• Tolkien and the Great War

  • The Threshold of Middle-earth
  • By: John Garth
  • Narrated by: John Garth
  • Length: 11 hrs and 25 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 28-04-11
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Limited
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 (13 ratings)

Summary

A new biography exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s wartime experiences and their impact on his life and his writing of The Lord of The Rings.
“To be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than in 1939 … by 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.” So J.R.R. Tolkien responded to critics who saw The Lord of the Rings as a reaction to the Second World War.
Tolkien and the Great War tells for the first time the full story of how he embarked on the creation of Middle-earth in his youth as the world around him was plunged into catastrophe. This biography reveals the horror and heroism that he experienced as a signals officer in the Battle of the Somme and introduces the circle of friends who spurred his mythology to life. It shows how, after two of these brilliant young men were killed, Tolkien pursued the dream they had all shared by launching his epic of good and evil.
John Garth argues that the foundation of tragic experience in the First World War is the key to Middle-earth’s enduring power. Tolkien used his mythic imagination not to escape from reality but to reflect and transform the cataclysm of his generation. While his contemporaries surrendered to disillusionment, he kept enchantment alive, reshaping an entire literary tradition into a form that resonates to this day.
This is the first substantially new biography of Tolkien since 1977, meticulously researched and distilled from his personal wartime papers and a multitude of other sources.
©2011 John Garth (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
Show More Show Less

Critic reviews

"Very much the best book about JRR Tolkien that has yet been written. Even if you are not a Lord of the Rings fan, I commend this book to you. It is all so interesting in itself, and I have rarely read a book which so intelligently graphed the relation between a writer's inner life and his outward circumstances." (A.N.Wilson, Evening Standard)
Show More Show Less

Regular price: £12.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Buy Now for £12.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By petitbilbo on 25-01-15

A deep insight in the creative process of a genius

Well written, well documented and the narration, by the author (with supposedly no training in this craft) is quite excellent.

During the listening, old pangs of nostalgia felt when I first read Tolkien came up.

Very well done.

Read more Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Doctor G on 09-06-18

Powerful and profound

One of the half dozen best books ever written about Tolkien; and indeed one of the best books about friendship, war, and the formation and nature of a genius. This audio version is well read by the author, who has a rare gift for speaking poetry. Listening to Tolkien and the Great War moved me to tears more than once, despite that I already owned and knew the paper version - this brings an extra dimension.

Read more Hide me
See all reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Timothy Ortopan on 09-05-18

Excellent Text Frustratingly Recorded

The text of this title is remarkable and the performance is also quite good, but for reasons that not clear the audible chapters do not correspond to the actual chapters of the book. This makes it very difficult to alternate reading and listening to the text. The chapters of the recording are seemingly random and are not connected to the subject at all. I find this makes for an incredibly frustrating listening experience. I have no idea why audible would insert the chapter divides this way, but I hope that they never do this again. I have been a member for almost five years and this is the only title I have encountered where this has been done.

Read more Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Wes on 26-04-18

I enjoyed every minute!

Part biography. Part literary analysis. John Garth is a brilliant scholar. He has a deep understanding of Tolkien and his scholarship and literature.

Read more Hide me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

See all reviews