Skip to main content
PBS logo

Book Reviews of Watership Down

Watership Down
Watership Down
Author: Richard Adams
ISBN-13: 9780380002931
ISBN-10: 0380002930
Publication Date: 1/1/1976
Pages: 496
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.

4.1 stars, based on 566 ratings
Publisher: Avon
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

59 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Watership Down on
Helpful Score: 17
honestly, I put off reading this for a long time. not outright, but I always had other books higher in the to-read pile. I did not know what the book was about, except that it had to do with rabbits, and perhaps a boat. there is a boat, of sorts I guess, but thats not where the Ship in the title comes from. for moon-calf Americans like myself, I will explain that Watership Down is a place name. its a hill.

so the book is about rabbits on a hill? well, yes, but no, of course not. honestly this is one of the best books Ive ever read, and I immediately went out and ordered it in hardcover as I know I will be rereading it at least once every two years for the rest of my life. thats how amazing it is. so, no, not just rabbits on a hill.

and the rabbits are not Disney rabbits, or Lewis Carrol rabbits, wearing waistcoats and top hats or helping a princess with the household chores. Adams, with fantastic storytelling, weaves you into the world of real rabbits in a delightful, astonishing, and sometimes quite harrowing way. oh, if you only know rabbits to be fluffy little poopsies, you can think again. and you might not feel so comfortable wearing bunny slippers after this, either!

this book is an adventure unlike anything I was expecting. I was laughing; I was on the edge of the bed with my eyes wide open; I was even crying, and it takes one hell of a story to make me cry. I was practically blissful at the end of the book, even though it was over.

yay, Watership Down :D
MarciNYC avatar reviewed Watership Down on
Helpful Score: 6
I recently gave a copy of this to a friend who said to me, "Rabbits? For years I thought this was about a boat!" Guess she'd never seen the cover of the book. *g*

That said, this ranks right up there with Betty Smith's 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn' as one of my all time favourite books. Who would have throught a book about RABBITS would be engaging?

It was a very emotional read - sorrow, anger, joy and every emotion in between was felt as I read this book. I have vague memories of the animated movie and lots of blood - so I had been scared to read this book even though I had wanted to do so for several years. I'm thrilled that I read it now and found it a wonderful read - a fantastic story of survival against all odds. (Yes, I might hunt down the movie just to see it 'in action'!)
reviewed Watership Down on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A fantastic adventure story about a band of rouge rabbits who strike out on their own for a courageous journey that proves their courage and friendship are the epitome of strength. Overcoming extreme obstacles to triumph in the very face of evil, these rabbits will have readers hooked from the first chapter. This book is the definition of a timeless classic and one I've read at least once a year every year for the last 19 years after my grandmother gave me my first copy when I was only 11. I've literally read the cover off of at least 6 copies of it since then.
bookchica avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
I was recommended this book by a customer at the library where I work. He said it was his favorite book of all time and at first I was a little skeptical but once I started reading I started to see why. The rabbits the story revolves around are great characters. They struggle to survive and to find a new place to call home. The story is interesting and you even get to hear the rabbit creation myth and other tales from the beginning of rabbit time. I thought the first half of the book was a little slow but once the rabbits get to Watership Down it speeds up and is hard to put down in places. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys classics or animal-centered stories.
reviewed Watership Down on + 187 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
The timeless classic novel of exile, courage and survival. A wonderful story told through the eyes and lives of a band of rabbits...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." If you've thought that a story about rabbits couldn't be compelling, you are in for a wonderful experience. You feel their excitment, their fear, their pain and finally their joy at finally finding a place to call home. A truly beautifully told story. And one that humans could certainly learn from!!
beccalaa avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is one of the best I've ever read - 4 times. It is hard at first to pick up a book about rabbits. Rabbits? Well, I can assure you, this book is about so much more than just rabbits. It is a very well-crafted story of striking out into the unknown because staying would be worse, and carving your niche into the world with people (or rabbits) you can count on by your side. It is about society, politics, fear, love and control. It is about all of these things and more, and yes, it is also about rabbits. If there is only one book you pick up that you are unsure of, make it this one. I guarantee you will find it as amazing as I did!
reviewed Watership Down on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
A Hare-o-ing tail of courage and survival on the Down. Written from a rabbits point of view its quite unique. I liked it.
reviewed Watership Down on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is one of my most favorite books. I think that everyone should read it. I have just never read about characters that I fell in love with like these ones and all the troubles they have I just couldn't put it down.
reviewed Watership Down on
Helpful Score: 2
Great summertime reading material... Book was fun to read and the cast of characters were easily lovable!
Only issues I had was with the "rabbit" language that was used... every once in awhile I would have to refer to the glossary of terms which slowed up the reading

