan Hollins is obviously a skilled vet and intrepid explorer, keen to meet animals and people in some of the most inaccessible areas of the world
and exchange knowledge and ideas.
A fascinating book
Thank you to netgalley and duckworth books for an advance copy of this book

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This is a book that will be loved by animal lovers and whoever loves books written by vet.
Differnt type of animals, funny and heartbreaking moments, stories that keep you hooked.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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As a very much armchair traveller Hollins' adventures on remote islands were fascinating and the book as much about the locations and people as the animals he treats.
He has an very visual writing style and I could 'see' everything he was writing about - for good or bad!

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James Herriot for our time, but nowhere as tame as the Yorkshire Dales. This Vet recounts his adventures from the Falkland Islands and St.Helena and he brings a warmth and humanity to all his adventures. He brins to life the landscapes and the people and animals who inhabit them.

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What a charming book! Our first meeting of Joe Hollins is a phone call telling him that one of the giant tortoises on St Helena is dead. From there he takes us back to how he came to be working in mid Atlantic remote places. He takes us from the Falkland Islands to St Helena with Ascension Island and Tristan de Cunha thrown in. Both funny and sad, he takes us through some of the more unusual cases that have come his way, from sheep and cows to fish parasites. The book is very readable and well written, there is a lot of non-vet info about the places, but put so that it doesn't feel like a geography or history lesson. I was laughing out loud in places and feeling equally sad in others.

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A Vet’s Life, but with a difference! As resident vet in the British Overseas Territories, it is fair to say it is no ordinary job covering the Falklands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Jonathan Hollins’s tales range from caring for 190-year-old Jonathan the giant tortoise; pursuing invasive microorganisms; relocating herds of reindeer; and rescuing animals in extraordinary and rugged landscapes.

This book is about so much more than being a vet. This is a fascinating insight into remote island life, geography, conservation, biosecurity, history and so much more.

This book is so full of warmth, wit and love for the people and animals of the islands. This book deserves all the plaudits. I learned something new on every page. I couldn’t put this book down. I loved it! This has got to be a contender for my book of the year.

Thank you to Duckworth Books and Net Galley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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All Creatures Great and Small but set in some of the most out of reach places on earth.
Jonathan Hollins shares some of his many stories in this wonderful book about his veterinarian adventures in the South Atlantic Islands and all of the hard work that this can entail.
I found this book to be a very interesting read about places I hadn’t really read anything about before and how remote island life can be. A definite read for animal lovers. I really enjoyed it.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an ARC to review.

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It was a no-brainer for me to pick up a copy of this book, as I was an obsessive reader of animal-related memoirs from the age of about 7 upwards, devouring Gerald Durrell and James Herriot alongside more child-appropriate animal authors like Colin Dann and Virginia Vail.

And if you are anything like me in that respect, then you will love this book too – stories and reminiscences from the life of a vet in the British Overseas Territories of the South Atlantic (including the Falklands, and the islands of Tristan da Cunha, Ascension and St Helena).

Jonathan Hollins’ love of animals shines through in his stories here, but also his love of knowledge – as he takes us into medical and microbiological details and discusses ecological issues faced in the region – and his deep, abiding respect and admiration for the geography, culture and people of the islands he works on. The animals he cares for are (mostly) not fluffy family pets, but either working animals, livestock or wildlife, and so his stories tend less towards humorous shenanigans and more towards the thoughtful and insightful, but he still brings warmth and humour to his writing to leaven some of the more serious topics (biohazards, pandemics and similar).

Between these pages you will find tortoises, chickens, reindeer, sheep, fish, dogs, cats and microorganisms, all under the scope of the author’s work to maintain and improve the ecology of the islands, carefully balancing the native species with fresh genetic material, reducing invasive non-native species impact and eradicating dangerous bacteria or viral strains that threaten the animal (and human) populations.

This book is an informative and entertaining read for animal lovers, but also for anyone interested in the life of an island vet, or in the wider culture, history and geography of the islands of the South Atlantic.

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog

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This was a cracking read. The author has had such an interesting life. The book concerns his work as a vet in the Falklands, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha islands, and absolutely inspired me to want to visit them.

The cases are all so varied, and described so clearly (but with no unnecessary stomach-turning graphics) that it makes for a really interesting read. From giant turtles to lost dogs, as well as some hairy and unusual ways to transfer from ship to shore, it is well outside my scope of experience and really opened my eyes to island life in the South Atlantic. He explains some of the local customs and practices, as well as painting a glorious picture of the scenery and the difficulties of their island lives, plus the close knit communities who stand by each other. And he does so in an interesting manner without preaching or lecturing the reader.

Brilliant! Thank you to NetGalley and Duckworth Books for allowing me access to the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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