Review: Watership Down – Richard Adams

Paperback: 476 pages
Publisher: Scribner (November 1, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0743277708
ISBN-13: 978-0743277709
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Hazel – Leads a migration of rabbits to Watership Down.
Fiver – A rabbit with a somewhat psychic ability to see danger.
BigWig – The head security rabbit, protector of all the others.
Woundwort – Leader of Afrafa warren. A dictator type rabbit leader.
Dandelion – The warren’s storyteller.


Fiver senses danger coming to their warren. He informs Hazel who organizes a group to leave their warren in search of a better place. The place they set out for is Watership Down. Along the way they encounter dangers from traps, people, and an evil army of Rabbits.


This is one of those books that’s recommended in high school. You always intend to read it but somehow never do. I mean, a 400 page tale about rabbits. It seems like it would drag when described that way. My wife purchased my copy last year for Christmas. I’d avoided reading it, because what I perceived as more thrilling books came along. However, I was making a goal of 100 reviews by the end of 2010. I had done 99 and needed one more book. I pulled out Watership Down and decided that would be #100. Even my wife said I didn’t have to finish it if it was boring. Such was not the case.

This is one of the most beautifully written fantasies I’ve read. The author creates myths, a belief system, and an entire culture around the rabbits, and does so in a well researched way. There is even their own language which is used sparingly, but is still there.

You find yourself hoping beyond hope that the rabbits will survive the problems they run up against.. There are daring escapes, and a lot of danger for them to avoid.

Just like in life the one thing we have to fear the most is our fellow man, so it is in Watership Down. The biggest danger to them doesn’t come from man, but from other rabbits.

The author managed to weave a tale involving commentary, religious ideas, a story of survival, and most of all love, into one amazing story.. My one regret is that I didn’t read this book sooner. There is no objectionable language, but there are some violent scenes that might not be appropriate for a young child. This is definitely a fantasy for older teens and adults.

I’m so grateful to my wife for purchasing it for me, and my thanks goes out to her. If she hadn’t bought it, I’d have probably missed out on a great book. It just goes to show, don’t judge a book by the cover, or even the synopsis.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

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4 Responses to “Review: Watership Down – Richard Adams”

  1. Ramon Terrell Says:

    Great review. I rember the cartoon but never bought the book. I may have to put this on my list!

  2. Kris Marasca Says:

    I’ve always rolled my eyes whenever anyone suggested I read Watership Down, but your review actually *explains* why it’s such a great book. Adding it to my list :o)

  3. Leslie Says:

    This was a wonderful book. I read it years ago before it became high school reading. Now, whenever I see a bunny in the yard I call him Fiver Rabbit.

    Nice review and hopefully it will encourage more people to pick up this book and give it a chance.

  4. meagan brown Says:

    I am very interested in this book..I love the mix of modern views with old school fantasy. I hope that this book is as great as it sounds. I want to definitely read this one. THanks for allowing us a view into the work of these authors.