Book Review – Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth

Tolkien and the Great War
John Garth
Hardback – 2003

The short version is that this is a biography of JRR Tolkien during his time just prior to and during WWI, and how his time in the trenches affected his mythology.

So I picked this book up because I love anything to do with WWI and I was hoping to actually get some cool WWI flavor out of this book. Also, I’m a fan of Tolkien.

Unfortunately, this book was clearly written by a scholar. And not that that is a bad thing, per sey, but sometimes the way the book was written really bogged down what the author was trying to say. Also, sometimes, the author sort of glossed over certain things that may not have been that important but that would have helped the book connect (for instance, they talked about referenced Tolkien’s kids a couple times, but didn’t even give us their names until the post script).

So, the bottom line is this – if you’re not a huge fan of WWI *and* Tolkien – all of Tolkien – or don’t need this for school, don’t read it. If you only like Tolkien for the Hobbit or LOTR, you’re probably not going to care all that much about this book – it only talks about The Lost Tales and the Simarillion. But if you are that fan of Tolkien that just can’t get enough, read it.

So, my rating… If this is your cup of tea, it’s a must read. But if you’re not already really into both of these subjects, you’re not going to enjoy this at all. And because of that, I’m not giving this a number.

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