17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Frith this is a good book!
'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...
Published on 15 Oct 2007 by Dr Evil
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
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. The similarities are so striking that there is complete timing synchronicity between the watching of Star Wars IV and the reading of this book backwards. Additionally this has completely put me off rabbits - once to me the presentable face...
Published 18 days ago by P Benson
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By Frith this is a good book!,
This review is from: Watership Down (Puffin Books) (Paperback)'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. Overall though this is a brilliant read that took me no time at all to get through it's 480 pages and is one that I'll definitely read again. Without a doubt this is a classic that everyone should give a go, even if you think that a book about rabbits wouldn't be your kind of thing.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book,
This review is from: Watership Down (Paperback)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
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!,
This review is from: Watership Down (Puffin Audiobooks) (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!
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest book and film ever written.,
This review is from: Watership Down (Paperback)"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!). However, the beautiful animation by Martin Rosen and his team fits the magnificence of Adams' writing perfectly, and the voices of such legends as John Hurt, Richard Briers and Roy Kinnear really bring these noble characters to life.
To all of those who knock this book for being "too simple" and the level of reading "too easy", it is because when you read a book it is more than just your eyes moving over the text. You take from a book only what you think yourself. What is wrong with simple? This book has a deep meaning which is very, very simple: the world is beautiful, if you look long enough. There is nothing better than that.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An all-time favourite,
This review is from: Watership Down (Paperback)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! However, from a physical and behavioural point of view, they always behave like real wild rabbits. They each have their own individual personality - Hazel is the leader, Fiver the sensitive prophet, Bigwig the fighter, Blackberry the brains, Dandelion the storyteller, Bluebell the clown, and so on. This allows every reader to identify with at least one rabbit and to choose a favourite.
One of the things I love about this book is the way Richard Adams has created an entire rabbit world. This includes: (i) A rabbit language, known as Lapine. Even before I began my re-read of the book, I could still remember that hrududu is the Lapine word for car, that a lendri is a badger, and Elil means enemies. (ii) A rabbit religion. Rabbits are taught that Frith created the world and is represented by the sun. Inle is the word for moon, and the Black Rabbit of Inle is a grim reaper-type character who appears when a rabbit is about to die. (iii) Rabbit folklore. The rabbits love to listen to stories about their hero, the legendary El-ahrairah, 'the Prince with a Thousand Enemies'.
I think the author's wonderfully detailed descriptions of the English countryside also deserve a special mention. As almost all of the places he writes about - the farms, hills, valleys and meadows - are places that really exist, it would be possible to follow the rabbits' journey on a map or even to visit them yourself.
So, do I still enjoy this book as much as I did when I was 10? Yes, of course I do! No matter how many other books I read, Watership Down will always hold a special place in my heart.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read it and it is brilliant,
This review is from: Watership Down (Paperback)I want to make it clear that I do not use words like "brilliant" lightly or give 5 stars out like confetti when I write these reviews. However, having read this book, both are justified. It is simply a wonderful, wonderful book. How can a book about rabbits talking to each other be so good? Well, how about vivid characters, high adventure, some breathtaking moments, a fantastic plot, and incredible adventures, all set in the countryside of England which is beautifully described, seen through the eyes of the rabbits.
It is a fairly long book at 470 pages approx, but never once does it get boring or tedious. In fact, the story builds to an amazing climax. I never would have believed I would enjoy a story about rabbits so much (I normally read science fiction!). On closing this book at the end, you get that feeling which only comes when you know you have read a masterpiece.
Also, please don't make the mistake of thinking this is a children's book. This book is for all ages. Even if you are 95 it would still be a great read. I could not put it down. Thank you Mr Adams for this truly great book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Rabbit-lore!,
This review is from: Watership Down (Puffin Modern Classics) (Paperback)Watership Down tells the story of a bunch of rabbits (Hazel and his brother Fiver, Bigwig, Silver and others) who are forced to leave their warren as Fiver's sixth sense tells him great danger is coming. As they look for a place to settle down, not only do they encounter many enemies along the way, but also other rabbits with different ways of living, and who can sometimes be particularly unfriendly.
They finally find an idyllic place to live: on Watership Down. As they settle down, they suddenly realise they've forgotten about something: females!
The story goes on to describe their raids to capture does and bring them back to their new warren. They first manage to get a hutch female rabbit from a nearby farm, but soon realise that just one female is not enough.
So they make for Efrafa, a warren not far from theirs, only to discover it is run by a certain General Woundwort, a tyrant who thinks of his rabbits as an army. In fact, these rabbits are prisoners, unhappy and unable to escape.
So Hazel, Bigwig and their friends devise a plan to rescue some does, risking their own live in the process.
From this brief outline of the plot and even from the cover of the book, Watership Down may look like a children's book. Do not be fooled: this book is full of violence and cruelty, not just between rabbits and their natural foes, but also among themselves. And you realise early on that, somehow like in George Orwell's Animal Farm, it's fundamentaly a critical view of our own human society, a way of showing us how we also can behave in a barbarous way.
Anyway, I think the book is still suitable for children who will love this great adventure, as Watership Down is aslo full of suspense and once you've started, it's "unputdownable"! Moreover, its characters are very interesting and well developed, and in the end it's extremely amusing, especially when these rabbits take a look at us human beings...
This book is not just for bunny lovers so hop along and get yourself a copy quick! And don't forget it's companion: Tales from Watership Down.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bigwig Brilliantly Bashes Bugs Bunny,
This review is from: Watership Down (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). Kehaar, a somewhat foul-mouthed (or is that foul-beaked ?) seagull, provides a certain amount of humour. He also helps the rabbits establish themselves after they arrive at their new home. The story is very engaging and is very well told. Adams explains the way rabbit society is structured, for example, including the role of a Chief Rabbit and his Owsla. As the story progresses, he includes a few words of the rabbits' own language and a few of their myths : these are very much centred on the great rabbit hero, El-ahrairah. An excellent book, and highly recommended.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that you will remember forever.,
This review is from: Watership Down (Puffin Modern Classics) (Paperback)What a great story, in my childhood i saw the film and that has been a living memory. Now i have only just got the book and its just as good maybe even better , but i would be hard to rate both the film and the book because its the same story line. But all in all hands up to the author for making this get story , a memory that will stay with me untill i pass away.
I recommend this book to every gender , any age and i promise that you will have the same view.
A Cut from the book that i like.
"El-ahrairah, Your people cannot rule the world, for I will not have it so. All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed."
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliance,
This review is from: Watership Down (Puffin Books) (Paperback)I only wish I had read this at school, then it would not have waited until I was 25 to read it. I was under the impression that, having seen the cartoon, I already knew the plot, and as a result I neglected to read it for so long.
Now, its my 3rd favourite book of all time (behind 'Lord Of The Rings' and 'And Then There Were None'). It is a classic in every sense of the word, the language is accessible and easy to read, the settings charming, the characters utterly endearing, the hostile faction utterly ruthless. The whole plot is compelling from start to finish, and so absorbing you could finish it in one sitting, which is such a rarity nowadays.
As usual with Adams, there is an undertone of the cruelty of man, especially concerning the 'white blindness', (myxamatosis(did I spell that right?)), but this adds to the atmosphere and does not detract at all. So high a standard does he set, that his succeeding books do not come close to this superb novel. If you haven't read it, do so.
I don't realy know why Amazon are using the cover of 'Tales From Watership Down', which is a completely different book. This could cause some confusion, so sort it out!!
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Watership Down by Richard Adams (Paperback - 12 Dec 1974)
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