J.R.R. Tolkien

The Man Who Created the Lord of the Rings
Book cover: 'J.R.R. Tolkien: The Man Who Created the Lord of the Rings'
Michael Coren
Number of pages: 
82 pages
Grade / Age level: 

This is a surprisingly good, very readable biography of one of the most popular authors of all time. J.R.R. Tolkien was born in South Africa, the son of an English banker. After her return to England and the death of her husband, Tolkien's mother, Mabel, converted to Catholicism. Shunned by relatives after this, she was assisted by a kind parish priest who took care of her two sons after she died at age 34.

Michael Coren skillfully recounts Tolkien's life - growing up as an orphan, his lasting interest in language and learning and his battle experience in World War I. All the way through he includes interesting and enlightening details - especially ones that we will recognize as relevant to Tolkien's stories. Despite the secular publisher, Tolkien's faith is discussed in some detail (and quite fairly) with Joseph Pearce's book, Tolkien: Man and Myth, (Ignatius Press) featured as a prominent source. Coren does include brief summaries of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings which include some real plot-spoilers for those who haven't yet read them (they also aren't the most accurate book summaries I've ever read). I would suggest reading this biography after already having read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Although intended for youth reading, the story is delightful and interesting for adults (as well as a nice quick read).

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