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Watership Down | [Richard Adams]

Watership Down

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (3227 )
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Performance
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  •  
    B. Cable Louisville 12-05-10
    B. Cable Louisville 12-05-10 Member Since 2005

    Kebles

    HELPFUL VOTES
    156
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    "Still one of the best!"

    I first read this book when it was published in 1972, and after reading it I remember being incredulous that a book about rabbits with names like Hazel and Bigwig could be so engaging and thought provoking. I had pretty much forgotten about it through the years when I happened upon it at Audible and I immediately used a credit. Am I ever glad that I did. After all this time it's still compelling because although it certainly is a story about rabbits, it's also about the ethos of honor, trust, friendship, courage and perseverance, which are important no matter what type of creature you happen to be. You can search google and find a copy of the "Watershipdown Lapine Glossary" to learn the words that the rabbits use to communicate with each other. For example, Silf = Eat & Flay = Outside, so to "Silfflay" means going outside the warren to eat. You can usually figure it out, but I found a glossary helpful as I began to read the story. They also use a common language known as "hedgerow" to communicate with other non-lapine creatures, which are an important aspect of the story.

    62 of 62 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 06-25-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 06-25-12

    "... there are times when silence is a poem." - John Fowles, the Magus ^(;,;)^

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8747
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    430
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    "Heroic Quest Novel DROPPED on a Warren of Rabbits"

    Just finished listening to this book with the kids. It seems to effortlessly float between the walls of genre fiction. At once Watership Down is a children's book, a heroic fantasy novel and a clever, classical exploration of heroic themes. Adams' seems very comfortable in exploring ideas of heroism, sacrifice and community (and others) using the language and strategies of the Greek and Latin masters (Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid) . I'm not sure if it is more incredible that Adams dared to drop a heroic quest novel into a warren of rabbits or that he actually pulled it off.

    38 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson 02-19-11
    Jefferson 02-19-11 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Classic Rabbit Epic"

    When my mother gave me Watership Down in junior high school in the early 1970s, I thought, "Is she kidding? A book about rabbits?" But I gave it a chance and immediately was completely caught, finished it, and never forgot the general story and a couple standout scenes and great characters. Listening to the audiobook version now after about 40 years was an extraordinary experience, as I re-discovered just how wonderful the book is, how rich in rabbit lore, how unsentimental, epic, scary, funny, original, universal, beautiful, and moving. I couldn't stop listening to the last 90 minutes, even though I was lying in bed exhausted by a long day of work. I had forgotten how well the stories about the legendary rabbit trickster founder hero, El-ahrairah, mesh with the main plot and themes. I had forgotten how effectively the interesting epigraphs foreshadow the action of each chapter. I had forgotten how the mystical elements fall like moon (Inle) shadow on the realistic body of the book. I had forgotten that I would follow Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Dandelion, Blackberry, and Bluebell anywhere!

    Ralph Cosham does an excellent job reading the novel. I like his savory voice and restrained manner. He doesn't strain for pyrotechnic effects or manipulative emotions or cartoonish personalities, but instead does just enough, distinguishing well between different characters, like Bigwig (deep and rough), Fiver (high and sensitive), Hazel (his natural speaking voice), and Kehaar (a Norwegian seagull), and between different moods and scenes, like quiet grazing, desperate violence, and numinous natural beauty. In short, Cosham lets the text do its thing even as he perfectly enhances its effects. His reading of Dandelion's performance of the hilarious El-ahrairah story "Rowsby Woof and the Fairy Wogdog" and of the transcendent final chapter alone are worth the price of admission. No pyrotechnics, just perfect, clear, sympathetic, and appealing reading.

    71 of 73 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bellevue, WA, United States 08-12-10
    Michael Bellevue, WA, United States 08-12-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding!"

    Somehow I never read the print version of this book, so I was coming to this audio book fresh. I loved this story! The characters were so believable and likeable. Then I realized that the rabbit fairy tales, far from being a distraction, were foreshadowing what would come next. Wonderful story telling!

    The reader of this book was amazing. What a variety of voices and accents -- my absolute favorites were the gruff, no-nonsense English-accented voice of Bigwig the rabbit and the harsh Norwegian-accented voice of Kehaar the seagull.

    I found myself wanting to share the story with my wife every night after listening during my commute. She began asking me about the story before I even brought it up. After listening to the fairy tale "Rowsby Woof and the Fairy Wogdog", I was laughing so hard that I had to share it, so I played it for her when I got home.

    43 of 44 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Laveen, AZ, United States 11-15-10
    James Laveen, AZ, United States 11-15-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Literature"

    It can be difficult to explain how a book about rabbits can feel so touchingly human. Before I was even past the fifth chapter, I felt for Hazel, Fiver, Big Wig, and the rest of their company so completely that I had trouble not listening to the rest of the book.
    Richard Adams paints a beautiful story using the wilds of the English Countryside as his canvas, and Ralph Cosham is a masterful narrator of this classic.

    This is one I will certainly be listening to again in the future.

    30 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brian cedar rapids, IA, United States 09-24-10
    brian cedar rapids, IA, United States 09-24-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Why hadn't I read this sooner?"

    Here I am...a guy who read Stephen King and Crichton novels, and I find this book. I am reluctant, but give it a shot since I read these great reviews. Wow... what an excellent piece of art this book is! And the narration is SUPURB. This is now my favorite novel I have ever listened to. Awesome.

