Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down by Richard AdamsWatership Down (Watership Down #1) by Richard Adams
Published: Avon Books (1972), Paperback, 484pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Adventure, Fiction

A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for over thirty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time. Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival follows a band of rabbits on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society. (from Goodreads)

Books about bunnies tend to be cute. Watership Down is not cute, but it IS enthralling. I haven’t read it in a while, and I’d forgotten how amazing the world of Richard Adams’ rabbits is. It’s not just learning about how rabbits live their lives; it’s about the mythology and the gradual realization that each rabbit legend is more than a story about a trickster hero getting one up on the bad guys. It’s the history of rabbits turned into legend! Cool!

I really liked that the rabbits weren’t just tiny furry humans. I think that’s what I didn’t really like about the Redwall series— the animals were too human, and so what was the point of them being animals? But the rabbits in Watership Down are properly rabbit-y, different enough from humans to be satisfyingly alien but similar enough that I could still empathize with them and their journey.

It’s a fantastic story about finding a new home, friendship, family, and adventure. Also, rabbits. Also, England! I loved the lush descriptions of the countryside in particular.

Yay rabbits! I definitely need to read the next book, a collection of stories about the Watership rabbits and their offspring/friends/etc.

Read: July 26-28, 2013

Sidenote: is this book meant for kids or for adults? Or both? Because I totally see it as an adult book (maybe older YA?), but it’s on tons of Best Childrens Books Ever lists. It’s pretty violent for a kids book1 and there’s a lot of plot spent on obtaining does for the Watership warren (something kids might not understand the purpose for?). On the other hand…bunnies DO make it a somewhat “safer” book. I mean, if these were all humans for sure it’d be an adult book.2 What do you think?


  1. genocide, murder, torture, the various evil warrens.
  2. Unless they were teenagers. omg, has someone written a Watership Down-for-humans story? It’d probably be some dystopian thing. But it could be awesome!

2 thoughts on “Watership Down by Richard Adams”

  1. I don’t know how this book was intended, but I choose to believe it’s a kids’ book. I like how dark it is. I think kids can handle it. I mean not little bitty kids, but I bet a ten- or eleven-year-old could have his/her little mind blown by this.

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