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Watership Down [Mass Market Paperback]

Richard Adams
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (583 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1975
"Watership Down" by Richard Adams is a true classic. This stirring tale of courage and survival against the odds has become one of the best-loved animal adventures of all time. 'We've got to go away before it's too late.' 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..."Watership Down" is an epic journey, a stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival against the odds. First published in 1972, this paperback reissue with a stunning new cover celebrates its 40th anniversary. Winner of the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. "A gripping story of rebellion in a rabbit warren and the subsequent adventures of the rebels. Adams has a poetic eye and a gift for storytelling which will speak to readers of all ages for many years to come". ("Sunday Times"). "A masterpiece. The best story about wild animals since "The Wind in the Willows". Very funny, exciting, often moving". ("Evening Standard"). "A great book. A whole world is created, perfectly real in itself, yet constituting a deep incidental comment on human affairs". ("Guardian"). Richard Adams grew up in Berkshire, the son of a country doctor. After an education at Oxford, he spent six years in the army and then went into the Civil Service. He originally began telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters and they insisted he publish it as a book. It quickly became a huge success with both children and adults, and won the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal in 1972. Richard Adams has written many novels and short stories, including "Shardik" and "The Plague Dogs".
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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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 --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

...stunning, compulsive reading Sunday Times ...a proper grown-up novel for children The Times --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Viewpoint of Rabbits! April 26 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
There are just too many books, which dwell mainly on our human perspective of life and the world about us. This book presents the rabbits viewpoint as humans encroach on their home-front by developing lands and pushing them away, endangering their existence in the wild. Apart from being a very good story in itself, it presents the rabbits' habitats and serves as a reminder to think about other species co-habiting on this Earth with us. Along similar lines, I would like to highly recommend the new book, "ACCUSED BY FACET-EYES" by scientist-author, C.B. Don. Like "Watership Down", it is a compelling story, but in the form of an exciting science-fiction fantasy and it too opens the mind to the perspective of another species --- the essential pollinator honeybee society, which accuses humankind of endangering their habitats by our thoughtless, global polluting practices. Like the marvelous classic "Watership Down", this book is surely also a must-read for all caring nature-lovers, who enjoy a fantastic eco-novel!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Rabbits Journey April 11 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Watership Down is the story of a small band of rabbits traveling to find the perfect place to settle down and build a warren. A great danger had been predicted to come to their old warren by a young rabbit named Fiver. On their search for a new home, the rabbits encounter elil (other creatures that eat rabbits) and other warrens with horrible secrets. But when they finialy reach the perfect home, they realize that they have no does, and without does, the warren fails. So they decided to steal some does from a warren who had to many already. But that warrens cheif rabbit does not want to share.
This story starts out in Sandleford Warren and progresses through Frith Copse, past Nuthanger farm, and ends in Watership Down. In many ways, the story seems real except for the fact that there are talking rabbits, and the Lapine (rabbit languge) is unique and fun to learn.
There are about 3 main charicters, Hazel, the leader of the group, Fiver, a small rabbit who predicted the fall of Sandleford Warren, and Bigwig, a tough rabbit who helped a lot in the ultimate plan to get does.
This book is wonderful and thrilling. It leads you through a world of danger where your only pretection is your own cleverness. It gives you a swirl of emotion, sometimes sad, sometimes exciting, sometimes extremley happy. You never know what will happen next. The charictors, plot and description all add up to a perfect book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Rabbits Rock the Literary World April 8 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Richard Adams's incredible novel 'Watership Down' is not just about rabbits, as one first suspects. With its artful and satirical plot, painstakingly etched characters, and superb portrayal of a society, Adams has created a milestone of modern literature.
