on 24 January 2003
This is a beautiful book comprising the last three histories of Middle Earth; Morgoth's Ring, The War of the Jewel and the Peoples of Middle Earth. The Histories of Middle Earth are intended as a companion to the Lord of the Rings, and go into great detail about the history, peoples and cultures of this magical land. I would recommend this edition, as opposed to the paperbacks, as it is almost the same total price, but this lovely hardback will last longer and looks better. Highly recommended to the avid fan of Tolkien - but if you found Lord of the Rings hard to get through, then don't bother.
on 5 September 2002
With this mammoth release, we get the literary backstory, so to say, of J. R. R. Tolkien's turmoil and travails of the composition of one of the most complex fantasies every constructed. Gather all twelve previously published volumes into three huge books, these tell the final story of Tolkien's world, in all its grandeur and heart breaking beauty. The hefty price tag that is attached is to be expected, seeing it covers twelve expensive single volumes. The first two volumes deal with the earliest form of THE SILMARILLION, the next are the epic LAYS that were never completed, and showing Tolkien was a poet of very accomplished calibre. THE SHAPING deals with the geography and physical history, while THE LOST ROAD shows us an unfinished novel and several other unearthed treasures. The real meat, to literary historians who are not specialized in Tolkien and to the causal fan, is the volumes VI-IX, which deal with the creation of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, one of the most significant volumes ever released the world, online with Homer, Virgil, and Dante. This is a graduate level look at what goes in the making of a literary masterpiece. The last of the volumes deal with Tolkien's attempt to recast THE SILMARILLION in sometimes radical departures from the accepted structure. The last volume is THE PEOPLES OF MIDDLE-EARTH, which are the appendices of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, and several interesting tidbits, included a Numenor story and THE NEW SHADOW, the aborted sequel to THE LORD OF THE RINGS.
This publication is for the serious student and lover of J. R. R. Tolkien's work. The causal fan will find this much too expensive and much too expansive. For those only marginally interested the volumes dealing with THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy novel should be looked at. But those who love Middle-earth and want to marvel at Tolkien's work, this is a must-have purchase. It's a very rare opportunity to see the creation of a work of such massive import to our international societies. Tolkien's commitment to this birthing process of a beautiful work of art truly stands out as one of the great efforts of Man to give homage to his God, as Tolkien saw it (read his essay on Faerie Stories), and I see it as well. Get it and become immersed – though beware this detailing the construction of this elaborate universe, which means these are rough drafts and various other things that didn't make it into publication in Tolkien's time, adding a huge amount of material to Tolkien's fandom to consider. Christopher's editorial notes are a must have. Thanks to the Tolkien family and to Christopher for their support of their father (who died in 1973) and of his son for the publication of this work. A very unique moment in literary history indeed.
on 6 July 2014
I got this collection of three books this year and have read all but one page of them.
In part three there was a printing error. This was replicated in the identical place in the replacement copy and so I have had to return the book(s).
I found the information absorbing and as complete as anyone could wish. The most useful & enjoyable part was the second one (stories about versions of LOTR). I would be spoiling it if I put some of the variations I discovered. If you have read John Rateliff's The History of the Hobbit then the revelations about e.g. Gollum or who Gandalf was are nothing compared to some of the variations explored (& rejected) concerning the Fellowship. The story would have been with such a different feel!! Peter Jackson appears a purist compared to some of these.
So if you are intrigued: you will have to get these books. They are not cheap and I have still not got the full set as I am waiting for a clean copy to come back to me. HOWEVER since I did not get them through Amazon, I cannot complain about Amazon or any of its providers. It is the publisher themselves who have got this mistake to correct and to either refund me or to get me a clean & complete copy for Part 3 (this one) Perhaps if you buy this you would like to check the pages corresponding to book XII The peoples of Middle Earth Page 344... I hope it is in perfect condition for you.