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Watership Down (Watership Down #1)

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  247,567 ratings  ·  8,092 reviews
Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of friends, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predato ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 478 pages
Published June 1975 by Avon Books (first published 1972)
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Nessie the very last page! Made me cry :(…morethe very last page! Made me cry :((less)
Maggieline Wu When Hazel recognizes the importance to listen all the opinions of the other rabbits and also make allegiances with Kehaar and mouse.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rico Suave
Dec 04, 2013 Rico Suave rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
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 daught
...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
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
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
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
Bookworm Sean
Well according to Richard Adams, the author of this novel, this is just a story about rabbits that was created to entertain his children in the car. He says there is no intentional allegorical meaning whatsoever. I find this hard to believe; the allegories are there and if he didn’t intend them, then his unconscious certainly did!

This endearing adventure is more than just a tale of rabbits seeking a new home: it is a comment on the brutal nature of man, and his careless attitude towards nature;
...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
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 Col
...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
Carmen
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Actually, I do not give this book a 5. It is worth much more! This book is a classic for a reason. Read it, buy it, read it to your children, give it to your children... Seriously, if you have not read this book yet, READ IT NOW. It is about rabbits. It is also about bravery, warlords, leadership, sacrifice, adventures, spies, friendship, rescue missions and so much more. This is not the first time I've read this book and it certainly won't be the last. Don't miss out on this stunning adventure! ...more
John
Aug 23, 2007 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
Stepheny
Allllllllllllllmost a year ago I begged and pushed and begged and pushed politely asked Delee to read the Harry Potter series with me. As everyone knows, it’s my favorite thing in the whole wide world, closely followed by chocolate.

Well, of course she loved it- who doesn’t? (If you don’t, you may as well unfriend me and move on with your pathetically boring life). So she said to me- “Stepheny, you are making me sharing one of your all-time favorite books with me, would you be willing to read o
...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
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
Mark
Feb 12, 2013 Mark rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
j
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
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
Otis Chandler
I read this after hearing from a few people that it was among their all-time favorites. I was almost put off when I saw it was a story about rabbits, originally written as a tale by a father to his children - but I'm glad I wasn't.

I found the folk tales about El-ahrairah to be very impressive. The author clearly had a vivid imagination to create so much of the rabbits culture and history. But I think this book was worth reading as it's really a story about survival, leadership, and human nature.
...more
Forrest
I was introduced to Watership Down through the TSR roleplaying game, Gamma World. Though the novel didn't scratch my teenage itch for bunnies with laser rifles blasting renegade warbots, it did scratch the itch for something a bit more meaningful, a bit deeper than that. Maybe I'm a sap, but I found some spiritual appeal in the book, particularly in Fiver's growth from near-psychotic runt to leader. I guess I saw something in myself in Fiver. Fast forward a few decades to a few weeks ago when my ...more
Gregor Xane
I watched the 1978 cartoon adaptation of Watership Down when I was quite young, under 10 years old. I wasn't told beforehand that the film wasn't going to be your typical cartoon adventure about rabbits, so the mature themes and, particularly, the brutality and bloodshed left an indelible mark on my growing brain. There are frames from this film that I can still see clearly in my mind's eye decades after viewing it.

I've always been curious about the book and, for reasons unknowable to me, I just
...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
Ivonne Rovira
Jul 08, 2015 Ivonne Rovira rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone! (Right, Delee?)
Shelves: favorites
Watership Down is the story of friendship, of course — amongst rabbits and between species. But it also serves as a token of friendship for me, for, without my good friend Delee, I should never have re-read this book, first read in 1978 and never revisited since. Enjoying the book once again with Delee, Stepheny, Randee, Susan, Lisa G., Lisa E., and Kandice — my fabulous GoodReads sisters — gave Watership Down an almost symbolic value. Thank you again, one and all!

I will not write a synopsis of
...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
Carol
What an extraordinary book! This story about the life of a band of very unique rabbits and their will to survive was creative, educational and entertaining with absolutely wonderful color illustrations in this edition. I have to admit, it was slow going at first, but it really didn't take long to become hooked. I fell in love with Hazel, his insightful brother Fiver and the courageous Bigwig. (my hero) And, OMGOSH, I cracked up when ole Bigwig told General Woundwort "silflay hraka u embleer rah" ...more
Melissa Martin
www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.com

OMG! I can't believe it has taken me all of these years to read this book! It was such a wonderful book. There were some sad things, but I was able to get through it.

I loved getting lost in this world of rabbits, where they talked of their fears, of things they needed to get done, the great camaraderie between each and every one of them. They were all so brave. I loved them all. I had a soft spot mostly for Hazel, Fiver, and Bigwig. I even loved Kehaar! They
...more
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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...

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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.” 435 likes
“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.” 373 likes
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