I purchased these books in November and spent the holidays reading the chronology volume cover to cover. Rarely have I seen such a complete and detailed study of a man's life and works. At the same time it is written in a style that makes you feel as though you are living with Tolkien as a husband, professor, writer, father, and later quite fustrated and bemused idol!! It opens up information on unpublished works like Sellic Spell and the language based on Tolkien's Gothic studies - Taliska. Through the incredible work of the authors you really get a sense of how busy Tolkien's life was, the pull between his academic and family responsibilities vs. his work on Middle Earth. I was really rooting for him to finish the Sillmarillion (even though I know he would not) and that people would let him alone to get on with the work. I have always wanted to meet Tolkien and this volume of chronology made me feel the closest I have in my studies to actually meeting him. I am now reading the second volume cover to cover. Thank you authors for such an invaluable resource!
This book has so much well researched information on Tolkien's written works and life, that it is easily the best book for anyone interested in this area.
It compliments books such as the 12 volume History of Middle Earth by Christopher Tolkien, the Reader's Guide to the Lord of The Rings and The Descriptive Bibliography (the last two both written by Wayne G Hammond). The first book (Chronology) details Tolkien's Life like a diary, for each day of his file that details remain. The second volume (Reader's Guide) is a very comphrensive guide to all Tolkien's written works, friends and colleagues.
If you are interested in details of Tolkien's life and works then this is the book for you, a fantastic work.
Apart from what the reviewers above mentioned, I will point out the exceptional quality of the edition itself. The hardback books, the dustjacket, the fine paper and the well-chosen font make for an outstanding work - it is a pleasure to own it in your bookcase - not to mention the extremely informative content. It's well worth the money. Please check the customer photos that I posted, they will give you a better insight. A set well worth its money.
Contains at least one howler in attempting to debunk the conversation between Tolkien and Dick Plotz, president of the Tolkien Society of America, about Tolkien's memory of a night journey by boat past an erupting Stromboli, as the authors say the ships log showed they went past in mid afternoon. Of course a mountain that is around 1,000m above sea level seen from the deck of a ship will be visible from well over 100 km away.
The reason that I gave only 3 stars was because the item arrived damaged. But other then that your customer service was 5 stars out of 5. The way this problem was taken care of broke all speed records. Amazon-UK has set a level of service that will be hard to match.
The product itself is everything I expected. Anyone who reads the words of J.R.R. Tolkien will find it a primary source of information on anything related to his writtings. It is a must have reference source for all things Tolkien.