J.R.R. Tolkien (1892.1973), beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but even as he studied these classics he was creating a set of his own.
While the price of this book is steep, this is easily the best version of this book in print. The gilded pages and high-quality leather look, smell and feel wonderful. This is not the questionable quality leather used on previous versions, this is the real deal. More importantly, this version has, as J.R.R. recorded in letters, reproductions of the Book of Marzubul. These are the pages from the Dwarven book found in the Mines of Moria by Gandalf and the Fellowship. In the begining and ending of the book are also included maps that fold out to render Middle-earth for the reader, again as the author originally wanted.
This is the book that Tolkien dreamed of having published but couldn't due to the realities of post-WWII publishing costs and questions about a 400,000 word publication.
For me, there is an emtoional response to this book for two reasons. One, it is as fine or better than the book the author originally wished to have published and two, it is a beautiful piece of art all on its own, suitable for display. If you love books or love Tolkien or both, this is a must have and the centerpiece of any worthy collection.
(Some are commenting that the book isn't actually leather. Be sure to check your version as there are others available, but the information provided to me stated my copy was leather and if it is fake, it fooled me.)
This is not a review of Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings". Its having been voted "The Greatest Book of the Millenium" here on Amazon.com says more than enough about the worth of Tolkien's work. Rather, it is a review of the several hardcover editions of this fantastic story.There are for major hardcover editions of LOTR, all published by Houghton Mifflin Co. They are essentially the same price, so I will not take that into consideration.The best of the editions (5 stars) is the blue Alan Lee illustrated version printed in Nov 1991. I have owned this book for several years, and read it three times. It is durable, beautiful, and has no flaws that I have found. The illustrations are wonderful, though most Tolkien fans will have seen these pictures before.The red edition printed in Nov 1974 is also a solid edition of the book (4 stars). It is every bit as good as the blue version, but does not have the illustrations. If you are the type of reader that prefers to leave everything to your imagination, this is the version for you. Both the blue and red versions have matching editions of "The Hobbit" (Houghton Mifflin, Sep 1997 or Oct 1973, respectively). I found both of these editions to be satisfactory.The other two major editions of LOTR - the white three-volume edition from Oct 1988 and the black seven-volume edition from Jan 2000 - are not recommended (2 stars). The print quality in both is poor, and the durability is less than that of the red and blue versions. The only advantage of these editions is portability, as the red and blue versions are single-volume and quite hefty.Ramble on....
What can be better than reading the three greatest books--"The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Two Towers," and "The Return of the King"--ever written? Having a leather-bound volume with all three together is better. If you are a fan of the books or you have a loved one that is, this is the best edition to own. It has a big fold-out map in the back for reference, all the references you can think of, and a really neat red leather cover. I have had this edition for 20 years and it's still in excellent condition. Well worth the cost.
Super fantastic! I have read the "Lord of the Rings" (LotR) trilogy eight times. I think that Peter Jackson's movies are the best to day. I think that the 13-hour BBC production is the best radio play to date. Although this 55-hour 46-CD set is the only unabridged audio book for LotR, I doubt that it could be surpassed.Inglis does an excellent job at articulation and dramatization, giving different intonation and mannerisms to different characters. It really is as if you were reading the book.The recording is very good. The CDs performed well. The packaging is excellent, in a cardboard case, with three cardboard boxes, each with three liners that can hold up to four CDs each.One thing that I liked about this is that each track is around three minutes long. This is great for when you have to stop and pick up later -- especially if your portable CD player does not remember the track!Another thing that I liked was the lack of dynamic range. Yes, the lack of it. The loudness is very even across a wine range of topics. This is especially important when listening in the car or with headphones, typically in noisy environment. With some other products, I was constantly turning the volume up and down. Not with this set. However, the performance of the reading did not suffer at all because of this. That is great!This should be in every library of LotR fans, especially those that travel a lot and want to listen while on the go. Highly recommended!
I have read The Lord of the Rings countless times and have always enjoyed it. I have listened to, and enjoyed, the BBC "radio play" version, but this unabridged reading by Rob Ingles was far superior. To say that Rob Ingles "reads" the book misses the point. He ACTS the book, and he is wonderful. Each character has his own voice, his own mannerisms of speech. The songs are sung and stories are told, not just read. By listening, you are cast into the world of Middle Earth. You are along for each moment of the journey, each excrutiating step of the bearer's quest. Listening to this story read aloud brings the full richness and complexity of this timeless tale to life. It has been a wonderful experience. I know I will listen to this time and time again. Plus. . . It's worth the whole price just to hear Gandalf's voice!!