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The Power of the Ring: The Spiritual Vision Behind the Lord of the Rings Paperback – 1 Mar 2005

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 24 Feb. 2009
By Trudy Shaw - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, a heads-up that "The Power of the Ring" is really a second edition of "Secret Fire." The only difference I can find between the two is the addition of the discussion of the Peter Jackson movies in "The Power of the Ring." I didn't realize that when I bought the books and ended up owning both of them.

Stratford Caldecott is the ideal author for this book. He lives and works in Oxford as Director of the Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture, is married with several children, and is a traditional English Roman Catholic, all of which is helpful for getting "inside" Tolkien's spirituality. He also has a depth of knowledge regarding Tolkien's works and an ability to write about scholarly subjects without seeming scholarly.

Although I believe only a Catholic could have written this book, I by no means think only Catholics will get anything from it. It's a book about the spirituality of one man - J.R.R. Tolkien - not about Catholic theology. It's simply that we needed a book like this written by someone who could understand Tolkien's faith from the inside in order to make sense of it for everyone. I'd recommend it for non-Christians who want to discover why they find themselves resonating with Tolkien's writing. I'd recommend it for non-Catholic Christians who have difficulty seeing his subcreation as fundamentally Christian. I'd recommend it for Catholics who want to possibly experience a bit of the Fire that's at the center of it all.

In my 39+ years of being an active Tolkien reader, this book is one of the few about him that have gotten me truly excited. It deserves to be much more widely known than it is.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not a Catholic, but loved the book 2 Nov. 2012
By G. Morris - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Just a word of praise to say that there is much here to appreciate no matter your Faith, faith, or your unfaith. Writing is worded so that you can understand how JRRT's Christian and Catholic Faith impacted him and his works without having to know RC doctrine. Perhaps there is much more there for those who do profess Jesus Christ as RCs, but there is plenty for the rest of us too. As someone who is a bit short on attention span, and quick to get to the hearts of matters, Caldecott's style was much appreciated. So sorry to see the prices have skyrocketed since i purchased mine here... seems another printing is in order!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best (Catholic) readings of Tolkien 12 April 2008
By Dr. Peter A. Kwasniewski - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains profound insights into the theology and spirituality in Tolkien's books. Caldecott gives the background of Tolkien's personality, letters, excerpts from other writings in order to provide a clear picture of what's at work in the Lord of the Rings. The chapter "Behind the Stars" is among the deepest commentaries on JRRT's work as a whole.
Very fine. Definitely worth owning.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Book 25 Feb. 2006
By J.R.Z. - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was more than pleasantly surprised at Stratford Caldecott's The Power of the Ring. I began reading the book in order to become more formally knowledgeable about opinions surrounding Tolkien's vast work, and I finished reading the book for pure pleasure. Caldecott takes the reader through specific aspects of Tolkien's world in relation to Christian, and more specifically Roman Catholic, beliefs. He discusses not only themes in The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, but also the Silmarillion and other Tolkien essays as well. However, even the reader who is not necessarily familiar with the less-familiar Tolkien works will find this book accesible and an enlightening read. Caldecott does a superb job of not assuming the reader has absolute knowledge of Tolkien's work while still avoiding summarizing. He provides a perfect blend of Tolkien's own statements, ideas from some of Tolkien's good friends, textual evidence and personal theory to demonstrate Tolkien's more subtle themes surrounding light, death, imagination, etc. that Tolkien perhaps wanted to make in his work. I have gained a deeper understanding of and greater aprreciation for Middle Earth through the reading of this book. Any reader interested in learning more about Tolkien and his own thoughts on his series should consider reading this book, even if a person does not have Christian beliefs. The book will simply allow one to look deeper into Middle Earth and realize there is a lot more present in the many threads that may be sited upon a first, or even fifth reading.

Also, Caldecott provides a relatively short and yet intriguing review of the Peter Jackson films which was fascinating and also a good read for people interested in motivation behind certain film decisions.
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