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Watership Down
By Richard Adams


Price: $5.59
Reading level: Ages 9-12+
Mass Market Paperback - 494 pages Reissue edition (August 1989)
Synopsis: (from Amazon.com)
"...The story follows a warren of Berkshire rabbits fleeing the destruction of their home by a land developer. As they search for a safe haven, skirting danger at every turn, we become acquainted with the band and its compelling culture and mythos. 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 mates, Watership Down will continue to make the transition from classroom desk to bedside table for many generations to come."



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Two interesting articles about Richard Adams

Friday 14 August 1998
Kill off 'infuriating' rabbits, Watership Down author says
Man behind beloved novel supports cyanide cull
Bruce Ward
The Ottawa Citizen

"Mr. Adams, whose 1972 bestseller brought rabbits to the forefront of literature, sees the coming slaughter of rabbits in England as a "regrettable necessity." In October, rabbit warrens in the country's rural South Downs area will be destroyed with cyanide gas to bring the rabbit population there under control. It's a measure Mr. Adams, 78, accepts with equanimity. "I've never been one of these sentimentalists. I'm not a fluffy bunny sort of person at all," Mr. Adams told a London newspaper. "If I saw a rabbit in my garden, I'd shoot it."
Read this article on-line

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Kill off 'infuriating' rabbits, Watership Down author says
Man behind beloved novel supports cyanide cull
Bruce Ward
Friday 14 August 1998
The Ottawa Citizen

It may come as a shock to the millions who loved his book, but Richard Adams is 'not a fluffy bunny sort of person at all.'

England's Rabbits Lose Their Greatest Ally: The rabbit Fiver, shown here in a still from the film version of Watership Down, looks down in horror at a rabbit warren running red with blood. Now, in the part of England where the book is set, exterminators plan to flood rabbit warrens with cyanide gas to kill off an out-of-control rabbit population -- a move Richard Adams, who wrote the book, calls 'a regrettable necessity.'

Run, Fiver, run. Bigwig, be very afraid. Thousands of rabbits are awaiting extermination in England, and Watership Down author Richard Adams is turning his back.

Mr. Adams, whose 1972 bestseller brought rabbits to the forefront of literature, sees the coming slaughter of rabbits in England as a "regrettable necessity."

In October, rabbit warrens in the country's rural South Downs area will be destroyed with cyanide gas to bring the rabbit population there under control.

It's a measure Mr. Adams, 78, accepts with equanimity.

"I've never been one of these sentimentalists. I'm not a fluffy bunny sort of person at all," Mr. Adams told a London newspaper. "If I saw a rabbit in my garden, I'd shoot it."

In 1972, Mr. Adams chronicled the quest of a rebel band of Berkshire rabbits for a new home, a warren where they could live in peace.

The fantasy, with its allegorical overtones, caught the public's fancy, and Watership Down became an international besteller. An animated film version of the book was made in 1978.

But the rabbits apparently have lost their greatest ally.

"When they see a row of lettuces they have an annoying habit of taking a bite out of each one them moving on," said Mr. Adams, who lives in a village in Hampshire, where Watership Down is set.

"It would make it less infuriating if they ate the whole thing, but no, they take a little nibble out of them all.

"It's a habit, a bit like cocaine. Once they start, they want more and more."

Watership Down, Mr. Adams's first book, began as a tale he told to his daughters on a car trip. It carries the dedication "To Juliet and Rosamond, remembering the road to Stratford-on-Avon."

Besides selling millions of copies, the book was also a literary success, enchanting the critics. "Magically well made and memorable," gushed the New York Times. The Manchester Guardian called it "a great book ... A whole world is created, perfectly real in itself, yet constituting a deep incidental comment on human affairs."

Mr. Adams's views on the fate of the South Down rabbits mirror the bloody world he created in Watership Down.

His fictional rabbits are shot, gassed, and choked in snares. When the bucks battle, they rip each other with their claws.

At the Swan's Hotel pub in the village of Kingsclere -- near the top of the actual Watership Down -- there was strong support yesterday for Mr. Adams.

"It's not our patch, but there's too many rabbits there in the South Downs," local resident Martin Boyce said in a telephone interview.

"They should have done something before. Now they have to get rid of the rabbits, as Mr. Adams is saying."

Don't count out the rabbits just yet.

In one of the book's most famous passages, Dandelion recounts the story of how Frith, "who made the world," blesses El-ahrairah, the Prince Rabbit.

"All the world will be your enemy, Prince With a Thousand Enemies. And wherever they catch you, they will kill you.

"But first, they must catch you -- digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed."
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My afternoon with Richard Adams by Jamie Cohen Spring 1999 (House Rabbit Society)

"Richard professes to have done a lot for animal welfare. Besides helping to make it very difficult to buy a fur coat in London now, from 1980 to 1982, Richard served as president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I told them how I got into animal rights because of rabbits. "I learned of them using rabbits in animal testing, putting them in stockades and dripping things in their eyes. I know they all have sweet little personalities like my rabbits." He agreed that testing on them is terrible. He is very aware intense confinement issues, human health, environmental issues. He said, "Plague Dogs was deliberately set up to satirize animal experimentation as well as government and tabloid press. It was set up at England's lake district where Elizabeth and I went on our honeymoon."
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  • The Real Watership Down Page
    This is an excellent website containing much information on Watership Down. Also, photos of the area described in the book Watership Down.
  • The official Watership Down web site
  • Richard Adams: Ruohometsän kansa
    This page is intended mainly for Finnish audience, since we discuss the translation of Watership Down by Richard Adams into Finnish. However, here is also a thorough collection of links into various websites that discuss the novel, its sequel or the movie, that also non-finnish readers might find interesting.
  • Hyzenthlay, Thethuthinnang, and Vilthuril's Burrow
    My site is basically a home base for the fanfics that myself and my friends write on Watership Down. It doesn't have much, since there isn't much to assist us on creating the website. It revolves around Hyzenthlay, Vilthuril, and Thethuthinnang mostly, and the adventures that they have.
  • Watership Down
    A comprehensive site for information on the novel Watership Down, it's sequel Tales From Watership Down, and the Watership Down movie. Contains information about lapine myths, warrens, characters of note and a section dedicated to the plants that the rabbits are named after.
  • Laura's Watership Down Page
    This is perhaps one of the largest Watership sites on the web! This page is equiped with sounds and a few of my writings. A large image archive is on the way!
  • Differences Between Editions of Watership Down
    This site describes differences between editions of Watership Down, and also lists various editions.



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