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Tolkien, November 2014
by Devin Brown

Abingdon Press
Featuring: JRR Tolkien
160 pages
ISBN: 1426796706
EAN: 9781426796708
Kindle: B00M08FTEW
Paperback / e-Book
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"In England, there lived a man..."

Fresh Fiction Review

Devin Brown

Reviewed by Dot Dittman
Posted February 27, 2015

Non-Fiction Biography

The last photograph of Tolkien was taken in 1972 in The University of Oxford Botanic Garden leaning against "his favorite tree—the twisty, deformed Black Pine." This enormous tree was the inspiration for the Ents in the LORD OF THE RINGS.

The preceding information is just one of the fascinating tidbits included in the book, TOLKIEN: HOW AN OBSCURE PROFESSOR WROTE THE HOBBIT AND BECAME THE MOST BELOVED AUTHOR OF THE CENTURY. Devin Brown has taken information from numerous biographies and records and gathered them into a kind of Tolkien primer that is a delight to read.

While I don't consider myself an actual "ringer," I do profess myself to be a loyal Tolkien fan and with the exception of only one or two, so is everyone in my family. As I read TOLKIEN, I found myself sharing little gems from the life of the author. It's one of those kinds of books.

Devin Brown has written an extremely accessible and quick reading book—after all, it is only 192 pages, and packed with information about Tolkien's life. But it is even more. Mr. Brown takes the facts of Tolkien's life and connects them to instances in his books. For example, when Tolkien was in World War I, his company was at the Battle of the Somme. He describes the aftermath of the battle in a letter that clearly shows that it was his inspiration for the Dead Marshes in Lord of the Rings. A hiking trip to the Switzerland Alps, according to Tolkien himself, was behind the idea of the Misty Mountains. These and many more instances are included in the book.

Besides the facts and the connections in Tolkien's works, Brown has also paid tribute to the universal truth present in all of Tolkien's writings—that every life has meaning even if it seems to be an unimportant one. Tolkien fans and those who want to know more about this fascinating man will enjoy reading TOLKIEN. It's a quick and enjoyable read.

Learn more about Tolkien


J.R.R. Tolkien transformed his love for arcane linguistic studies into a fantastic world of Middle Earth, a world of filled with characters that readers the world over have loved and learned from for generations.

Devin Brown focuses on the story behind how Tolkien became one of the best-known writers in the history of literature, a tale as fascinating and as inspiring as any of the fictional ones he would go on to write. Weaving in the major aspects of the author’s life, career, and faith, Brown shares how Tolkien’s beloved works came to be written.

With a third follow-up film and the book’s release the same month, there’s a large interest in the faith values for these works. This book addresses that deep hunger to know what fuels the world and worldview of The Hobbit’s celebrated author, Tolkien.

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