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Watership Down - The Book of Friendship

Updated on August 21, 2016
Austinstar profile image

L. Cargill, B.A., Sam Houston University, Huntsville, TX., has been writing cool and interesting articles for the internet world since 1995.

Watership Down in England

This looks like the world of the Watership Down rabbits. Their life adventures begin and end much the same as our own.
This looks like the world of the Watership Down rabbits. Their life adventures begin and end much the same as our own. | Source

Watership Down - A Review

Watership Down is about rabbits in search of a home. How does this premise make a best selling book? The rabbits are so life like with human emotions and special intuition that they reach out and touch your heart. The words of the book captivate the aura of life in our world.

The rabbits are threatened by a disaster looming on the horizon. The end of the world is near. Fiver sees it. He feels it and he is frightened enough to overcome his shyness. He convinces the other rabbits to flee their home and start on a journey that will change their lives forever.

Do Rabbits Have Dreams? Do We?

Rabbits are the best of creatures, yet they have a thousand enemies.
Rabbits are the best of creatures, yet they have a thousand enemies. | Source


Reading Watership Down is akin to coming home. Home is where we live. Home is what makes our lives complete and satisfying.

Even rabbits have a home, a burrow to call their own. A warren is their community. The rabbits must survive against great odds to build and defend their homes. In this manner, they become human. They are our family.

If any human could become a strong, kind and beautiful animal, it would be the rabbit. The Watership Down rabbits build an entire world of incredible characters, abundant adventures through life and a wonderland of homes. We would surely live this way if we could.

Friendship and Loyalty

Of all the books I have ever read, Watership Down touched me as no other book before or since. The book is a link between fellow rabbits of the world, and by rabbits, I mean the souls of people that become our friends.

We all have friends that resemble the characters of the book. These characters have warmth and depth. They have sense and ambition. They all learn to do what must be done to get along in life. The leaders face tough decisions that must be made for good or bad. Their advisers and families must build the community.

Some of my very best friendships have come about due to this very book. The lovely characters overcome great and terrible odds to achieve worthwhile goals. This is the story of life. This is the plot of all great books and Richard Adams tells our story well.

A Permanent and Lasting Review for the Book of Friendship

5 stars for Watership Down

Other books by Richard Adams

Although none of his other books have reached the status and fame of Watership Down, Adams has written several other books of literary note:

  • The Plague Dogs - Snitter and Rowf escape the horrors of an animal research center
  • Traveller - the story of Robert E. Lee's devoted horse
  • Shardik - A bear worshiped by a primitive, yet engrossing people, a book of war, romance, and adventure
  • Maia - A rich tapestry of story telling. The tale of a beautiful woman sold into slavery
  • The Ship's Cat - Incredible detailed and imaginative children's book that has become a true collector's item
  • Tales From Watership Down - An insider's look at the stories the rabbits tell to their children
  • The Iron Wolf - richly illustrated compilation of well known folk tales
  • The Girl in a Swing - described as a "haunting and erotic story of the supernatural" - easily yet another masterpiece of literature

Richard Adams has written many other books and collaborated on others. He is without doubt an author to read, learn from and respect. His writings are inspiring, memorable and should be top of the list for any author to set aspirations by.

About Richard Adams

Richard George Adams, born on May 9th, 1920, best known for his incredible personification of the rabbits of Watership Down,is one of the best known English authors. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, attaining that distinction in 1975.

He told the story of the rabbits to his two daughters. The girls loved the tales so much that they convinced Adams to publish it as a book. The first edition sold over a million copies in record time. Watership Down is a modern classic and has won the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 1972. However, this is not a book just for children by any means.

While most of Adams' books look at life from the 'animal' point of view, he is not restricted to animal characters. He is a master of human thought and emotion. His animal characters seem very human. His human characters become terribly and undeniably real.

Adams still writes and currently lives in Hampshire, England. He was born and raised in Berkshire and what a wonderful place that must be.

Adams served in the British Army during World War II and then joined the British civil Service. He studied modern history at Bradfield College.

Other Wonderful Books by Richard Adams

My well worn paperback edition of Shardik by Richard Adams
My well worn paperback edition of Shardik by Richard Adams | Source

What do you think?

Is Watership Down by Richard Adams one of the best books ever written?

See results

© 2012 Lela

Comments - Have you read Watership Down? If not, will you read it now?

Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    6 years ago

    quite agree!

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    It's as bad as seeing the cruelty that mankind inflicts on himself.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    It was a beautiful book (and the film) and made me cry as well, although Plague Dogs also made me cry seeing the cruelty that man can inflict on animals.

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    The story is sad in parts, but it is the triumph of the rabbits that counts in the end. They learn, they laugh, they love. It's a story of ultimate friendship.

  • Jamie Brock profile image

    Jamie Brock 

    6 years ago from Texas

    I remember seeing this movie as a child and just feeling overtaken with sadness and just sobbing.. Not that it was bad but for some reason it was so incredibly sad to me. I would definitely be interested in reading this book. I honestly don't know if I could handle the movie again though. Thank you for this hub.. I will definitely look into reading the book :)

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    This is a book that requires a big over stuffed chair and some cocoa. Be prepared to read for at least one or two hours straight. You will then have to take a short break, but you will want to return to the warren as soon as possible.

    I speed read at about 1,000 wpm, but I had to slow down to enjoy every marvelous story. It took me about 3 days to read it through the first time and many hours of re-reading to fully enjoy.

    Now I feel like I need to read it again.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 

    6 years ago from New York

    I'm embarrassed to say I've never read this! I've heard about it and read ABOUT it but never read it. You've done a lovely, enticing review that tells me its time to read it!

    Voted up, useful, and interesting.

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    I think we should read this book at least every five years or so. The lessons learned are good for life.

  • lanablackmoor profile image


    6 years ago from New England

    I adored this book, both it and the movie (amazing but just not the same emotional intensity for me) makes me cry every single time. You're so right, it really is such a good metaphor for the friendships in our lives. I need to pull this one off the shelf again soon.

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    Yep, I was looking for a copy too. Checked Amazon's lending library, but not there. Did anyone else notice that "The Ship's Cat" had a price tag of $126.00!

    I thought this must be a misprint, but I don't think it is. It's a very valuable book.

  • suziecat7 profile image


    6 years ago from Asheville, NC

    Yup, like Drbj, you've made me want to go out and read this wonderful book again. Great review!

  • christopheranton profile image

    Christopher Antony Meade 

    6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

    It must be thirty years since I read that great book. I think the time has come for me to revisit it.

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    6 years ago from Washington

    Too funny--I read Diana Gabaldan books and I don't think there are many BIGGER books--they always seem so daunting but then same thing--I start reading and I cannot put it down. Can't wait to pick it up~~~I ordered it as soon as I read your hub--now I just have to find time to read it! I used to read a couple of books per week but lately...not happening~

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    Audrey, don't look at the thickness of the book - it's huge! You may need one of your dogs to carry it for you. But I know you will love it. You are a good writer and story teller and that is what this book is about. Well, it's actually about life, the universe and everything. But once you start reading, you will be hooked ;-)

  • akirchner profile image

    Audrey Kirchner 

    6 years ago from Washington

    Unbelievably, I've never read it so guess what I'll be adding to my pick up list at the library~ Where have I been? Thanks for the tip, Lela and will hope for a life changing moment--I could use one these days~

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 

    6 years ago from south Florida

    This is a very remarkable review, Lela, of a very remarkable book that I read once years ago. Now thanks to your well-written reminder, I think I shall have to read it again.

  • Austinstar profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

    I read it over 40 years ago, so You could not have told me to read it. I read it while I was pregnant with Richard, who is now 47 or 48 years old. Watership Down gave me the courage and knowledge to live a real life. Without that book, I would probably be dead. That's how much it meant to me.

    It is unforgettable. And to think I only picked it up at the library because it was the thickest book I could find and I had run out of every other interesting book in the library.

    Yes, all of my very best friends have read the book and I think we are deeper friends because of it.

  • RealHousewife profile image

    Kelly Umphenour 

    6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

    LELA! OMG! I LOVED that book! You are so right, I read it many years ago and have never ever forgotten how much I loved that book. Did I recommend it to you? I just told someone not long ago to read it!

    I am so glad you got a chance to read it ... It was so unforgettable, friend:)


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