Watership Down (SparkNotes Reader's Companion)
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Watership Down (Watership Down #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  194,672 ratings  ·  6,783 reviews
One of the most beloved novels of our time, Richard Adam's WATERSHIP DOWN takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests and riverbanks far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership and survival; an epic take of a hardy band of adventurers forced to flee the destruction of their fragile...more
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published 2004 by BookSpan (first published 1972)
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Rico Suave
Dec 04, 2013 Rico Suave rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: people, rabbits, not for sailors.
Shelves: ricosbooks
oh man, this book totally tricked me! I got a bad haircut one day so I needed to lay low for a few weeks ("Supercuts", my ass! Liars!). I called two of my hardest, most straight-up thug homies (Zachary and Dustin) to bring me some of their books and this was one of them. I had just watched a show on A&E about WWII naval battles so I couldn't WAIT to read Watership Down! I love sea stories, "man overboard!" and "off the port bow!" and "aye aye cap'n!" all that stuff so I pulled my hat down an...more
John
Sep 01, 2007 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: People who like a good story or who have a vague interest in rabbits
Shelves: favorites
Ok, so it's a book about a bunch of rabbits traveling through a small stretch of English countryside. As such, it doesn't seem like something that would appeal to anyone but a preteen. But the fact of the matter is this is a great story, full of rich characters, a deep (if occasionally erroneous) understanding of things lapine, and it can reach moments of depth and profundity that the movie of the same title does not even begin to hint at. I was actually introduced to this book in one of the bes...more
Terry
I think there are generally two classes of people when it comes to this book: those who see beyond the surface and love it, and those who just don't get it and wonder how anyone can praise a silly book about talking rabbits.

Given my rating of it, I obviously fall into the former group. On the surface this is an engaging tale about a group of outcast rabbits who leave their warren at the promptings of one of their fellows who is able to foresee a great catastrophe on the horizon. Their adventures...more
Lyndz
I started this book about 2 months ago, got through the first 10 pages or so and I was not interested in continuing. I put it down. In all honesty, it seemed like it was going to be too babyish for me. I mean come on, bunnies though? Seriously?


About a week ago I got to a point where I didn’t have anything else to read so there I was, staring pensively at my obese bookshelf, thinking about reading Lord of the Rings for the 12th time, when I noticed Watership Down poking its cute little bunny fac...more
Nataliya
Some books have an amazingly unexplainable ability to transcend the purpose of their creation and take a leap into being an instant timeless classic.
“All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when 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 will never be destroyed.”
Watership Down began as an impromptu entertainment for Adams' two young daughte...more
Jeffrey Keeten
"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."

When Fiver, a seer, is overcome with a vivid dream of mass destruction. He tries to convince the rabbits in charge of the validity of his vision. The...more
Caris
Father’s Day ended a few minutes ago. The holiday has always been pretty meaningless to me. This is the first time in probably a decade that I’ve actually spent any time on the day thinking about my dad.

He was pathologically inattentive. At best, my brothers and I were servants. At worst, helpless outlets for cruelty. He would hang out with us occasionally, but it ended in fighting every time. Every year, on this day, he’d get the obligatory “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt or whatever. I imagine...more
Manny
It's got nothing much to do with this book, but I want to tell my rabbit story. Feel free to disbelieve me if you must, but it's actually true. I know the person it happened to quite well, though I have changed names and other particulars in order to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.

So, many years ago, my friend (let's call her Mary) used to have a dog (let's call him Rover). She lived next door to a family whose five year old girl (let's call her Anna) had a rabbit (let's call him Fluff...more
Delee
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when 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 will never be destroyed.

This is my all time favorite book...although some of my love for this book may be an emotional attachment to the time in my life when it was read for the first time. Before this book, my parents used to read to me at bedtime on my...more
Mariel
Sep 17, 2010 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: let's pretend we're bunny rabbits. we'll do it all day long
Recommended to Mariel by: Harvey
Watership Down is not a children's book. It's a everyman's book. Every animal, too. (Anyone with a pulse and a beating heart that gives a shit about what is around them.) There's a lovely intro in a newer edition about how he "wrote" it with his children (the stories started out a spur-of-the-moment thing when prompted to tell them a story). It's meant to be interactive in a makes you think and makes you feel way. I certainly lose myself in this world whenever I reread (it's funny how quickly I...more
Robert
When I was very young I was taken to see this movie that my parents probably thought would have cute, comical bunnies in it. Thusly I was exposed to disturbing images of fields of blood, extreme bunny-bunny violence and weird, floaty and somehow scary black rabbits...there was also an alarmingly bad song called Bright Eyes. The whole thing was incomprehensible and scary and I didn't like it. And the song was everywhere for weeks...

