Saturday, June 16, 2012
20. Tolkien and the Great War
Rated 4 Stars
Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth" by John Garth is not a full-scale biography of Tolkien, it is rather an examination of his experiences during World War One and the influence of those experiences upon the development of his writing and concepts behind Middle Earth.
I thought this book was very interesting. But while I am a huge Lord of the Rings fan I never got into any of his other books. I tried the Similarian once but I'm just not enough of a fantasy reader to get into it. I think that I found a lot to interest me in this book because I was not being required to actually really read any of his other stuff but got more of an overview. Kind of an abridged version of a Readers Digest condensed book.
It was also interesting to me to see how his writing evolved. I found it fascinating to follow him and his coterie of friends from boyhood through The Great War. Tolkien's relationships with a close-knit group of school-friends known as the "TCBS" -- The Tea Club and Barrovian Society, originating as a cluster of like-minded youths at King Edward's School in Birmingham, youths with lofty artistic ambitions and a belief that destiny would indeed carry them to artistic heights.
But Lord, for a group that was founded on humor and snappy repartee these young men certainly ended up taking themselves seriously. But then WWI was pretty serious.
So to sum up my total reaction - While liked this book and I greatly admire him and his work, I will never be tempted to try to read any other of his books.