Fiver could sense danger. Something terrible was going to happen to the warren; he felt sure of it. They had to leave immediately. So begins a long and perilous journey of survival for a small band of rabbits. As the rabbits skirt danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band, its humorous characters, and its compelling culture, complete with its own folk history and mythos. Fiver's vision finally leads them to Watership Down, an upland meadow. But here they face their most difficult challenges of all.
A stirring epic of courage and survival against the odds, Watership Down has become a beloved classic for all ages. Both an exciting adventure story and an involving allegory about freedom, ethics, and human nature, it has delighted generations with its unique and charming world, winning many awards and being adapted to film, television, and theater.
©2000 Richard George Adams (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“Quite marvelous...A powerful new vision of the great chain of being.” (New York Times Book Review)
“Spellbinding....Marvelous....A taut tale of suspense, hot pursuit, and derring-do.” (Chicago Tribune)
“A classic....A great book.” (Los Angeles Times)
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.
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.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
Like everyone else, I first read this in the 70's. It was required reading in my English Class in college. My memories of it, were that it was an excellent book, six stars. I felt like I was one of the rabbits and I loved the book.
With this audible version, and with it over 30 years later, I have to wonder about my water colored memories, could it be it was all so simple then or did time rewrite every line. Then I was young, I was not as well read, matter of fact I did not like to read in High School.
I enjoyed the book the second time around, but no where near as much as I did 30 years ago. This is a good audio version, so I don't know if it is better to read the book or listen. Most likely I am more critical when I read now. This is a very intelligent book and is not a children's book, anymore then Bullwinkle and Rocky was a children's cartoon. I think a child would greatly enjoy the book, but not totally understand all that is going on and an adult will enjoy the book, understanding the more adult themes of the book. You have to shut out the more critical part of your mind and just enjoy.
Hazel is a great leader and a make love, not war type rabbit. I had problems with Big Wig and war like rabbits who fight cats. That was a little hard to swallow the second time around. Doe's are good for one thing and one thing only and sometimes they are not even good at that. A modern women could have problems with that message.
I recommend the book, but suggest you don't over analysis.
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.
Watership Down is a hard one to pin down. It is one of those remarkable and epic stories that has so much in there - tales of courage and bravery and politics and action and even mini-stories within the story. With all that, it is simply difficult to rate the story itself as being low.
Everything. It's just that good.
Although the story itself is epic, the narration is the only thing that brings the audiobook down. Mr. Cosham doesn't do a good performance. I find his narration flat and unemotional, but it doesn't affect how enjoyable the story itself is. I had been reluctant at first to purchase this audiobook because of the narration. However, because I was too distracted by the story, the narration didn't bother me as much.
Any kind of emotional reaction, I think, would be for me to want to read/listen to more. This is definitely one of those stories that you read/listen to during a long drive/journey.
Narration by Ralph Cosham was very enjoyable, not too slow and his voice really brought the story alive to me again.
Read this as a child, and watched the 'cartoon' version numerous times (I have it on DVD now!) and I loved the story. Rich and varied, the story makes me laugh and cry in equal measures and as I listened I could see the rabbits, and feel what they were going through. I love this book.
I find that books being read to me resonate with me in a totally different way than reading them. I love to read but I use audiobooks when running, walking an on my 45min each way drive to work every day. His narration was spot on and it was wonderful to hear the history of the novel, which I had never heard before too.
Laughed. Cried. As usual with this book!
Buy it, you will not be disappointed.
"It exceeded my high expection"
I never read this story as a child, so there was no nostalgia, but I still absolutely loved it.
Story – 4.5/5
Although this story is quite brutal in places (death, violence and peril), it wasn’t as brutal as I was expecting. I have seen parts of the film years ago, and I remembered some things being worse than they actually are in the novel.
It is a fantastic tale of adventure, friendship and ethics. Although it is a fictional world of rabbits that communicate and think on the same level as humans, there are a lot of real elements of wild rabbit life included that makes the reader think.
I honestly think everyone should give this story a read, child and adult alike. There are happy, sad, scary and funny moments – it will take you through all of the emotions. Richard Adams has done an excellent job in writing a classic for all ages.
Performance – 4.5/5
Ralph Coshom is an excellent narrator, he helped to take the reader/listener through all of the emotions evoked in the story. I didn’t find myself drifting from the story once, which is a very rare occurrence
His voice acting is flawless, each animal had a distinctly recognisable voice. His tone portrayed the story’s mood perfectly, and I would definitely not think twice about picking up another story narrated by him.
I absolutely loved the introduction to the story, and how Richard Adams decided to start writing Watership Down, and how it got published etc. A very nice touch for a classic such as this
Overall – 4.5/5
I don't think so
Maybe if I read the story first I would be able to follow it better?
I found it very monotone and found myself falling asleep whilst listening to it being read to me!
This is a classic story & I really wanted to enjoy listening to it but I just got bored & it was a chore to get through it all! I did not like this book at all, which I was shocked about as I like other classic stories...
"Amazing story beautifully read"
It's an amazing tale and I think I will listen to it over and over as it's so lovely! I tried to read the book when I was about 8-9 years old and I remember it was very long and I never made it through. It's an absolute classic, beautifully written and performed here.
I cried a lot.
There are parts which young children would find frightening but I think they should all hear it at some point.
"Much better than the film"
Great story and narration. Film doesn't do this book justice, the story is full of hope and optimism.
Beautiful story let down by the narrator. Would love to hear It read by someone else.
"A beautifully written novel"
I really love this book! It is so beautiful in a way that is very difficult to explain. The description of the rabbits' way of life, their stories and legends and their natural instincts is written in a quite simple, yet beautiful manner.
I love the how the different characters are portrayed.
"A British Classic."
No idea. A solid narration.I found the chapters with El-ahrairah a distraction to the main story after a while.
The final attack by Woundwort on the downs was very tense.
I listened to it over two shifts at work and the time flew by.
I really enjoyed the book. In the 80's school teacher's tried to foist the book on me all the time and I resisted but it was always on my reading bucket list. At 47 I've finally been able to strike it from my list.
"A magical story"
Few books have described the English countryside with a more loving eye for detail. This helps realise the world in which our rabbit heros and villians live out their adventures. It's hard to know whether it was I or my 8 year old daughter who loved it more. It was I however who shed more tears.
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