Watership Down Nook Edition by Richard Adams Click Here to Download the Book One of the most beloved novels of our time, Richard Adams's Watership Down takes us to a world we have never truly seen: to the remarkable life that teems in the fields, forests and riverbanks far beyond our cities and towns. It is a powerful saga of courage, leadership and survival; an epic tale of a hardy band of adventurers forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community . . . and their trials and triumphs in the face of extraordinary adversity as they pursue a glorious dream called "home." Watership Down is a remarkable tale of exile and survival, of heroism and leadership . . . the epic novel of a group of adventurers who desert their doomed city, and venture forth against all odds on a quest for a new home, a sturdier future.
Reviews To dismiss Watership Down because it’s a book about a bunch of rabbits is to deny yourself a very great pleasure. The genre of this book is difficult to categorize because it’s one of those books that is more than its setting. (Star Wars, for example, really doesn’t qualify as science fiction; it may be set in space and have blasters and aliens, but it’s still a hero myth with princesses and wise old mentors and questing and so forth. Science fiction – or, more specifically, speculative fiction – is concerned primarily with human reactions to new and unfamiliar situations. See The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for a good example. [Incidentally, it has been said, and correctly said, that science fiction is the only genre that is judged by the worst of its examples.]) But I digress. Yes, Watership Down is a book about a bunch of rabbits. It’s also a story of how one ordinary rabbit discovers the potential for great leadership within himself. He isn’t particularly large, or particularly strong, or particularly clever; but he is level-headed, and he listens to his followers’ advice and (with one major exception) makes sensible, well-reasoned choices. After a long quest, with group, individual, and even spiritual components, he establishes peace and prosperity for the warren he leads. One notable feature of the book is that Richard Adams is not writing about a bunch of humans who have fur and long ears. He is distinctly writing about rabbits. This feat is difficult to accomplish. Even just writing about a different human culture is hard enough (witness the thousands of Harry Potter fanfics in which Hermione is clearly American, not British and definitely not English); to successfully portray a group of non-humans in a way that is recognizably not human but still recognizable to humans is astonishing. But you don’t have to think about all that to enjoy Watership Down. You can simply read a fun adventure story with thrills, danger, laughter, and tears. I recommend Watership Down for everyone from young children (though parents may want to keep an eye out for nightmare fuel) to crusty old English professors.
This book is an oldie but goodie! I thought about it again recently when I saw a photo of a bunny on my college roommate's facebook page and thought, 'that's Hazel!'. Quite coincidentally, my mom landed on the Kindle page for the book emailed to me that we should really re-read it. I promptly downloaded the sample, just to make sure my taste hadn't changed and was hooked all over again. Back in the late seventies, this book was a huge bestseller. (The story of its publication and subsequent fame is quite interesting and you will find it in the forward written by Adams himself) It actually took off in the UK before it took off here. My mom read it and then she gave it to me to read. Since that day, whenever I see a rabbit, I can't help but think of the wonderful characters that Richard Adams created in this book. If you read it, you will never look at a wild bunny the same way again. ;-) If you aren't familiar with it, 'Watership Down' starts out as the story of a about a dozen of rabbits who flee their warren in order to escape the imminent destruction of their home by man. The characters are absolutely wonderful and Adams creates a portrait of not only how these animals organize themselves as a community (there are police, a council of elders and even a see-er), but also how different communities of rabbits could be as varied as are the world's peoples, governments and religions. Myth and oral history figures prominently in the book as well, and the story of the rabbits' journey is interwoven with tales from "rabbit lore," passed down from the generation. The reader is introduced to characters of myth with stories like "how the rabbit got his tail," "why rabbits are so fast", and "why they have so many enemies".
The mythology reflects both the rabbits' history and reflects their spirituality. In his forward, Adams insists that the tale is simply that, a tale. Adams invented the characters and the stories as bedtime tales for his children, and at their insistence, he finally threaded them together and created the book. But reading the book you cannot help but think of so many societies including Native Americans and the totalitarian regimes of Hitler and Stalin. For me, the entire concept is immensely compelling, and sheer genius. Its hard to believe he didn't have allegories in mind ahead of time. Some have called the book "Homer's Odyssey about rabbits". Others say the mythology is similar to tales of Robin Hood. Others have compared it to Animal Farm in the way it shows animals in complex human political situations. Whether it is pure entertainment or an allegory or two or three, it doesn't matter. Its an absolutely WONDERFUL book that should be on everyone's reading bucket list. This book is one of my all time favorites.
I first read this when it came out in paperback (I was in elementary school for sure) and enjoyed it. Was supposed to see the movie but transgressed somehow and as punishment was not allowed to go. For years I didn't see it. Then a few years ago I rented it from Netflix and thought it was not bad (unlike the film travesty of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, which took a much-loved children's tale and converted it into a pile of dung which sucked big-time). Recently, a friend was going to donate his copy and asked if I wanted to re-read it first. Not only did I say, "Yes," but after finishing it, decided to keep it. Yes, the characters are wild rabbits, but the drama and richness of their existence rivals that of Tolkien, Zimmer or Rowling for character development and realism in a purely fantastical world. This is not only recommended, it's a keeper, folks! Not to mention my cats REALLY liked the animated film version, and anything that can hold a cat's attention for two hours is nothing short of remarkable.
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