Book for January 2014
The title refers to the rabbits' destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of Hampshire, England, near the area where Adams grew up. The story began as tales that Richard Adams told his young daughters Juliet and Rosamund during long car journeys. As he explained in 2007, he "began telling the story of the rabbits ... improvised off the top of my head, as we were driving along." He based the struggles of the animals on the struggles he and his friends encountered during the Battle of Oosterbeek, Arnhem, the Netherlands in 1944. The daughters insisted he write it down—"they were very, very persistent". After some delay he began writing in the evenings and completed it 18 months later. The book is dedicated to the two girls.
After being released from the army in 1946, Adams returned to Worcester College to continue his studies for a further two years. He took the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in 1948 and Master of Arts in 1953. After his BA graduation in 1948, Adams joined the British Civil Service and held the rank of Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, later part of the Department of the Environment. It was during this period that he began writing fiction in his spare time.