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Watership Down
(Richard Adams)

The story follows the adventures of a group of rabbits, who escape from their home, Sandleford Warren, which is smoked out by farmers. Together they travel through fields and forests, searching for a new home. On the way, they meet with hardship and dangers. Where is the next source of food and water coming from? Can they be safe from foxes and other predators while they sleep?

Hazel, a brave young rabbit, emerges as the leader of the group. He leads the group through trials and adversities, having some very close shaves with death. Hazel learns to trust the instincts of his brother, Fiver, and gets Blackberry, the thinker, to help them solve problems. He uses the strength of the biggest rabbits, Bigwig and Silver, while looking after the weakest of the group, Pipkin and Fiver. Hazel befriends a bird, Keehar, and a mouse, and their friendships serve the rabbits in time of troubles. The rabbits tell stories of El-ahrairah, the folk hero of rabbits, to keep their spirits up.

The first Warren they find is Cowslip's warren. Cowslip's warren appears to be a paradise, where food is plenty and the rabbits are fat and well-groomed. Hazel's group is invited to stay. However, it is soon apparent that things are not so rosy. In return for the comfortable life and good food, the rabbits live in an understanding that they are harvested by the local farmer.

Escaping Cowslip's warren, the rabbits find another warren - Efrafa. Efrafa is run as a totalitarian military regime by the General Woundwort. Hazel, Bigwig, and the other rabbits do valiant battle with the rabbits from Efrafa. Using their brains to outwit the enemy, they finally escape.

At last the rabbits find their haven, Watership Down. They build their home there and settle down. The only problem is they are all bucks, they need does to join them. Bravely they set off once again to do battle with Efrafa. Using Hazel's cunning and wit, they defeat General Woundwort and his forces. Efrafa and Watership Down become friendly neighboring warrens.

Although the book is about rabbits, and describes the lives of the rabbits in detail, including imaginary rabbit culture and history, it is the human qualities and characteristics that stand out in the story. It is a book about leadership, courage, and friendship.

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