Friday, April 17, 2009
Tolkien and the Great War, by John Garth
Those of you who know me personally know that I'm a Tolkien nut. And when this book first came out a few years ago, I assumed it was a product of someone writing on the coattails (get it?) of the popularity of Peter Jackson's movie trilogy. But I've recently discovered, through a project I'm helping with, that this book is really quite respected in the academic community. So I bought it. And it's good. If you're a fan of Tolkien, or of 20th century British literature, or World War I history, or fantasy literature, it's worth reading. Garth discusses the development of Tolkien's writing in school, while studying at Oxford, and during and immediately after his service time in the British army, framed in the events of and Tolkien's experiences in the Great War. It's very scholarly, very professional, and the first non-fiction book I've enjoyed in a good while.