    59 of 62 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michale Baltimore, MD, United States 06-28-10
    Michale Baltimore, MD, United States 06-28-10 Member Since 2012

    Looking for complex, believable characters, an engaging storyline, and good narration! Fan of sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, and horror.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    108
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    "Classic"

    For all of my life I will be moved by this story of friendship and adventure. I have read the book so many times now... it was nice have it read to me. It gave me a different perspective. Lucky is the person who gets to experience this book for the first time!

    49 of 52 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jake E. Baloian LOS ANGELES, CA USA 08-30-10
    Jake E. Baloian LOS ANGELES, CA USA 08-30-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
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    "Must Read"

    This is a wonderful book. It is challenging and thought provoking. Richard Adams has written a classic book that makes you consider our relationship to nature, the way we act in community, trust, loyalty and friendship. The narrator, Ralph Cosham, is perfect.

    17 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolyn Mililani, HI, United States 06-15-10
    Carolyn Mililani, HI, United States 06-15-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    13
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    "All Time Favorite!!!!!"

    Watership Down is one of my all time favorite books. I love the hard copy. The story is exciting and I learned so much about rabbits. The narrator did a wonderful job. Listening to this book is a great pleasure for me.

    30 of 34 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott 08-23-11
    Scott 08-23-11 Member Since 2012

    still tilting at windmills, after all of these years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "yikes!"

    i read this years ago and remember how moving it was then. i went on to read shardik, the plague dogs, and the girl in a swing. all good. funny, i have read that adams had some trouble publishing because the *sigh* "target audience" was not clear: books about rabbits were going to turn off the adults and books written in an adult style were going to turn off the children. i handed the book to a reasonably bright teenage girl who came back with the latter response ... "nothing happened!" maybe she will give it a try later on. my advice: give yourself a treat, listen to the book for its use of language, its development of character, and its development of plot. be an adult for part of it, be a child for the rest. you shouldn't be disappointed.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 211 results PREVIOUS1222NEXT
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  • Colin
    Cumbernauld, United Kingdom
    5/23/10
    Overall
    "A great classic for young and old."

    I have read and re-read this book many times. I have several abridged versions of this audiobook and I was resigned that I would never get an unabridged version. I couldn't believe it when I came accross this and it was sold by Audible. Brilliant, Great, Fantastic.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Miko
    Guildford, United Kingdom
    7/31/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Flawless"

    I had only vague memories of this story from when I was a child and doubt I would have chosen it to listen to now had the other reviews not been so good. I'm am so glad I allowed those reviews to convince me. Brilliant story, which was elegantly written and perfectly narrated. Recommend to anyone who like a good story - don't let that it's about rabbits turn you away.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ellie
    Somerset, United Kingdom
    7/5/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "childhood revisited"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Watership Down to be better than the print version?

    Originally read book as a child-audio version all these years later,just as enjoyable.


    What other book might you compare Watership Down to, and why?

    Animals of farthing wood-Animals fleeing danger to find new home.


    What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

    Loved it -very easy on the ear.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me cry-AGAIN-for those poor little bunnies!


    Any additional comments?

    Will listen again and again-love this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • G
    Swindon, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Brings the world of rabbits to life"

    Only ever previously seen the film and loved it as a child, its one of those books I never got around to reading. This is really nicely narrated and has really opened up the magical world of rabbits for me, I never realised how much more there was in the book that was cut out of the film. I especially like the little tangent stories about El-ahrairah great fun and a great listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • S. H. Yeomans
    England
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "Wonderful"

    Regretfully, I find myself with little time for reading these days. I've never listened to an audio book before and I wasn't sure if I could stop my overactive mind wandering enough to concentrate on a story, so I decided to try a book that I know well so I didn't lose the plot if my mind did wander. Watership Down has been a favourite book of mine since I was 9, and I chose it to try out listening to audio books at work. Well, I was hooked from the first line. Ralph Cosham narrates this story beautifully; his voice fits the story and writing story perfectly. I'm a fast reader (actually I rush to tell the truth) and having the story read out gave me a much deeper experience of reading the book as every word was heard and enjoyed. Thoroughly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • helen
    2/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful wonderful"

    This is so beautifully read - our family (Incl all the children aged 8,10,14,16) were all captivated for the whole 51 hours! Imagine, 51 hours of peace.....!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lauz04
    2/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A beautiful story, well read."

    This is one of my favourites from childhood - and just as good as I remembered. the narrator does it justice. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew Ellner
    2/12/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story"

    I love this story it's one of my favourites. The book was very well read, the narrator really brought the book to life. Top marks

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Katherine Lewis
    2/1/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating!"

    I read it as a teenager and remembered bing caught up with the lives of the rabbits and the accents of the different animals. I thought it would be a good book to listen to but wondered if I could get excited about rabbits at the age of 60! I found it enthralling and can't recommend it highly enough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Darren - UK
    12/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A cut above the rest."

    This is one of my top 5 books I love it on so many levels.

    Firstly, its kind of a stand alone book. Because although there are other books that follow the lives of animals, most of them are children's books, and most of them have the animals doing things that real animals could or would never do. Or they have animals far more intelligent than real animals ever could be.Or in the case of animal farm which is not a children's book it's highly allegorical and political in nature.

    Watership down is not meant to be anything other that a story written for entertainment and the animals do not do things that real animals could not. The book bends the rules slightly in places but does not outrightly break them.

    The story is cute and funny enough for many children to love providing that have the stomach for it, it's kind of harsh in place's and it has plenty of grit and complexity to keep adults interested, even the ones who don't read children's books as a rule.

    The narration is just right and really enhanced the story and the characters.

    Just buy it already.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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