20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating insight into the Tolkien's influences,
This review is from: The Road to Middle-earth: How J. R. R. Tolkien Created a New Mythology (Paperback)
Shippey is an academic with an interest in both science fiction and fanatsy literature. As such, it is excellent to see intellectual resources of this calibre being used on a literary work loved by millions, and usually sneeringly dismissed by the academic fraternity - Lord of the Rings (and the other associated works and jottings).
I found this book very interesting as it laid out some of the influences in Northern European mythology which led to the creation of Middle Earth and which shaped it subsequently. It also puts it in the context of Tolkien's day job as a philologist at Oxford University, and what Tolkien was trying to achieve through his writing (besides simply enjoying himself).
In particular, it was nice to see an intelligent exposition of these matters by someone who clearly enjoyed Tolkien's works, and who was able to bring to bear the academic background to give justice to Tolkien's achievement.
This book was written long before the films were a twinkle in Peter Jackson's eye, and so this is not a cheap attempt to cash in. Instead, it is a passionate and learned book which I recommend highly to anyone interested in the genesis of Middle Earth.