"Very much the best book about J.R.R. Tolkien that has yet been written." -- A.N. Wilson
"A highly intelligent book ... Garth displays impressive skills both as researcher and writer." -- Max Hastings
"It is a strange story that Garth tells, but he tells it clearly and compellingly." -- Tom Shippey
"Somewhere, I think, Tolkien is nodding in appreciation." -- Charles Matthews, San Jose Mercury News
"Gripping from start to finish and offers important new insights." - Library Journal
"A labor of love in which journalist Garth combines a newsman's nose for a good story with a scholar's scrupulous attention to detail... Brilliantly argued." -- Daily Mail
"Insight into how a writer turned academia into art, how deeply friendship supports and wounds us, and how the death and disillusionment that characterized World War I inspired Tolkien's lush saga." - Detroit Free Press
“To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 . . . by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.”
So J.R.R. Tolkien responded to critics who saw The Lord of the Rings as a reaction to the Second World War. Tolkien and the Great War tells for the first time the full story of how he embarked on the creation of Middle-earth in his youth as the world around him was plunged into catastrophe. This biography reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology into life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil.
This is the first substantially new biography of Tolkien since 1977, meticulously researched and distilled from his personal wartime papers and a multitude of other sources.
John Garth argues that the foundation of tragic experience in the First World War is the key to Middle-earth's enduring power. Tolkien used his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generation. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day.
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A biography exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of "The Lord of The Rings". The period of Tolkien's life in which he fought in The Great War has remained largely unexplored and unresearched by his many and various biographers. This volume concentrates specifically on this period life and relates it to his creation of some of the world's best-loved literary works. Having lost many of his friends from school and university in the First World War, this, coupled with his time spent as a signaller in the Royal Lancashire Fusiliers, had a profound impact on him. As did, it would seem, the writing of G.B. Smith, a close friend who was sadly lost in the War. Invalided home from the Somme,Tolkien was able to reflect on his life, and John Garth argues that, far from being a flight of fancy, "The Lord of The Rings" is, in fact, a product of his wartime experiences and stands as a great war novel.Review:
Millions of new captives of the Lord of the Rings saga have been roped into J.R.R. Tolkienís fantasy world as the result of Peter Jacksonís three-part cinematic interpretation of the great 20th century fantasy. John Garthís Tolkien and the Great War will certainly captivate an elite segment of those recent converts, but it is written more for those who have long been enthralled by Middle-earth and its fantastic denizens. While many early readers found parallels between World War II and the Lord of the Rings fairy-tale, Garth reaches back to World War I to find the deep roots in Middle-earth. Prior to the Great War, Tolkien was a scholar with a deep passion for language and fables. In fact, he formed a literary circle with a few friends dubbed the Tea Club and Barrovian Society. Its members had the misfortune of coming of age just as the war was reaching a fevered pitch; Tolkien, a second lieutenant in the British army, survived the bloody Battle of the Somme, which took the lives of two of his closest friends. Garth adeptly chronicles how the devastation Tolkien witnessed helped shape the mythic tale that was already brewing in his mind. Written with a seriousness one associates with the time it chronicles, Tolkien and the Great War is a erudite but eminently readable exploration of how the harsh reality of the early 20th century colored one of the beloved fantasies of the modern era. --Steven Stolder
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Book Description Harpercollins Pub Ltd, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 7119526
Book Description Harpercollins Pub Ltd, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007119526