Carpenter chronicles Tolkien's early life with a special sensitivity; after losing both parents, Tolkien and his brother Hilary were taken from their idyllic life in the English countryside to a poverty-ridden existence in dark and sooty Birmingham. There were bright points, however. A social and cheerful lad, Tolkien enjoyed rugby and was proud of his gift for languages. It was also at this time that he met Edith Bratt, who would later become his wife. Academic life--both as a student and professor--is where this biography shines. Friendship with other men played a huge part in Tolkien's life, and Carpenter deftly reveals the importance these relationships--his complex friendship with C.S. Lewis, membership in the Inklings and the T.C.B.S.--had on the development of his writing.
The only criticism one can make about this book is that Carpenter tends to gloss over Tolkien's contributions to comparative philology. True, there is a chapter devoted to Tolkien's academic pursuits, but it tends to skim too lightly over the surface for this reviewer's tastes. Philology is a terribly methodical science, and the author clearly did not want to alienate readers who were primarily interested in Tolkien as a storyteller. Still, it would be nice to understand why Tolkien was held in such high esteem by his fellow academics. As it stands, Tolkien comes off as a slightly eccentric etymologist.
Fans who want to delve even deeper into Tolkien's life should pick up a copy of Carpenter's The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. --P.M. Atterberry
This is a well written and detailed book and a must read for any Tolkien fan.
Perhaps the most prominent trait of Carpenter's work is the insight into the effects of various events in Tolkiens life on his literary and scholarly development.
Tolkien's life gives so much more depth to his writing, and this book takes you much deeper into the mind of man who truly made a world come time life.
Superb book! I'm a big Tolkien fan and I'm really happy to have purchased this,it's full of information I never knew but loved learning about. Definite buy if you're a Tolkien fan.Published 22 days ago by Morgan
My son wanted to read about the man who wrote The Hobbit and LOTRs.Published 1 month ago by Michelle C. Cranford
The world of Middle Earth has always been a inspiration to me since childhood, but learning about Tolkien's life has been even more of an adventure in my adult life. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Teddy
The only bio about Tolkien you need to read. A great read on it's own, but any fan of Tolkien will appreciate the insight into what kind of man he was outside of Middle Earth.Published 2 months ago by Linda K. Holshouser
A very thorough look at the personal life of JRR Tolkien, and a good view of his writings, including some previously unseen. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ''
Get to know the author of The Hobbit up close and personal. Humphrey Carpenter did an awesome job chronicling Tolkien's journey.Published 11 months ago by E. Munoz