Overall.... I would recommend... Definitely a classic!
reviewed Watership Down on + 130 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I had remembered this as a childrens book, but in the rereading discovered there is more involved, courage, loyalty etc. Fun book for all ages.
reviewed Watership Down on + 24 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is by far my absolute favorite book of all time. I cannot wait to read it with my daughter when she's a bit older. It is a long book but it is worth your time. The characters, Hazel, Big Wig, and all the rest are amazingly "real". Do yourself a favor, read Watership Down.
reviewed Watership Down on + 200 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a marvelous novel. It is a tale of exile and survival. It tells of a group of adventurers who leave their city and go out in the midst of danger looking for a new home and a better future.
reviewed Watership Down on + 186 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A classic of literature. The mystical world of rabbits and their leaders, their fortunes and misfortunes, as they search for peace and happiness for their new warren.
reviewed Watership Down on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I adore this book. It is, hands down, my favorite book of all time. It's hard not to fall in love with Fiver, Hazel and the rest of the crew. If you've never read it, take some time and do so. You won't be disappointed. It's all about the bunnies!
reviewed Watership Down on
Helpful Score: 1
I've read this book more than any other book I've ever read. I first read it in 7th grade and then several times after that. It's simply a wonderful book that everyone should read.
reviewed Watership Down on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A great story from the viewqpoint of rabbits, with more than enough similarities to the so-called "civilized" world of humans to make it very interesting.
reviewed Watership Down on + 1435 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
When I told my daughter I was going to read this novel she was surprised that I never had. Always it has been in the back of my mind to do so. What surprised me was that the cover depicted a resident of a rabbit warren - perhaps even one of the characters in this very book. It's a story with so many messages that it merits being read whenever one needs a pick-me-up. This is a tale of courage, bravery, ethics, love and danger told through a warren of rabbits who seek to live a life of freedom and safety.

Wise Hazel is the leader - calm, methodical and thorough. He cherishes the lives of each and every member of the warren. Little Fiver sees the future or maybe just has feelings about what is to come based on what he observes. As a visionary, his dreams of the future guide actions taken by these rabbits. Bigwig is a soldier or policeman if you will who served in the old warren's Owsla. He defends them all against danger and runs a great bluff, too, when he needs to do so. Dandelion, the speediest of them all, is a fine storyteller who entertains everyone with tales of the past. Blackberry is the strategist - being a most clever planner who comes up with all sorts of ways to forge ahead, avoid danger and provide protection for the warren.

Some feel that this is a children's book and it can indeed be read as such. However, others treat the book as mirror for human society with rabbit characters instead of human. As I began the read, I thought so, too, but I soon found myself moving into the second group. Whichever way you view this novel, it's a wonderful read and one you can return to again and again.
reviewed Watership Down on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I was surprised, I really enjoyed this book. Richard Adams did a great job of adding suspense and really drawing you into the book. Once I started reading it, it was hard to put down.
reviewed Watership Down on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
In short, this book is a masterpiece. A voice spoken with such empathetic eloquence, that not once, will you ever be able to look at a rabbit in the same way.
armybrat4 avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Such a wonderful story that follows the lives of a group of rabbits fleeing danger and trying to find a new home. I fell in love with the characters to the point of sheer upset when the book was complete! I reread this book every couple of years and am delighted every time.
jasony avatar reviewed Watership Down on
The great classic I remembered as a child....still intriguing as an adult....
reviewed Watership Down on + 7 more book reviews
I have read this book several times. I get something new out of it every time. I love it.
nrlymrtl avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 297 more book reviews
Lots of fuzzy bunnies. Theyve got ambitions, bad dreams, prerogatives. Watership Down starts off with one rabbit that has been blessed with the gift of foresight having a bad feeling and that is why he and those who will follow must leave the warren. A handful of connies set out, not really knowing where they are going nor really why, except Fiver has a vague, deep feeling of dread towards the warren.

Soon Fiver is proved right and we learn of the doom of the home warren. The rabbits have made it to a new warren, very laid-back, breakfast served every day by humans. Fiver and Hazel and crew consider staying for a while. However, soon Fiver is expressing his concerns and fears and the hares must move on after a nasty encounter with a wire trap.

