Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
There are some books that are so wonderfully written and perfectly narrated that they are trophies to be cherished. This is one of those trophies. Too many books start well but seem to have no idea how to follow through to a satisfying conclusion. Many contemporary authors could learn from Adams how to create characters that a reader can believe in and commit to. Few human characters that I have read in recent books can compare in depth and dimension to the rabbits of Watership Down. The creation of a culture and language for the rabbits and other creatures rivals Tolkien’s masterpieces. Trying to choose a favorite is impossible – Hazel is of course the hero, but my heart also belongs to Big Wig, Fiver and Pipkin for their courage, to Blueberry, Blackberry and Dandelion for their lightness of spirit, and to Kehar the gull just for being himself. I loved the fables reminiscent of the Brer Rabbit tales that offered deeper insight into the culture, and the life lessons gently taught through the various adventures in creating the new warren. This may not be a cute bunny story for preschoolers, but school agers and older should be able to understand and handle the dangers of animal enemies and rivalries. Certainly television and movies show greater levels of violence than is found here.
Though I had thoroughly enjoyed the book in print, never did I have such rich voices in my head as those provided by Ralph Cosham’s superb reading. The toughness of Big Wig and General Woundwort, the brave innocence of Fiver and Pipkin, and the off-beat uniqueness of Kehar are perfectly voiced. Those who have not read it in a long time may be delighted to rediscover an old favorite. I give this wonderful classic my highest recommendation.
I have been waiting for an unabridged audiobook to be made for such a long long time. I have a battered old hard copy much loved and an ancient abridged version that cut out all the adventures of El-ahrairah (so you could hardly call it Watership Down)
This is without a doubt my favorite book. I could read it over and over again and It just increases in loveliness. I hope this audiobook helps others discover a literary treasure that so many of us already hold so dear.
If you like this book be sure to look up the animated film which is a bit dated but still does the story full justice.
Avid listener on my daily commute!
Great golden Frith above us, this is an absolute masterpiece!! To say I love this book more each time I read or listen to it would be an understatement. Allegorically speaking, this is the filet mignon (or the finest vegetarian sushi dinner, if you're not a fan of red meat) of audiobooks. Please experience it if you haven't fallen in love with it already. Ralph Cosham's impeccable narration brings the story alive even more than it did when my son and I used to read it aloud to one another, hour after hour, on long summer evenings almost annually many years ago. I guarantee that your first listen won't be your last. This is one you will return to (and listen to with your loved ones on long car trips, or when gathered around the fire in winter) year after year.
The Introduction by the author was an unexpected treat I only discovered on this listen. It is fascinating; it is the only book introduction you could ever reasonably call "spellbinding." However, I have the very tiniest bone to pick with the author over one small matter. At the end of the introduction the author says, "I want to emphasize that Watership Down was never intended to be some sort of allegory or parable; it is simply a story about rabbits, made up in the car." At the moment I heard those words, I was already mentally composing my review, which I had decided to title "PLEASE STOP CALLING THIS A STORY ABOUT RABBITS!!" So much for what I know! In all seriousness, however, this is so much more than a story about rabbits; it's about very human personalities, relationships, class struggles, the 1% vs the 99%, war, heroism, resilience, redemption, superstition, tradition, adventure, and courage (especially the courage to cast off all social constructs and start over when needed). It remains one of the top ten audiobooks ever recorded. Thank you, Ralph Cosham; thank you, Audible! This is a treasure beyond measure.
In the top quarter.
The glory of this book is that there are so many memorable moments: Fiver revealing the truth about Cowslip's warren, Holly's story about the Sandelford Warren, the story of the Black Rabbit, Hazel's meeting with Woundwort... you can open nearly any chapter and find a good scene.
Cosham's reading was good in the unobtrusive way. He dialed down the emotion and let the text do the work. I think he was a good fit to the material.
I once read that the only good children's book is one that holds up as an adult. Watership Down is a children's book, yes, but it is an exemplar of what children's books can be. It resonates with me at twenty-four as it did when I was thirteen.
I always feel weird admitting that one of my favourite books of all time is about rabbits. It is, but it is also about the relations between people, putting things broadly. The characters are all engaging and their adventures are edge-of-your-seat compelling. Richard Adams’ descriptions of the English countryside are also beautiful.
I recommend this book unreservedly. Watership Down is a classic and a book for all ages. I just finishing re-listening to it with my son, aged 10 and he absolutely loved it.
Final note. While there are some strong female characters, they have smaller roles and appear only briefly in the story. It’s kind of a “guy book”. An exceptional one, but still a guy-book.
Best Book Ever
Hazel, though I have always loved Bigwig, Dandelion, Blackberry, and many others (especially Kehaar). Adams ability to give each rabbit such strong personalities as well as unique roles is what makes this book and its characters great. Hazel the valiant leader, Fiver the doom-fearing fortune-teller, Bigwig the strong-willed warrior, Dandelion the quick-footed bard, Blackberry the clever advisor. Each of these characters are so clearly detailed it is incredible.
First of all, I believe Ralph Cosham is a wonderful voice-actor. His work on the Elder Scroll Series is great and to find out he was the reader of my all-time favorite book was perfect. He is able to bring a unique voice to all of the characters and could not have done a better job.
This was a story I first read when I was 14 and instantly became my favorite book. I used to read it at least once a year as a teenager. Although I hadn't heard the story in several years I continued to champion it as my all-time favorite book. After coming back to it this year thanks to Audible, I still stand firm in my belief. Watership Down by Richard Adams is an amazing story and Ralph Cosham's execution is flawless.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I have been trying to locate an unabridged recorded copy of this book forever. Thanks for listening and getting it!!! Great Birthday Present! General Woundwort Lives!
First read it in one sitting decades ago. Eh, i was a kid. But, no, it's really that good Homer meets Tolkien meets Jungle Book. About as fine of hero's journey as you will find. You must know it's about talking rabbits; if you think that may be distracting, don't.
This book gets better every time I read it. but having Ralph Cosham narrate was perfect. this book is perfect for snuggling up in a comfy chair on a rainy day.