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Watership Down by Richard Adams
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Watership Down (original 1972; edition 1975)

by Richard Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,036336104 (4.22)3 / 665
Member:JimmyBrown
Title:Watership Down
Authors:Richard Adams
Info:Avon (1975), Mass Market Paperback, 478 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, adventure

Work details

Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

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1970s (1)
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English (322)  Finnish (4)  Italian (4)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  English (336)
Showing 1-5 of 322 (next | show all)
I've heard that one of my favorite stories, The Hobbitt, was originally written by J. R. R. Tolkien for his children - it wasn't even meant for publication. If not for the prodding of his friend, C. S. Lewis, it might never have been published. And in the introduction to Watership Down, Richard Adams explains that it was borne out of a request by his daughters for a story on a long car ride - not just any story, but a story made up just for them. And luckily for us, they encouraged their father to finish the story and have it published.

Watership Down (which is a very dramatic-sounding title) starts when Fiver has a foreboding of danger for the warren. His prophecies, however, are rejected by the chief rabbit, and he and his friend Hazel convince a few others to leave the warren in search of a place to start a new one. But there are a great many dangers out in the world: foxes and wolves, weasels and stoats, and not least of all man and his machines. That's right, this is a story about rabbits. No, they're not rabbits who wear little mittens and coats with buttons - they're real rabbits who forage in the grass and occasionally raid gardens. But they also have their own language and legends and mythology, and we're treated to plenty of that in this captivating story as we follow Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Silver, Dandelion, Pipkin and the others on their odyssey.

This book is often called an allegory, although Mr. Adams has insisted it was never meant as such and was simply "a story I told to my little girls." But there certainly seem to be elements of symbolism. The legends of El-ahrairah, a type of Brer Rabbit, are told by the rabbits with almost religious reverence. The Black Rabbit of Inlé, another figure from their legends, might be compared to the Devil, and General Woundwort made me think of Joseph Stalin, ruling with an iron fist - errr, paw, I mean. And Fiver certainly seems to have a gift of prophecy, but the comparisons are only conjecture on my part and the legends add color and texture to a wonderful story.

I'll admit I was hesitant to read this - a "classic" about bunnies? And it's not even very old, having been published originally in 1972. But I think it's certainly deserving of the attention it's received ever since and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There's some violence and it can be occasionally frightening or sad, but I loved it and found myself genuinely concerned for Hazel and Fiver and Bigwig and their group. I listened to the audio book read by Ralph Cosham (and my kids would cast questioning looks my way: "A story about rabbits, Dad? Really?!?") who does an excellent job. ( )
  J.Green | Nov 23, 2016 |
I was given this book as a reading assignment in seventh grade. Fell in love with it then and have reread it so many times over the last 27 years. It never gets old. A timeless classic. ( )
  Valkyrie47 | Nov 17, 2016 |
I never thought the plight of rabbits could captivate me for nearly 500 pages, but it did. A highly recommended read. I wonder why books like "1984" are read more widely than this is schools? Length?

Also, I'm very interested in incorporating rabbit language into my everyday life. ( )
  abbeyhar | Nov 8, 2016 |
Seriously dark for a book about rabbits, but really good too. And the animated movie is just as dark as the book. Definitely worth reading. ( )
  Danielle_Kozinski | Oct 7, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book when I was in high school and enjoyed it just as much this time. One of those books you can't put down. ( )
  Luke_Brown | Sep 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 322 (next | show all)
It would seem that in Adam's ardor for wild creatures he has tried too hard to make a case for them instead of allowing them fully to be their own recommendation. I'm grateful for much of what he's done, but I'm not going to look at rabbits differently from now on.
 
Watership Down offers little to build a literary cult upon. On the American-whimsy exchange, one Tolkien hobbit should still be worth a dozen talking rabbits.
added by Shortride | editTime, Melvin Maddocks (Mar 18, 1974)
 
This bunny-rabbit novel not only steers mostly clear of the usual sticky, anthropomorphic pitfalls of your common garden-variety of bunny rabbit story: it is also quite marvelous for a while, and after it stops being marvelous, it settles down to be pretty good- a book you can live with from start to finish.
 

» Add other authors (46 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adams, Richardprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baynes, PaulineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosham, RalphNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hallqvist, Britt G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juva, KerstiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paolini, Pier FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parkins, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schuchart, MaxTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tucker, NicholasAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
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People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Master Rabbit I saw
Walter de la Mare
Dedication
To Juliet and Rosamond, remembering the road to Stratford-on-Avon
First words
The primroses were over.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Publisher series
Original language
Book description
AR 6.2, Pts 25.0

Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren – he felt sure of it. So did his brother Hazel, for Fiver’s sixth sense was never wrong. They had to leave immediately, and they had to persuade the other rabbits to join them. And so begins a long and perilous journey of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home. Fiver’s vision finally leads them to Watership Down, but here they face their most difficult challenge of all.
FI:"Viikka ja Vatukka, Voikukka ja Mansikka, Pähkinä ja Hopea ja muut kanit, Ruohometsän koko unohtumaton kansa tässä elokuvassa, joka on valloittanut maailman. Kertomus pikkukanien uhkraohkeasta pakomatkasta ihmisten jaloista kohti uutta, turvallista kotiseutua - on tarina kaikenikäisille. Jännittävä, liikuttava ja tiemastuttava koko perheen elokuva, jonka suosiosta kertovat myös monet suuret kansainväliset palkinnot."
Haiku summary
Rabbits find a home.
They find others on the way
and fight to stay safe.
(marcusbrutus)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380002930, Mass Market Paperback)

Watership Down has been a staple of high-school English classes for years. Despite the fact that it's often a hard sell at first (what teenager wouldn't cringe at the thought of 400-plus pages of talking rabbits?), Richard Adams's bunny-centric epic rarely fails to win the love and respect of anyone who reads it, regardless of age. Like most great novels, Watership Down is a rich story that can be read (and reread) on many different levels. The book is often praised as an allegory, with its analogs between human and rabbit culture (a fact sometimes used to goad skeptical teens, who resent the challenge that they won't "get" it, into reading it), but it's equally praiseworthy as just a corking good adventure.

The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band and its compelling culture and mythos. Adams has crafted a touching, involving world in the dirt and scrub of the English countryside, complete with its own folk history and language (the book comes with a "lapine" glossary, a guide to rabbitese). As much about freedom, ethics, and human nature as it is about a bunch of bunnies looking for a warm hidey-hole and some mates, Watership Down will continue to make the transition from classroom desk to bedside table for many generations to come. --Paul Hughes

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:05 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Chronicles the adventures of a group of rabbits searching for a safe place to establish a new warren where they can live in peace.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 18 descriptions

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Audible.com

2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241953235, 0141341939

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