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....
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!
This is a particularly beautiful edition of The Lord of the Rings (ISBN: 0618260587 ), and is probably best suited for someone who is already a fan of the book, rather than for someone who is reading the book for the first time. The format of this edition is larger than most books tend to be making it very difficult to read in any position other than sitting upright holding the book on your lap or on a desk. Each of the three volumes features a beautiful glossy dust jacket and is filled with a dozen or so full color illustrations by the famous Alan Lee.My main problem with this edition, besides the weight and size of the books, is that the pages containing text are glossy paper. The glare caused by this type of glossy paper make it a little irritating on the eyes when reading for long stretches of time. It would have been much nicer had they published this edition with matte paper for the text and saved the glossy solely for the illustrations.If you are a fan of Alan Lee's artwork, and don't necessarily intend on READING this edition, though, this is a great piece to pick up and will most likely be the type of book you end up treasuring for years to come -- even if it isn't the one you give your kids to read.