Zillions of years later the scars have healed and I eventually ge...more
Maciek
"I announce with trembling pleasure the appearance of a great story."

In 1972, an unknown British novelist named Richard Adams published his debut novel with a rather misleading title, Watership Down. After being rejected 13 times by various publisher it was finally accepted by Rex Collings, a one-man company which worked on a shoestring and couldn't pay Adams any advance, but had important connections in the London literary scene and made sure that it was read by everyone who mattered. Rex Coll...more
John
Aug 23, 2007 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone
It was the summer of 1986 when, rumaging through the long unused bedrooms of my grandfather's house, I stumbled upon the book Watership Down. At twelve, I was at that wonderful age when any book was a source of fascination rather than embarrassment, and so I sat upon my uncle's old bed and, in the dusty sunlight streaming through the window, began to read a book which would stay with me years later.

Fiver, a small and nervous rabbit, is plaugued by visions of the coming destruction of Sandleford...more
Algernon

"Our children's children will hear a good story."
Rabbit proverb


I don't have any children of my own, but if I had, I know Watership Down would be at the top of the list of books to gift them with. On the back cover it is described as "one of the most beloved novels of our time", and for once the marketing hyperbole turns out to be justified. It would take a major Grinch to remain unmoved by the adventures of Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Blackberry, Dandelion et all. These critters have managed to b...more
Apatt
Most reviews I write just for the hell of it, for my own records and if some people like them I am just happy as a lark. For Watership Down however, I am just a little bit more ambitious. I would like to convince people who feel averse to reading a novel for children about rabbits to drop their preconception and give this book a chance. This is not a book about cute little bunnies running around eating carrots and being adorable 24/7. This is one of the most badass books I have ever read, and I...more
Mark
Feb 12, 2013 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Rabbit lovers and anyone with a soul
Rabbits, English countryside, Adventure, some more rabbits, Murder and betrayal, heroism, another rabbit, edge of the seat - will they/won't they escape, weird alliances with non-rabbits, a few more rabbits, intimations of romance so inevitably likely to be yet more rabbits, a couple of dead rabbits and then a big scrap between a ginormous rabbit and a dog (that bit was really clever) and then ...well you can probably guess.....Come on for Heaven's sake, what is there not to like. The only down...more
Loren
Adapted from ISawLightningFall.blogspot.com

Watership Down has a lot in common with the ancient epics. In it, a lone warrior leads a band of harried outcasts into the wilderness in search of a home. They’re aided by a seer who can touch the future with his dreams. They face perilous quests and hair-breadth escapes, ferocious foes and desperate siege assaults. But unlike the works of Homer and Virgil, Watership Down is also about rabbits. Which is appropriate, as almost all of its characters are r...more
Joel
If you made a Venn Diagram of the longest books I read as a pre-teen and the books I reread the most, this one would be smack dab in the middle. I've read it at least five times, which is a lot for me, and listened to the audiobook more than once on family road trips.

Despite the fact that the story is deeply silly on the face of it (a bunch of rabbits move from one field to another... wow, what an adventure...), it's actually pretty thrilling. A soothsaying crazy rabbit has visions of a rabbit d...more
Ernest
Probably the greatest fantasy/adventure book I have ever read just happens to be for young adults and is about talking rabbits in search of a new home. I initially thought I'd be overcome with unintentional laughter and an inability to suspend my disbelief. I thought wrong. By the book's end, when this ragtag collection of refugees from the obliterated Sandleford warren reaches the end of their journey, I was figuratively elevating Mr Adams to the gold medal platform of fantasy writers, just abo...more
Kirsty
Well... who knew that the life of rabbits could be so engrossing?!

This book was a joy to read. The author used beautiful imagery to the point where I could imagine every little detail of the scenery and surroundings. He definitely has a way with words and I loved how he interspersed the writing with 'Lapine' (rabbit-talk) to make it that bit more believable. His writing made me want to keep reading and I would have happily read another 500 pages. I was sad when the story ended.

I loved the chara...more
Kathleen
I listened to this action-packed and emotionally charged story on an app by Blackstone Audio. The narrator is Ralph Cosham, a Brit. Superbly done! Also, I read the text, and the sequel, Tales from Watership Down. Here is that review

For the love of lagomorphs, who live each day on the edge. This story is fantastical yet feels oddly real, perhaps because it is based in observed rabbit behaviors (with some exceptions). Adams makes use of anthropomorphism and allegory to enrich an otherwise straigh...more
Marco Tamborrino
Una cosa può esser la verità e, insieme, essere una follia senza speranza.

