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A Hobbit Journey: Discovering the Enchantment of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  131 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
An expert on "The Hobbit "and The Lord of the Rings trilogy shows how a Christian worldview and themes undergird Tolkien's classic works.
ebook, 272 pages
Published September 1st 2012 by Brazos Press
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Eustacia Tan
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I came late to the Lord of The Rings fandom. While I missed out on quite a few things, I'm now grateful I missed out on the LOTR movies (the Peter Jackson ones). At least, that's the impression I have after reading A Hobbit Journey.

A Hobbit Journey is an analysis of the LOTR books, including the prequel (The Hobbit) and the "sequels"/canon. The book discusses issues like the ethics of war (including the question, is torture ever justified?), freewill, and the role/portrayal of religion in the bo
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read The Lord of the Rings about ten years ago and absolutely loved it so I was very excited to read this book and get a better understanding of Tolkien. Dickerson knows his subject well and I was impressed with his depth of knowledge on Tolkien and all of his works. The books main subject is how Tolkien's Christian views are shown in his books in a way that is not totally obvious to the reader. Dickerson shows with examples from the books how Tolkien shows the importance of Christianity in hi ...more
This is one of those remarkable texts that, when discussing the contents with friends, truly solidifies your nerd status. Without a question, I loved this book. It will remain for me a reference and an inspiration in my understanding not only of Tolkien's world, but also of my own.

Dickerson moves at a fluid pace, neither striding ahead in leaps and bounds nor dragging the reader forward against their will. I found the approach to be logical, well-documented, and rooted in the heart of the Tolkie
Timothy Darling
This book was an extreme fun read. It has something for everyone, the theologian, the literary critic, the historian. To follow the "Hobbicentric" stories along with the deep background JRRT put into his work is a real delight.

I can't recommend this book for everyone. You've got to be willing to ply through some pretty dry material. However, the payoff is brilliant. The connections between LOTR and Beowulf are interesting to sift. Also, Dickerson highlighted some ideas I had come up with awhile
R. Fox
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is as insightful a book on Tolkien's fiction that one will find out there. Very well done. Insightful. And it definitely demonstrates the relevance of Tolkien's work for present times. Having read tons of works about Tolkien and his literary corpus, I would say this is certainly one of the better ones.
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed the author's look at the hobbit and was surprised at finding some of the themes of the The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, such as the themes of torture and warfare. Would read it again.
The book explores free will and morality and how those themes run though the Hobbit and the LOTR. It is a worthwhile read for fans of Middle Earth.
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien
Excellent book on really understanding Tolkien.
Brenten Gilbert

Dickerson may have gone far beyond the deep end in his explorations of the text. Shrouded in academics and literary criticism, A HOBBIT JOURNEY seeks to excavate meaning from The Hobbit with thorough analysis and complete immersion in the text. The problem with this book is that it takes things more seriously than many people might find healthy. It’s a more difficult read, as Dickerson tosses around ten-dollar words and makes this more akin to a collegiate dissertation than a casual d
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Two themes predominate in Dickerson's book: free will and the nature of morality. In his exploration of Tolkien's views on these subjects it is fairly evident that Dickerson enthusiastically endorses those views, so in what follows I will make no effort to separate Dickerson's treatment of those themes from Tolkien's views on the matter.

Dickerson goes to lengths to show that the 'good' characters in the ring trilogy have and exercise free will, as opposed to the 'bad' characters who are essentia
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At times an excellent reference, and others the springboard to new books, this book takes Tolkien's works (focusing mainly on Silmarillion, Hobbit, and the Lord of the Rings, while referencing "On Fairy Stories", "Leaf by Niggle", and "Letters of JRR Tolkien" frequently, among others) and analyses them with a fine toothed comb. Discussing philosophy, morality, and the Norse and Germanic influence crafted into his works, and the inescapable Catholic essence Tolkien unconsciously wove through as w ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
This is one of the better Tolkien criticisms that I have read. Dickerson's critical works complement each other nicely.
Peter Holford
From the introduction: "The central question this book addresses is, What can we learn from hobbits and from their vision of the Good Life, and how does that apply to our own present situation?" If you just love Tolkien's stories for their own sake, you may not be particularly interested in this book. I've never been keen on attempts to find "the special meanings" in Tolkien's work. I've heard and read interviews with him in which he quite clearly denies the idea of there being an allegorical or ...more
Shellie Taylor
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tolkien, religion
I read this book a few years back and I own the paperback copy of it, but this time I decided to listen to it. I absolutely love this book. Matthew Dickerson has a wonderful way of truly highlighting all that is lovely and meaningful in Tolkien's writing. This book takes a more Christian-view approach which could be why I liked it. I viewed it as a study. There was a point when Dickerson talks about Tolkien's view on allegory and having read Tolkien's letters personally I agree with him that all ...more
Sep 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. If you read J. R. R. Tolkien books for fun, than you may not enjoy this book as it expounds on what Tolkien both explicitly related and implied about characters, places, and time periods in his writings. The title of this book, A Hobbit Journey, does not really describe the content of this book. I also didn't find the book as a discovery of the Enchantment of Middle-Earth. If you are a scholar studying Tolkien or a student who has been ...more
Justin Hill
Feb 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
Excellent! Took a couple of chapters to get into it but now I want to read more Tolkien.
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Lord of the Rings" is a masterpiece and very influential book. It now has a growing body of quasi-academic works that seek to explain Tolkien. His book seems to be well-researched and is I periodically interesting. The greatest drawback with this book is that it is very repetitious, and consequently, it is longer than it needs to be. It does help one to appreciate the scope of Tolkien's labours. He employed all his knowledge and research to craft his books about Middle Earth.
Noelle Campbell
Dec 26, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is like a rehashing of rehashing with no more love or joy in the exploration. Just plain exploitation of the information the author already had on hand and, heck, Why not exploit it because the movie is coming out? If you've read any book on Tolkien (the man) you don't need to read this book. It's dry and loveless. Besides, it's hard to hear someone go on about exploiting forests and industry when the author is so obviously exploiting the reader.
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great exploration of Tolkien's Middle Earth stories examining the meanings Tolkien may have implied with different characters and with the Middle Earth world as well.
It gives the reader a deeper understanding of the mythology of the Hobbit stories.
Gina Shives
This book provides background information and insight into the thoughts and beliefs of J.R.R. Tolkien that help readers to better understand the characters and events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
Katharine Harding
I really liked this. But I think you need to be at a minimum a fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to fully appreciate it. By which I mean have re-read them both a few times (the author has clearly done this!) In addition, it may have persuaded me to re-read the Silmarillion.
Sam Heaton
decent overview of how the writings of Tolkien had Christian underpinnings.
G. Peterson
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Jul 25, 2014
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Jan 11, 2017
Amy T.
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Lucy Bonney
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Jul 28, 2016
Yuri Rowley
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Nov 12, 2015
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Dan james
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Matthew Dickerson (PhD, Cornell University) is a professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, a writer, the former director of the New England Young Writers’ Conference at Bread Loaf and the current co-director of the Northern Pen Young Writers' Conference. His previous works include fantasy novels The Gifted and The Betrayed; works about fantasy including From Homer to Harry Potter along with Narn ...more
More about Matthew Dickerson...
“Again and again, where Tolkien’s heroes make heroic choices, Jackson’s versions of these characters must be tricked or forced or involuntarily stumble into the courses of action that seem to make them heroes. It is important, therefore, to see just how important choice was to Tolkien, and to heroism.” 1 likes
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