Our story begins in a warren of rabbits where two brothers- Hazel and Fiver- are living a comfortable life when they're not being bullied and bossed around by the Owsla, or rabbit military regime. When Fiver begins to have visions and apprehensive feelings, he convinces Hazel that something evil is about to descend on the warren. The Chief Rabbit, Threarah, listens patiently to Fiver's claims and then shrugs the two off, convinced that if something devastating were coming to the warren, he would already know about it. Left to their own devices, Fiver and Hazel decide to leave the warren in search of something better. They bring with them a brave band of rabbits who together struggle, learn, and above all survive. This is a truly great story about comradary, the pursuit of the truth, and the unbreakable hope and spirit that is in all living things- be they human beings fighting for their rights in a terrorized society, or rabbits fighting to survive.
Adams uses better techniques than just satire, however. He has a raw skill and talent to make the rabbit's problem hit a human chord that even the most primitive of people can understand. Adams also gives the rabbits an extensive history, religion, folktales, and fears. Several times throughout the novel, Adams has delightful digressions where he relates these folk stories through Dandelion, one of the rabbits to leave with Fiver and Hazel who tells stories to the new warren at Watership Down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous book for all ages March 28 2002
By Umber76
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I picked up this book from the "give away" pile at home to read on a horrendously long plane ride and I found it so engrossing that I couldn't put it down. It is incredible how the story makes the characters human enough to create sympathy and interest in the reader and yet they remain true to their species, so they do not seem "humanized". The characters are dynamic, learning from each other and from their circumstances, gaining maturity and wisdom. There is a good balance between developing the plot and description (necessary for the reader to understand the dynamics of rabbit communities and to appreciate how rabbits view the world). I found the rabbit mythology, their own form of religion which reminded me of the greek myths, fascinating. These "myths" were very naturally woven into the plot, stories that rabbits told each other to amuse, inspire, distract.
I suppose the most unbelievable part of the book, is the fact that despite facing the most dire circumstances, none of the main characters die (only peripheral ones do). I was also disappointed that there were few, if any, memorable female characters (though the lack of females in the community drives the plot in the latter part of the book, so I suppose females are not entirely marginalized, but they are objectified).
One might think a book about rabbits as just "fluff" (no pun intended), but this story explores so many important themes: vision, loyalty, courage, faith, being true to oneself, acceptence of others/cooperation, etc. I think the animal element would appeal to children, yet the content of the book would be equally interesting for an adult.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Heroic and Lyrical
I have been rereading Watership Down for almost 40 years and the heroism still
makes me cry. The description of the English countryside is rich and beguiling. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Trevor Jones
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fabulous read that is still very relevant in today's world.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply perfection
I cannot put this book down! Get ready to go on an exiting adventure about loyalty and friendship! This book has something other books don't have and that is the world from the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Bookaddict
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book !
I love this book and enjoy rereading it every so often. It has been years since I last read it.
Published 12 months ago by EDITH FERGUSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Modern(ish) classic
There aren't many books you can say will be read 200 years from now, but this is one of them. But of course you already knew that, this edition is solid, includes the map of their... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Dan
4.0 out of 5 stars Something worth reading
Watership Down is a good book for children, young adults and adults. It is more than a fantacy and an allegory. Read more
Published on Oct. 15 2010 by YCCHAN
5.0 out of 5 stars Bigwig Brilliantly Bashes Bugs Bunny
"Watership Down" was Richard Adams' debut novel and was first published in 1972. He originally told it to his children to help pass the time on long car journeys. Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2007 by Craobh Rua
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless and for all ages
Only the British seem to know how to write for children without talking down to them. While telling a gripping adventure about a group of rabbits, Adams also makes a strong... Read more
Published on April 13 2005 by Paul Spendlove
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Perfect
I first read this book many years ago, and hundreds of books later it is still, without equal. It is absolutely my favourite book of all time. Read more
Published on March 21 2005 by Nuts About Books
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Work of Literature for ALL ages
i read this book when i first started my second semester english class because it was lying around and i couldnt find another book to read, but now, im glad i did read it. Read more
Published on June 12 2003 by Jane Lee
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