Tom's Reviews > Tolkien and the Great War: The Threshold of Middle-earth

Tolkien and the Great War by John Garth
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's review
Aug 22, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: biographies, non-fiction, history
Read in August, 2011

A wonderful Christmas gift from my brother, who realizes and encourages my being a huge nerd.

This is an interesting look at J.R.R. Tolkien's formative years in public school, college, and being sent to the trenches of the Western Front and his participation in the Battle of the Somme. It is interesting how these periods just before and after his deployment were incredibly productive, especially in regards to honing his interests and creating the languages and mythologies which would be fleshed out with The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and the The Lord of the Rings.

This book does an extraordinary job explaining how the languages were systematically created using phonological and morphological elements which Tolkien learned in his study of archaic Germanic languages. After reading this, it is hardly a surprise that Tolkien was such a highly regarded scholar and linguist. It also goes into the close friendships Tolkien had with some of this schoolmates, and the tragedy that only one of his closest friends survived the war.

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