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Watership Down [Mass Market Paperback]

Richard Adams
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (581 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 Simply perfection Dec 16 2013
Format:Paperback
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 point of view of the rabbits! With its own mythology I couldn't wait to continue reading when I absolutely HAD to stop reading against my will! Everyone should take a wherl at "Watership Down"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book ! Aug. 17 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love this book and enjoy rereading it every so often. It has been years since I last read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Modern(ish) classic July 23 2013
By Dan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 journey and is slightly larger then your typical paper back.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bigwig Brilliantly Bashes Bugs Bunny Jan. 26 2007
Format:Paperback
"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. It won the Guardian Award and the Carnegie Medal in 1973 and is set in Berkshire, where Adams was born in 1920. It is, of course, about rabbits, and was made into an animated film in 1978 - the soundtrack of which featured "Bright Eyes", by Art Garfunkel.

The book opens at Sandleford Warren in May, with Hazel, a yearling, and his brother, Fiver, feeding at sunset. Although brothers, the pair are very different. Fiver was the runt of the litter and, as a result, is a lot smaller and much more nervous than his brother. He is, however, also something of a seer and - not long after the book opens - foresees the destruction of their home warren. The pair bring the prophecy to the Threarah, their chief rabbit - who, despite Fiver's success rate, refuses to accept it. The brothers decide to leave anyhow, and mean to bring whoever wishes to come along with them. A number of others join them, including two Owsla members : Silver, a nephew of the Threarah, and Bigwig. Although they have little idea of where they're going, Fiver knows what they should be looking for and have an excellent leader in Hazel.

This book has so much going for it, it's hard to write a review that will do it justice. Bigwig was a great character - an all-action rabbit (yes, really !!) whose name comes from the strange tuft of hair between his ears. However, he's not the only star. Other notable characters include General Woundwort, the leader of another warren and the baddest rabbit in England. (A vicious character, he'd leave your average bunny-boiler with badly burnt fingers and causes our heroes a great deal of trouble).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Something worth reading Oct. 15 2010
By YCCHAN
Format:Paperback
Watership Down is a good book for children, young adults and adults. It is more than a fantacy and an allegory. There are a lot of messages in the book that the author conveys, such as environment, insensitivity of human development, nature, leadership, group relationship, ideals......
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5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless and for all ages April 13 2005
Format:Paperback
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 statement about the nature of leadership, contrasting the intelligent and intuitive protagonist Hazel with the repressive and authoritarian General Woundwort. The book's environmental message is also as relevant today as when it was written.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Work of Literature for ALL ages June 13 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. its a wonderful book, full of adventure of thrill.. it really left me on the edge of my seat, wanting to know what was going to happen next with Hazel and his friends, and the dictionary in the back is fun to look at when u dont know what one of the authors words mean. Best of all, kids of all ages can relate to the book, and even if your not a kid, its still a good book to read in your spare time. i reccomend this book to people who have nothing better to do.. enjoy a good story once in a while.. even if it is about a fantasy world of rabbits and their society.. although i did get wrapped up in the book, because the author uses imagery strongly, leaving you with an almost movie like version of the book playing in your head.. buy this book.. not becuase you can, but becuase i said so...
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5.0 out of 5 stars We Need More Bunnies! June 5 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Watership Down is one of those delightful books that I love to re-read when I little down--a little funky. I know it will pick me up and brighten this somewhat dismal world that sometimes comes down the road.
Watership Down is the allegorical story of a warren of rabbits who have to flee because their country domain is being destroyed by modern man and technology. It is the story of Hazel, Bigwig, Fiver, and the rest of their friends and family as they try to find a new living space in this sometimes cruel world. They have their own bunny language, their own epic heroes, and their own lives which every reader can equate to his or her own self.
I thought this is one of Adam's best works, and I found in it much suspense as the rabbits make their way across the English countryside with just enough pauses for me to catch my breath and continue on. After all, these are rabbits.
In this sometimes cold and callous world, we need more bunnies.
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