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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story

A great listen from a childhood favorite!

Would you consider the audio edition of Watership Down to be better than the print version?

In the print version the made up words sounded much different in my head than the audio version.

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  • Cheryl
  • United States
  • 05-10-13

One of my favorite books!

I read this book many years ago and had been wanting to read it again. When I saw the audio version, I decided to give it a try and I'm so happy I did. I love everything about this book -- the story, the characters, etc. Who would ever dream that a story about a group of rabbits could be so intriguing? The narrator did a superb job, too.

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  • Vira
  • Pretoria, South Africa
  • 05-09-13

A Rabbit's-Eye View

What fun to get this rabbits-eye view of the world! I simply loved these creatures - their innocence, loyalty, friendship, and absolute heroism. (Who'd think of rabbits as being heroic, but it seems all creatures, great and small .....).

Pure, clean, innocent, and touching. A wonderful listen.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Best book I've read or listened to in a long time!

What did you love best about Watership Down?

This is just a well-told tale. I listened to it on my drive to work and spent more than one day sitting outside in my car until I could bear to turn off the player and go in to work. I got so caught up in the story that I thought about it even when I wasn't listening to it. A really good tale enjoyable on many levels.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Fiver. A very wise, but strange rabbit that no one respected until they discovered his worth.

Have you listened to any of Ralph Cosham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but he is excellent

Who was the most memorable character of Watership Down and why?

Hazel-Ra, a lot of leadership lessons to be learned there.

Any additional comments?

It has been a long time since a book has captured my attention so well, and it made for a very good break from a stressful work life.

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Defining Example of Young Adult Fiction

Any additional comments?

Watership Down is a monumental piece of young adult fiction and one of those books you can enjoy again and again. Written for children but never condescending or silly, this novel follows the adventures of a group of rabbits as they struggle to overcome catastrophe. The novel begins with a group of male (buck) rabbits escaping their home and venturing into the wild with hopes of finding a new home in a place far from the natural enemies of rabbits (mainly men). Along the way they overcome numerous obstacles and trials and each of them grow and develop through these various trials. At times allegorical and at other times a high adventure story, there are deep themes at play all through this novel from the dangers of communism to the role of religion and myth. Taking his cues from the ancient beast fable, Richard Adams creates a rich and vibrant world for his characters complete with history and language and occupied by characters so well developed you’ll feel a personal connection to each one of them by the novels conclusion. Highly recommended and an excellent audiobook.

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Even better than I remembered!

What made the experience of listening to Watership Down the most enjoyable?

The story is amazing, especially since the author began by making it up as a story to entertain his daughters.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Watership Down?

This is a creative story that is as relevant today as it was 30 years (or so) ago when I first read it.

What does Ralph Cosham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The story is engaging, witty and fun. I wish it never had to end. Mr. Cosham brings the characters alive. Each rabbit has their own way of communicating and Mr. Cosham emphasizes that.

Who was the most memorable character of Watership Down and why?

Hazel and General Woundwort are memorable characters. Fiver is also wonderful.

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  • DebKoo
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 04-17-13

Quite a Surprise!

When I read all the reviews of how wonderful this book is, I thought I'd give it a try. I liked it! They were right. It really is a book about rabbits and the adventure they go through to find a new home. It was a nice ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I especially liked the author's prologue explaining the whole premise of the book and how he came to write this story. It was really touching. If you've ever wondered whether you should give this book a try, go ahead. I bet you'll like it too. I was quite surprised I liked it as much as I did.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Think of "The Odyssey" for Bunnies

This is one of those books I've heard about for years, but never got around to reading. It is fabulous and much deeper than I would have thought.

Adams originally made up this tale for his daughters on a road trip. They then begged him to write it down. The title is based on an area near where they lived in Hampshire, England. The story is loosely based on Adams' experiences in battle in the Netherlands during WWII. Many characters (good and bad) were loosely based on people involved in this battle.

The tale is a historic fantasy of a band of rabbits lead by Hazel, a small unimposing rabbit, after his younger brother Fiver has a vision that something horrible will happen to their warren. Think of it as"The Odyssey" for bunnies. The rabbits who follow Hazel and Fiver leave their home and face all sorts of adventures.

Even though the book anthropomorphizes the rabbits, and they have their own lapine speech, Adams worked with a scientist who studied rabbits, and they never do anything that isn't characteristic of rabbits. He wanted to make it more in the mode of "The Jungle Book" rather than Bugs Bunny.

Adams' rabbit culture is steeped in a story-telling/shaman tradition. Fiver is a seer and the other rabbits tell lesson fables of El-ahrairah, the great trickster rabbit. Weaved throughout the book is finding possibilities in what was impossible before. The rabbits never dreamed they could get across a stream on a piece of wood that floats. Also, they never had collaborated with other animals, but Hazel makes alliances that end up saving their group. Also they looked at how to adapt new things they saw. For instance after visiting a warren with a huge central room that was supported by the roots of a tree, they looked at how they could do the same. Their leaders were not frozen, but kept their minds opened.

The narration was Ralph Cosham was very fun. I definitely recommend this book highly.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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GREAT BOOK! GREAT READER!

Where does Watership Down rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best books ever, truly great literature. Who would think a novel about the adventures of rabbits could be this stimulating, exciting, & fascinating? I had to listen to the last hour without stopping; the story was too gripping to stop. The introduction, which was written in the past few years, lays a great foundation, & I loved knowing how Mr. Adams came to write the book & learning about his research. It made the book even better.

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

It's not the same genre at all, but what Larry McMurtry did in Lonesome Dove, Richard Adams did in Watership Down. It's very visual writing, so perfect you can clearly see each character & the setting, whether an English down, a rushing river, or inside a rabbit burrow.

Any additional comments?

I probably would not have downloaded this audiobook if my husband & I had not read it & loved it in the late 1970's. However I remembered it as a very special book, & I have to say I think we both enjoyed it even more listening than reading, just because Ralph Cosham has the perfect voices for each rabbit, & his inflection & tone for the whole book are perfect in every way. There are a lot of characters, but they're easy to keep straight because of Mr. Cosham's reading. Thank you, thank you, for a revisit to one of my favorite books of all time.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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May be my absolute favorite book of all time!

Would you listen to Watership Down again? Why?

I read this in 1972 and absolutely loved it. Never could look at rabbits the same way!

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

Charlotte's Web because you enter the world of animals completely.

What about Ralph Cosham’s performance did you like?

Out of all the Audible books I have purchased, his rich voice and perfect transition between the characters is my most favorite.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! I made myself listen in the car on frequent road trips and believe me, it was hard to not listen in other settings!

Any additional comments?

This book is violent at times, but fits the theme of the story. I feel it might be too much for a young child, although, television, video games, etc. are much more so. Not having any small children of my own, I may be underestimating their ability to understand.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful