Book Review: WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams

Watership DownWatership Down by Richard Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel follows the trials and tribulations of a group of rabbits who leave a warren upon a warning from a prescient little rabbit named Fiver. Their exodus is fraught with peril from nature, man, other animals, and even other rabbits. The challenges they face threaten their unity as well as their survival.

Adams builds an intriguing cast of characters. Hazel is thrust into a leadership role. Bigwig is the physically powerful security chief. Fiver is the intelligent runt gifted with ESP. General Woundwort is the cunning and terror-inspiring enemy they must defeat to live in peace.

The book contains life lessons interspersed:
– One learns that the quintessential lover may also be a fighter.

– It shows how building alliances outside one’s comfort zone (sometimes outside one’s species) may allow one to win out over those rigidly uncompromising

– One discovers that sometimes one can only win by risking everything.

I found it to be a unique concept and very readable.

You’ll have to learn a little rabbit vocabulary and mythology, but there’s a glossary.

View all my reviews

3 thoughts on “Book Review: WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams

  1. Thanks for this description of Adams’ novel. Since I read so many books about animals, or told through or by animals, when I was younger, I’d forgotten until recently reading Jonathan Livingston Seagull that the universal themes are still applicable in books told in this manner, yet an elevated sense of escapism is there, too, which is a great part of what makes reading exhilarating. Thanks for the post.

    Damon Ferrell Marbut
    Author, Awake in the Mad World


    • It’s interesting you mention the universality. The back blurb on the paperback copy I have gives on no indication that it’s about rabbits. “…epic novel of a group of adventurers who desert their doomed city…” Between that and the fact that the cover I have is much different than the one that shows in the post (the rabbit is smaller and secondary to a compass), I had no idea it was about rabbits until I kept reading.


  2. Pingback: BOOK REVIEW: Stray Dogs by Tony Fleecs | the !n(tro)verted yogi

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