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on September 21, 2001
I am not one who usually buys books-on-tape (or CD as in this case) but I have long wanted to obtain the Lord of the Rings so as to hear this incredible story over and over. After having read it several times, my book is in tatters and so I searched for an unabridged audio recording. Many of those that I have seen claim to be "unabridged" but the fact is that they are not complete! They give parts of the books in full but leave out many sections or chapters. This set by Rob Inglis is COMPLETE!!! It is very well read with no drastic voicing of characters. Characters are easily distinguished and thoroughly enjoyable. This set is not full of sound effects and music, so if you are looking for that this is not for you. However, I personally prefer the fact that this is not an over-production and is rather quite focussed on what I wanted in the first place, the characters and the story. Inglis does a marvelous job and I am very happy with this set. Again, not to harp on it but, this is a "complete" package well worth the money!!!
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on October 26, 2004
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.)
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on December 17, 2000
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....
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on February 9, 2011
Only an balrog could object to an revised 50th anniversary edition, with corrections beyond those in the the standard revised version. BUT...

This is *not* a leather binding: it's a very ordinary hardcover edition with paper-thin faux leather glued over paper boards. The bookmark ribbon breaks the binding. Signatures glued rather than sewn together, not held together by the 'leather,' separated from paper spine. Poor production generally: end papers badly centered, more than a little random glue and rubber cement on the covers that really mars the appearance. Mine is the second printing, I do not see the poor type-setting complained of by other reviewers.

Look at Customer Image #18 to see for your self.

It's an OK one-volume edition, given the revisions and illustrations. *NOT* a 'collectible', barely worth the discounted $56 given the disappointment factor. *Don't* give this as a gift to a Tolkien fan, expecting rapture.

Calling this 'leather bound' is *serious* misrepresentation of the product.
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on December 21, 2000
Everyone knows the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are wonderful stories, and I fully agree. The reason for my bad rating of this PARTICULAR edition of JRR Tolkien's works is that the books are riddled with typographical errors, some so severe that they change the meaning of sentences, effectively reversing the author's intent. One example: "The Breelanders locked their doors at night, which was also not unusual in the Shire." The word "unusual" should have been "usual"--i.e., the Shire Hobbits don't usually lock their doors at night. But exactly the opposite idea is conveyed by this typographical error! And there are many more errors where that one came from. I counted THREE errors on ONE PAGE! AVOID THIS EDITION at all costs!
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on December 6, 2014
Since at this point these books no longer need an introduction, I might as well go straight into the review of this edition, the Deluxe Pocked Boxed Set. It features leatherette covers, which are soft and very well made. The colors are less saturated than they are in Amazon's picture, but that is for the better. They are definitely nice and easy to hold, and the "stand" it comes with is sturdy and beautiful. I decided to put them in my desk, and they could not have gotten a better place. The only complaint that might arise is that the font is small, but that is to be expected from a "pocket" edition, and it is readable anyway. Overall, the quality of this edition is magnificent. If you are a fan, this relatively inexpensive set should definitely be added to your collection. If you haven't read the books, stop reading this and go buy them. Seriously. Now.
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on December 29, 2000
As someone else mentioned, we all know the Lord of the Rings to be by the far one of the greatest works of writing of the 20th century. It is all a game we play with Tolkien, for he too took it much more seriously then any other Fantasy of Science Fiction writer ever has. He made up languages that existed in relationship to languages and dialects that we have in english, and thus created a nightmare for Translators. He told stories of all sorts of perils of creation, and made sure everything was done right. Thus, when an edition like this comes out, it is truly painful. For one, originally, Tolkien created some of the most beautiful maps of Middle Earth, spending time making sure that all of the proportions were accurate. He didn't just jumble down some lines for the coast line, for example. He spent many hours making sure everything was proportinate and made sense. However, sometime after 1988, Ballantine started to release editions of the triliogy with completely new maps, all signed by some Shelly Shapiro. In either case, these new maps were plauged with problems, from being too cartoony and unproportinate to having names of locations from the original maps done away with. The maps, from the very beginning, have been essential to the LoTR books, and having cheap maps made is annoying beyond belief. It shows a sign of disrespect from the editors. To me, it says, "People won't notice anyway. Lets make a smaller sized book with less detailed maps and save some money." If you truly want to expierience this epic (or history, more accurately) as Tolkien envisioned it (not some editor at Ballantine), spend some extra cash and either get a different edition or buy a good map (there is currently an excellent one made by Christopher Tolkien, which is much larger and detailed). Of course, were the map adequate, this edition still suffers from annoying miscopies and misprints and so on. Don't sell out for cheap editions. You've been warned.
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on November 21, 2004
In view of the newly found popularity of Tolkien's classic, I decided to update my old Unwin Paperback edition of LOTR. I compared several editions out there (Boxed Rei, Houghton Mifflin and the sober Harper-Collins with the black cover and the single ring in the centre), and decided to buy this one. It is, hands down, the best.

The folding maps need some care, if you're like me and try to keep your books as if they were brand new. Overall, it's very well put together and makes a great addition to my library.

I'm sorry if this review seems superficial, but I feel all that should be written about the books themselves has already been written--and perhaps more. Suffice to say that this is the edition for the true fan of the books, although the whole thing makes a rather big (and elegant) tome to carry around the house.

If you want your children to read it, perhaps a less intimidating edition would be in order, though (my old Unwin set is ideal for that, and it's making its way to the younger in the family).
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VINE VOICEon December 4, 2004
Note -- Tolkien's work is rated 5 stars. The physical book is rated two stars.

When you pay $100 list for a collector's edition book, you expect it to be perfect in all respects. I am on my 3rd copy of this edition and am still dissatisfied.

The first book had paper that was poorly folded. There were many pages that were misfolded. I returned that and got another copy. This one had a whole signature [one group of pages] with a tear at the top edge.

I returned that and got a third copy. This one seems OK, but the pages are not centered in the hard cover. Its rather dissatisfying, but I think I will keep it.

The publisher should take their printer/binder to task. Three strikes in three pitches is unacceptable for what is a very expensive edition to begin with.

BTW all three copies had glue that overflowed onto the inside cover pages. When you try to separate the pages, they tear where the glue had been.

I think that the publisher dishonors Tolkien's marvelous work and insults their readers by publishing an expensive edition with such poor quality control.
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on May 24, 2002
...This item is the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as narrated by Rob Inglis. There are no sound effects. And this is not the BBC recording that was made using a whole cast of people for the different characters. Rob Inglis is able to give each charater their own sound though, and his Gollum voice even gave me the spooks sometimes!
This is a high quality recording and a great way to read the book (I have a hard time keeping the characters all straight in the text version of the book, but it's easy when each character had his own "sound"). If you aren't sure about buying it, check out the copy from your local library - this is the exact same recording that they have from the Recorded Book Company, LLC (in the red and white covers)...
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