I enjoyed how the rabbits had their own mythology and stories. There are several segues into these tales and they were instructive and imaginative. While there were few female characters, probably because they came into the story late, they are considered integral in sustaining the new warren.
reviewed Watership Down on
I absolutely adored this book, and have read it many times. If you believe, I first read this back in late elementary school, and it's been a permanent addition to my bookshelves ever since. This is one of those stories that anyone could read and enjoy.
bpasero avatar reviewed Watership Down on
Good book, enjoyed it. Maybe a little predictable.
reviewed Watership Down on + 13 more book reviews
Classic novel!
reviewed Watership Down on + 14 more book reviews
A very thought provoking book! A classic.
reviewed Watership Down on + 58 more book reviews
This book was on my 8th grade required reading list, but by 8th grade I had already read it several times, It's still one of my favorite to this day.
reviewed Watership Down on + 5 more book reviews
One of my absolute favorite books.
azmichelle avatar reviewed Watership Down on
One of the best books I have ever read. I won't be swapping this one, as I will probably want to read it again and again. Highly recommended!
knittymama avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 424 more book reviews
This is the greatest adventure story of all time. It's for boys and girls, young and old. I've read it countless times since age 10 when a friend let me borrow it. I loved it so much that I conveniently "forgot" to return it to her. Hey, I was 10, give me a break...ha ha ha. I have several copies of my own now and I can't say enough good things about it. I enjoy reading to my kids and they love it too!
reviewed Watership Down on + 90 more book reviews
A classic for any age.
reviewed Watership Down on + 21 more book reviews
Epic tale of a hardy band of adventurers forced to flee the destruction of their fragile community.
anrkistpengwin avatar reviewed Watership Down on
This book was brought to my attention while reading Brian Jacques' Redwall series of books. I managed to suffer through the first 200 pages of this novel before I couldn't stand it anymore. The rabbots in this book are afraid of everything. I couldn't count the number of times the author would mention they would hear a noise and hide for a while. Not very good at all.
NYbooks avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 95 more book reviews
Classic bunny tale adventure. Sound silly? It's not. It's absolutely thrilling.
wryter avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 12 more book reviews
If there was a rating higher than 10, I would post it. I think (along with many others) that this is the greatest book ever written. The author gives wonderful description, narrative, and dialogue. Watership Down is the story of a group of rabbits who flee their doomed warren in search of safer meadows. The reader is pulled into the journey as they become oddly attatched to the rabbits of the story. I recommend anyone to read this book, or at least give it a fair try. And don't fool yourself into thinking it's about just a bunch of animals. It's so so much more than that!
reviewed Watership Down on + 16 more book reviews
Not really intended to be an analogy, but it seems like one to me. I loved the story of the different personalities and cultures. They were rabbits, but they seems to have many of the same traits as we humans do.
reviewed Watership Down on + 23 more book reviews
Insite into the life that goes on in the warren where the rabbits live.
reviewed Watership Down on + 82 more book reviews
Richard Adams's bunny-centric epic rarely fails to win the love and respect of anyone who reads it, regardless of age. Like most great novels, Watership Down is a rich story that can be read (and reread) on many different levels and is a corking good adventure. A warren of rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer, search for a safe haven, meeting danger at every turn. Adams has crafted a touching, involving world in the dirt and scrub of the English countryside, complete with its own folk history and language (the book comes with a "lapine" glossary, a guide to rabbitese). As much about freedom, ethics, and human nature as it is about a bunch of bunnies looking for a warm hidey-hole and some new mates.
knittymama avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 424 more book reviews
My all time favorite book!
cyndij avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 1031 more book reviews
I read this as a teenager and was interested to see how it would hold up 40 years later. It's still a lovely book. Starting with natural behaviors, Adams created a wonderful imaginary rabbit society, including creation myths and heroes. The rabbits embody both good and bad "human" values: bravery, self-sacrifice, greed, sloth...the dream of a safe place to call home. It's a classic for good reason.
reviewed Watership Down on + 26 more book reviews
Loved it
reviewed Watership Down on + 30 more book reviews
One of my favorite books of all time.
DanielleFM avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 177 more book reviews
a GREAT american classic
reviewed Watership Down on + 240 more book reviews
A group of adventurers, who leave their city in search of a new home and a better future.
reviewed Watership Down on + 8 more book reviews
Wonderful story. I will always love this book about a world of rabbits.
reviewed Watership Down on + 21 more book reviews
Spellbinding a great book
reviewed Watership Down on + 2 more book reviews
Great book.
reviewed Watership Down on + 518 more book reviews
i read this book in seventh grade. it was my favorite then, and is my favorite now. i LOVE this book (i am only listing a duplicate copy, still have the original)!
reviewed Watership Down on + 2 more book reviews
This is an excellent story. It's about rabbits, yes, but every adult should read this one. Just read it.
reviewed Watership Down on + 8 more book reviews
Interesting book.
reviewed Watership Down on + 2 more book reviews
Such a good story. A literary inspiration.
reviewed Watership Down on + 16 more book reviews
If you've never read this--you should.
reviewed Watership Down on + 3 more book reviews
A little violent, but unusual
dredogA avatar reviewed Watership Down on + 4 more book reviews
such a cute story!
snoopymel avatar reviewed Watership Down on
The book I am posting has a different cover than that posted above, but same content. It's a 1975 edition. I haven't read actual book so don't know if it's any good.
reviewed Watership Down on + 23 more book reviews
Front and back cover torn, pages yellowed, but in readable condition.
reviewed Watership Down on
A 7th grade reading requirement.
Tasses avatar reviewed Watership Down on
This copy has a different cover