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Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down (original 1972; edition 2012)

by Richard Adams

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,409320107 (4.22)3 / 646
Title:Watership Down
Authors:Richard Adams
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (2012), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:young adult, allegory, read in 2012, 12 in 12 Challenge, library, audiobook, adventure, mythology

Work details

Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972)

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1970s (1)
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English (303)  Finnish (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  All languages (316)
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
When my father, who I've seen read and finish a book perhaps twice in my lifetime, mentioned that the one book he remembers and loves still is Watership Down, I decided to check it out.

The author, Richard Adams, insists this book is not one about allegory (although I beg to differ) but the simple tale about rabbits that he told his girls when they were children. And what a tale it is! While I did not love it quite as much as my fellow book-readers, I still found it to be an adventurous, wonderful story regardless of age. I was amazed it had taken me so long to read this classic (or even hear of it sadly) but I am glad I picked it up.

I did find myself bored at times, but I don't think this is due to the writing itself. In one of the few instances, I chose to listen to the 16 hour, unabridged audio version. I am too easily distracted for audio and I often found myself zoning out, no telling what I missed (not to mention the narrator seems to use the same voice for almost every character and break scenes and pauses within a chapter were ignored, leading to confusion for me if I my full attention was not there). I plan, in the future, to hopefully read the book instead of listen to it to see if my enjoyment of it increases. ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
Review from first reading, September 7, 2009 (this hardcover edition):

OK, so I've avoided this book up to this point in my life because I'm not that into rabbits. But somehow this ended up on my to-read list and I picked it up at the library last time I went. Tell you what...this book is incredible. The book jacket put it up there with Tolkein, Lewis, and Carroll, and I heartily agree. Adams did an excellent job of showing the growth of the characters over the course of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it and looking forward to the next time I'd get to pick it up. I even found myself answering, "hrair," when my husband asked me how many of something we had (he doesn't speak Lapine, though, so I had to translate).

Review from second reading, October 8, 2013 (isbn 0743277708):

When my eight-year-old started getting into Erin Hunter's Warriors series about battling cat clans, I felt compelled to introduce her to Watership Down. So, every day at lunch (and often at dinner, too) I've been reading Watership Down aloud to her and her four-year-old brother.

My son could pretty much take it or leave it. The most he's said about the book is when I said, "Okay, let's read some Watership Down," and he said, "And after this can we read Watership Up?" Which is funny, but doesn't really indicate that he's been paying very close attention to the story. Oh, except for the part where Frith blessed the rear-end of the rabbit because that was the only part showing at the time. My son loved that part.

My daughter enjoyed the story a lot. She asked me to read much more often and for longer stretched than our schedule allowed. She would look through her field guide to wildflowers while I read and show me the pictures of the plants that matched the names of the rabbits.

And I loved the book as much as---or perhaps even more than---I did the first time I read it. Once again, I was delightfully surprised at how immersed I became in the story. On my morning walks, I found myself wondering if I would see rabbits at morning silflay (and when I didn't I wondered if they were scared away by the hrududil that were doing utility work at the bottom of the hill).

This time around I was struck by the idea that the Black Rabbit of Inle, when he comes, will come as a friend and companion. The rabbit for whom he comes will know him and follow him without fear. It's a comforting thought.

At times while reading the book I felt a little self-conscious when I realized how emotionally invested I was in a novel about rabbits, but that self-consciousness wasn't enough to pull me out of the story. I don't cry at books very often, but I admit to getting choked up when I read the epilogue of this one.

Adams did an incredible job on this novel. I expect to be reading it again. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Feb 3, 2016 |
I picked this up to read after it's frequent mention in Stephen King's " The Stand", which I just read. And I'm glad that I did, for Frith's sake!
Eleven rabbits, led by Hazel, leave their warren when one of them "senses" danger approaching. It is a very engaging story, and I even got used to the Lapine language quicker than I thought, because at first it annoyed me a bit, having to flip back to the glossary over and over. I was also annoyed at myself - it turns out I know very little about the vegetation and animals in England. I would read words and need to look them up to see what they meant! Very humbling!
As for the story itself, the escape from Efrafa was especially thrilling reading! And on the other side, the tales about El-ahrairah and Rabscuttle were my least favorite part of the book. I understood why they were in there, but I wanted to read about Hazel and Co. more! Go rabbits! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Feb 2, 2016 |
One of my all-time favorites. ( )
  KathyGilbert | Jan 29, 2016 |
Okay rabbits...still, we see ourselves there defending our lives, and we too can still be *just* rabbits. If we can suspend belief, we become enlightened with fur. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 303 (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 (14 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
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Master Rabbit I saw
Walter de la Mare
To Juliet and Rosamond, remembering the road to Stratford-on-Avon
First words
The primroses were over.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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.
Haiku summary
Rabbits find a home.
They find others on the way
and fight to stay safe.

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 9 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)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0241953235, 0141341939

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