"In England, there lived a man..."
Reviewed by Dot Dittman
Posted February 27, 2015
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
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
that clearly shows that it was his inspiration for the
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
those who want to know more about this fascinating man
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
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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