Tom's Reviews > A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18

A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War by Joseph Loconte
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This is a sloppy book, but I enjoyed it and benefited from it.

Sloppy: Loconte makes a few errors (other readers found more than I did) here and there, and makes too many grand sweeping statements, lumping Lewis and Tolkien together with other thinkers and readers with whom they had major differences. This work reminded of Eric Metaxas' book on Bonhoeffer: a bit of revisionist history that was mostly harmless, oversimplifying the complexities of the people and times involved. His language is colorful throughout, which makes for an easier read, but it has the effect of making the reader think Loconte is trying to sensationalize history... which is sort of what he's doing. And the book is a bit sprawling for its subject... makes me wonder if he had a certain page quota with the publisher.

Enjoyment and benefit: I share Loconte's basic outlook on life, so his sweeping generalizations didn't rub against my sensibilities. In many ways it reinforced my own worldview... something one can't help but enjoy a bit. The greatest value of the book: his extensive quotes of the progressive writers of the early 20th century. He wants his readers to connect the collection of quotes with the issues of our own day. In my view this is an important connection to make: the assumptions that drove the genocide and wars of the 20th century are still alive and well in the 21st.

Loconte clearly went to great effort to research the War and the two writers. He also seems to have done some personal research. The result is that we look at WWI through a personal lens: the lives of Lewis, Tolkien, and, bringing it down from the ivory tower, Loconte's own family.

Would I read it again? No.
Will I poach it for quotes? Yes.
Would I recommend it? Yes, I already have... with some caveats.
Do I wish he had a better editor? Yes.
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Reading Progress

February 4, 2016 – Started Reading
February 4, 2016 – Shelved
February 27, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-3 of 3 (3 new)

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Chris Borah 3 stars!? Do elaborate ;)


Chris Borah 3 stars!? Do elaborate ;)


Chris Borah Which sweeping statements and revisions? Maybe be we'll have to discuss it with book in hand over a beer soon :)


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