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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for Tolkien fans!
Although a fair amount of this book's content has appeared previously--in "The Road to Middle-Earth"--I nevertheless recommend it highly. No author has done more to deepen my appreciation of Tokien's works than Tom Shippey. His knowledge of philology, especially, and explorations of Middle-Earth's philological roots are invaluable for helping one understand...
Published on 24 Sept. 2000

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3.0 out of 5 stars The road goes ever on and on though all worth looking at has gone
Tom Shippey's The Road To Middle Earth is so good that I found this in a bookshop and bought it, just like that.

What a disappointment. I suppose I should have expected, from the title, that it would be The Road To Middle Earth all over again, but with everything informative, interesting or critical discarded - but I didn't. There we are. In my naivety I...
Published 11 months ago by Merget


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read for Tolkien fans!, 24 Sept. 2000
By A Customer
Although a fair amount of this book's content has appeared previously--in "The Road to Middle-Earth"--I nevertheless recommend it highly. No author has done more to deepen my appreciation of Tokien's works than Tom Shippey. His knowledge of philology, especially, and explorations of Middle-Earth's philological roots are invaluable for helping one understand the sense one gets, while reading The Lord of the Rings, that Middle-Earth was real. Also, his study of Tolkien's conception of evil--and of the Ring as addictive--confirms what I myself thought about Gollum: that never elsewhere have I seen a better depiction of an addict, one that rang true for my personal experience. Even if you've read "The Road to Middle-Earth" there's enough new here--and in any case, Shippey's ideas are worth reading again--to make it worth purchasing. Highly recommended!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien's critics answered, 19 Nov. 2001
This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
Tom Shippey does not only answer Tolkiens critics in this book, which he does very well, demonstrating the inconsistencies of their approaches which appear to arise from an inherent bias against a totally invented world - as they see it, he also describes in some detail the sources of Tolkien's inspiration in the old English and Norse legends of a thousand or more years ago. Spoiler alert - this book should not be read before the Lord of the Rings itself, or the Hobbit, since Tom Shippey discusses the plot in some detail as part of his analysis. An excellent book for Tolkien fans to read, since it contains enough obscure refrerences to deepen anyone's enjoyment of LOTR. Even better than The Road to Middle Earth - and contrary to what some people have said, the second book is not simply a rehash of the first to tie in with the film.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reader-friendly fascinating erudition, 28 Aug. 2007
By 
Q (Harefield, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
if it had not been for the 'extras' on the dvd of jackson's LOTR, i would never have heard of tom shippey. however, i was impressed with what he said and how he said it, so i went searching online to see what books he had written. i found this one, among others, and am very glad i bought it. it is learnèd and erudite without being pompous or arrogant and he clearly knows his subject extremely well. his knowledge is far-ranging and his insights into JRRT and middle earth are fascinating.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible yet nonetheless engages deeply with its subject, 25 Feb. 2004
By 
Steve (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
Tom Shippey has thought deeply about Tolkien's motivation in his fantasy writings and has a philologists's insight into the topic.  Accessibly written though it is, this book demands some serious thinking on the part of the reader to extract the full benefit of the author's scholarship.  One dimension of Tolkien's inspiration that is surprisingly little investigated here is his Catholicism but even so there's meat enough for the serious Tolkien afficianado.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly as immersive as the LOTR books themselves!, 29 Jan. 2012
This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
I can only chime in with most of the other reviewers, but this book deserves all the praise. I found it pretty much as un-put-downable as Tolkien's own writing.

Even if you're not into literary criticism but just love the Tolkien books and worlds, I think you will enjoy this book too. You can tell Shippey deeply cares about the characters, stories, languages, poetry... as much as any fan. It doesn't pick apart or clinically analyse the books but only gives even more depth and perspective to your appreciation of them and Tolkien as a writer and creator.

If on the other hand you are looking for a rigorous critical study, this book fully achieves that too.

Shippey's own style of writing is pleasantly straight-forward and unpretentious, but with warmth and sensitivity, not forgetting humour.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book that makes you want to read more, 19 Dec. 2002
By 
Ed Fisher (Hamburg, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
Tom Shippey has produced a masterpiece justification of why J.R.R.Tolkien deserves the honor of the title "Author of the Century", not only in the U.K. but on a worldwide basis. While many great books were published in the 20th century none were written by an author as time restrricted as Tolkien. To go one better, besides the magnificent "Lord of the Rings" he found time to write everything from simple poems & short stories to the world loved "The Hobbit". We also learned from the "History of Middle-Earth" series the voluminous amount of background material he developed to guarantee the LotR was as completely believeable with regard to real time, inserting sub-stories with the main text, creating languages for the different races. etc.
The area in which I found this book to shine is Mr.Shippey's referrals to numerous books by many authors which support, or are dismisssed as they relate to, Tolkien and/or his works. Most of all he actually made me want to go and reread many of the books he references, which was both a delight & a burdomsome task. For all the books I've read that relate to J.R.R.Tolkien and/or his works I can honestly say that this one stands out as the best I've read in recent times & from the size of my library that's quite a praise to award.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to get to know Tolkien ..., 23 July 2013
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pacem et amorem (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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I have read other Tolkien biographies and think that Shippey has achieved amazing things with this. He has conducted some really good research into Tolkien's background, inspiration and has give the reader a real insight into the genius of the man who created some of the best literature the 20th Century saw.
Tolkien was a one-off, a master of language who could create wonderful worlds for our imaginations to inhabit. Many authors who followed in his wake have acknowledged his role in influencing them. He crafted imaginary countries and the people, cultures and languages needed to make them seem real. It would be difficult, well-nigh impossible, for anyone to better his literary achievement which had been many years in the making and was still not completed at the time of his death.
Any Tolkien fan will voraciously devour the pages of this fantastic biography of one of our most gifted British authors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please note this is NOT a new edition as described but a REPRINT !, 12 May 2010
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This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
I checked with HarperCollins UK and they confirmed to me there is no new edition ...this is just a reprint !
However , this is a CLASSIC ! just like Tom's previous book 'The Road to Middle-earth'...WELL WORTH BUYING !
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3.0 out of 5 stars The road goes ever on and on though all worth looking at has gone, 12 July 2014
This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
Tom Shippey's The Road To Middle Earth is so good that I found this in a bookshop and bought it, just like that.

What a disappointment. I suppose I should have expected, from the title, that it would be The Road To Middle Earth all over again, but with everything informative, interesting or critical discarded - but I didn't. There we are. In my naivety I thought it would be full of new things.

Don't waste your money; it's a fan mag. Buy The Road To Middle Earth, which remains the best book about Tolkien's writing that has been published.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for those who want to find out why Tolkien wrote the way he did, 6 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century (Paperback)
Really well written and incredibly informative, I learned a great deal about one of my favourite authors. In particular it is the other literature and how they helped shape Tolkien's own thinking that were really well developed. Lots of academic detail but not too much for the reasonably serious fan.
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J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century
J. R. R. Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey (Paperback - 7 May 2010)
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