Credo che prima di parlare dell'opera in sé, occorra fare un piccolo appunto sulla traduzione di Paolini: eccelsa. Per dirla breve, è pura poesia. Essendo un libro ricchissimo di fantasia e di termini inventati, il traduttore deve aver faticato moltissimo per renderlo come l'ha reso, ma c'è da dire che l'ha fatto egregiamente, e per questo bisogna rendergliene merito.

Watership Down narra di un gruppo sparuto di conigli che...more
Wesley
May 29, 2008 Wesley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: everyone.
There have been many good reviews of this book and I won't attempt reiterate them. I just want to point out two errors that people often make about this book.

1: This is a novel for young people.

If you examine the vocabulary and sentence structure of this book you will find that it is deceptively complex. The reading level is at the top end of the high school range. It is so brilliantly written that it seems like an easy read, but it really isn't.

2: The novel is about rabbits.

The characters are r...more
Amy
I'm 100 pages in, and this book is as boring as they come. So many indistinguishable rabbits hopping around eating various types of green things in the ground. I try to read on it during my lunch break, but I find that I'd always rather do anything than start back on this book. Is it a rule that classics have to be boring? Do books become classics because they are boring and someone has decided that it's a mark of high class to read boring books? Oh, god, please let this book get better since th...more
Joshua
Feb 04, 2008 Joshua rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Anyone looking to rekindle their love for books
Shelves: classics, favorites
There are many holes in my life when it comes to memory, holes that one can fill with a Buick. I don't remember my first kiss. I don't even remember all the places I've visited and lived in. Yet, I do remember the film that sparked my love for movies (Indiana Jones), and the one book that made me a life-long reader. Watership Down is that book. Even 15 years later, I remember how I felt when the "unimportant" Hazel lead a group of rabbits to a better and new life. I remember the bravery and sa...more
Devlin Scott
Fiver is a rabbit. He has premonitions. Hazel, his older brother, listens to him. A handful of the other rabbits in the warren listen to Hazel. Thus begins an amazing journey as some of the rabbits pay heed to Fiver’s warning of impending doom and seek out a new home. Along the way you will learn about rabbit life and history. You will hear many great stories about rabbit cunning as they recite the ancient fables and stories of their gods. You will enjoy their exploits, revel in their triumphs a...more
Mick
While I was trying to put together a preliminary list for the books I was going to try to read this year I came across the title Watership Down a hundred times. I’ll admit that when I first came across it I thought it was going to be a space adventure. Much like the movie Ice Pirates, I thought it was going to be about a over laden supply ship crashing in enemy territory with the only know water supply that existed in the galaxy, or at least something like that. As it turns out the book contains...more
Jamie
Somehow I missed reading this when I was a kid, and since then I’ve been skeptical of the merits of an adventure story about rabbits. I’m pleased to find that there’s good reason for the novel’s enduring popularity.

It did take me a little while to get into the story; the rabbits are awfully rabbity. I kept thinking of Hazel as female and being jarred by the male pronouns. The Lapine language lessons (there’s a glossary) felt silly and unnecessary. Also, I was worried for a bit that this was goin...more
Holly Goguen
This is undoubtedly a heroic tale on par with the odyssey. How wonderful it is to so thoroughly enjoy a story for its journey and additionally be swept away occasionally by the unique picture of the world it shows you. As daily life consumes you, you tend to forget to imagine the world as it is seen by the small, but when you revisit it in books such as this, you remember that you spent some time there in the past.

How fondly do I think now of Hlao-Roo and Hrairoo, Hazel-rah and pigvig.... the c...more
Maggie Stiefvater
A classic on so many levels; I've included in my Goodreads because it really influenced me as a teen writer.


***wondering why all my reviews are five stars? Because I'm only reviewing my favorite books -- not every book I read. Consider a novel's presence on my Goodreads bookshelf as a hearty endorsement. I can't believe I just said "hearty." It sounds like a stew.****
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7717
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Adams was born in Newbury, Berkshire. From 1933 until 1938 he was educated at Bradfield College. In 1938 he went up to Worcester College, Oxford to read Modern History. On 3 September 1939 Neville Chamberlain announced that the United Kingdom was at war with Germany. In 194...more
More about Richard Adams...
Tales from Watership Down (Watership Down, #2) The Plague Dogs Shardik (Beklan Empire, #1) Maia (Beklan Empire, #2) The Girl in a Swing

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“Animals don't behave like men,' he said. 'If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don't sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.” 322 likes
“All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when 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 will never be destroyed.” 246 likes
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