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Watership Down [Paperback]

Richard Adams
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)

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Book Description

12 Dec 1974
"Watership Down" is stunning - a compulsive read. The story is a picaresque saga about a motley band of rabbits who desert their ancient warren when the gentle 'fiver' predicts imminent destruction of all who remain. Led by Fiver's intelligent brother Hazel the refugees set out on an epic search fro a new home.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (12 Dec 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140039589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140039580
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 226,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

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' 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 analogues 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 out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


...stunning, compulsive reading (Sunday Times)

...a proper grown-up novel for children (The Times) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
The primroses were over. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Frith this is a good book! 15 Oct 2007
'Watership Down' is the exciting and emotional tale where a group of rabbits are forced to leave their Sandleford homes when Fiver, who often sees visions of the future, tells them that their warren is in danger from humans. The group is then lead by Hazel and Bigwig as they make their way through the fields of Hampshire as they come face to face with danger from other animals such as rats, foxes, cats, dogs and owls as well as humans and cars. As the story goes on Hazel and the group of rabbits try to rescue some rabbits from a farm; help a bird, who in turn then helps them; join another warren of rabbits and also try to steal does from a much bigger and powerful warren known as Efrafa, leading to a shocking and brilliant finalle. Along the way tales are told of El-ahrairah (prince of a thousand enemies), which gives more insight into the beliefs of the rabbits in their own world.

As someone who usually mainly reads crime fiction and horror (and have also never seen the movie adaption), I never thought that I'd enjoy a book about a bunch of rabbits but after a strong recommendation from my girlfriend, I gave this a try and once I started it I couldn't put it down. Immediately I fell in love with Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Pipkin, Dandelion, Speedwell, Blackberry, Silver, Buckthorn, Holly, Bluebell and Strawberry. Each and everyone of them has their individual characteristics and I found that I actually cared quite a lot what happened to them, and got quite emotional at certain points in the story.

Although this dubbed a children's novel, I found it to be quite complex at times and also quite gruesome and horrifying in parts, which I could imagine may be quite disturbing for younger readers.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book 25 Nov 2006
When I was around fifteen my parents and I had this deal where for every "classic" book I bought (and read), they would buy me the usual books I would tend to (Stephen King, Chistopher Pike, in fact, anything with blood and gore). Watership Down was one of classics I bought to keep them happy. However, despite the attitude I had to sitting down to reading this "book about rabbits," it didn't take long for me fall in love with this book. Hard.

I couldn't agree more with the reviewer who talked about the goosebumps he feels every times he reads the opening lines "The primroses were over." The whole book is truely sensational and a classic for a reason.

An amazing, emotive, and beatifully written read. I am now 23, still a fan of blood, gore and all things violent and it's still, by quite a long way, my favourite book - the only close contenders being the Dark Materials Trilogy.

Kudos to your genius, Richard Adams, for making a "book about rabbits" one of the all time greats
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 3 May 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
A fantastic story lovingly brought to life. Andrew Sachs is a wonderful reader, and gives each character life.The music in this is lovely, and adds to the drama. It is a pity that its been abridged, but this has to be one of the best audiobooks ever! Buy it!
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest book and film ever written. 11 May 2004
"The primroses were over. Towards the edge of the wood, where the ground became open..." - Richard Adams, Watership Down.
The title about says it all. I have cried at this book more often than I can remember; I get a shiver up my spine just hearing those opening words. I currently have four copies of the book, in varying states of disrepair, and on VHS video and DVD. There is just no other book like it. I apologise for the bad writing of this review, but it is impossible to be even slightly objective about something which has affected you so much growing up. By the age of 12 or 13, I had already read it numerous times.
Adams' simply gorgeous description of the countryside and the true beauty of the world is fantastically balanced with the grim and evil reality the humans bring to the world of the rabbits. I cannot quite place why I love this book, it is just something which exists so perfectly in your soul. If you are sitting on a crowded commuter train, or you are on the eve of a fated deadline, or more down in the dumps than you have ever been, you can pick up Watership Down and immediately escape into a world where the only things that matter are survival and the bonds you make with close friends going through traumatic and dangerous experiences. These rabbits do not know of human "troubles", and this is what makes this story so appealing: the INNOCENCE of it all. The pure pleasure of not caring.
The film has much the same effect, however I do feel it focuses on a different part of the story. The portrayal of Fiver's troubled mind is often chilling, and I would not recommend the film for very young children (as I know it scared me when I was younger!).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An all-time favourite 2 April 2010
I first read Watership Down when I was about 10 years old. It immediately became my favourite book and I've re-read it many times over the years. I know some people may consider a book about talking rabbits to be silly and childish, but Watership Down is not really a 'children's book'. It's one of those books that can be enjoyed on different levels by people of all ages. In fact, the writing style and vocabulary used in this book is of a higher standard than many 'adult' books. It's also not just 'a book about rabbits' - it's a book about friendship, leadership, freedom, adventure, happiness, sadness and so much more.

Hazel and his brother Fiver are two young rabbits living in the peaceful Sandleford Warren. When Fiver has a premonition that the warren is going to be destroyed, he convinces Hazel and several of their friends to embark on an epic journey to find a new home. During their search for Fiver's 'safe, high place', they encounter a number of problems and dangers including humans, predators and even other rabbits. The biggest obstacle of all, however, comes with the realisation that as the group consists solely of male rabbits, they urgently need to find some females - this leads to a daring attempt to rescue some does from the overcrowded enemy warren of Efrafa...

Hazel and his friends are not cute little bunnies. They are intelligent, resourceful animals capable of solving almost any problem that is thrown at them. When faced with having to cross a river, for example, they observe that a plank of wood is floating on the surface of the water and they figure out how to use it as a raft. The rabbits are given such human thoughts and emotions that you can easily forget they're actually not human!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
No idea why more adults don't pick thsi up and read it. It;'s not about fluffy bunnies for young children. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Steve
5.0 out of 5 stars So this is how I wound down from my ancient history studies!
A first read for me. What a fantastic book! Will have to read it again without my ingrained Uni habit of scan reading but was so excited, scared and thrilled and in such a rush to... Read more
Published 7 days ago by MacR
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story for any age
I read this to my children when they were little and I really enjoyed it then. I am currently reading it again and enjoying it just as much as I did the first time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. Rosemary Kind
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing Layout
I thought that this story would have had attractive illustrations when it was in fact just text. I certainly would not recommend it to others.
Published 3 months ago by D F Hutchinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Watership ups and downs!
Superb story. Anyone from 7 -100+ would enjoy this epic story.
Love the courage of the rabbits and the team work necessary to overcome difficulties that they are faced with.
Published 3 months ago by Suzanne Elizabeth Horne
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I watched the film when I was younger but didn't realise the book was such a classic! This one's a keeper for enjoying in years to come.
Published 4 months ago by samantha brown
1.0 out of 5 stars Star Wars rip off...
We have seen this plot somewhere before haven't we ..homeland destroyed...fleeing to a safe haven....hunted down by a shadowy figure. Read more
Published 5 months ago by P Benson
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for old-school animation fans
There are very few books that cover a movie in such minute detail as this, which tells the entire story, scene by scene, using countless hundreds of still images from the movie. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stephen Citynskyj
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice
Very speedy and wonderful condition to the book, only annoying thing was the name tag on the back of the front cover but no worries I'll just cover the words up with paint... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Nicole Mendonca
5.0 out of 5 stars It was the BEST book I ever read
I loved it so much that I've decided to write my own watership down book two. At the end of it I felt like crying. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Diego
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