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BACKGROUND INFORMATION - BIOGRAPHY
Richard Adams is a British author of fantasy tales whose first book Watership Down was his road to enduring fame. He also wrote The Plague Dog and Shardick, among others. Adams was born in 1920 and is still living in the area that formed the setting for Hazel and his friends.
Some critics have found political implications in his book, but Adams himself claims to have had no political agenda when writing his books. The origin of Watership Down is an oral story with which he entertained his two daughters. After hearing it, they urged him to write it down. Two and a half years later, the novel was finished.
Richard Adams has been married to his wife Elizabeth for nearly 50 years. Although he left his public service job to devote himself to writing, he has spent most of his life doing a variety of British Civil Service jobs. He has been in coast protection, in slum clearance, and has worked with the Ministry of Education among other things.
He has also been active in the fight for animal rights and elimination of animal drug testing and wrote Plague Dogs as a deliberate satire on animal experimentation. While it was Watership Down that allowed him to retire to a life devoted to writing, Adams claims that his book Shardick is the best book he has ever written.
The story is adult fantasy inspired by a series of oral tales that Adams had invented to please his daughters. There is no deliberate correlation with historical or political events although general knowledge of human civilizations allows for such a comparison. (This is discussed further in the overall analysis)