23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
A lamp for the darkened mind.,
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This review is from: On the Shoulders of Hobbits: The Road to Virtue with Tolkien and Lewis (Paperback)
Professor Louis Markos in his enchanting book about the Lord of the Rings and Narnia has managed to baptize my imagination (I wrote this review before I read Dr. Peter Kreeft's introduction in which he suggests that you allow Professor Markos to baptize your imagination) and set my heart on fire for the works of two of the best authors of the 20th century.
I must admit that I was not a great fan of either Lewis or Tolkien. I had tried to read the Chronicles of Narnia as a young student without much luck. I mistakenly thought that Lord of the Rings was science fiction and never put my full attention to it. However, who has not heard what wonderful authors these two are? I was willing to believe that they were fine authors. But still, I could not seem to appreciate their writing and the last cause I suspected was me. After reading On the shoulders of Hobbits, Professor Markos managed to turn my hard head and my hard heart towards some of the best literature of the 20th century. He removed road blocks, opened up new vistas and in the best way, he led me to an understanding of the true meaning of these tales. Professor Markos also makes clear why Tolkien's and Lewis' works will surely stand the test of time. I think Professor Kreeft put it like this: "they have the fingerprints of God all over them."
Professor Markos' love for the great enduring stories that tell us mere mortals about our true ends and purposes, and in particular his love for Tolkien and Lewis, is infectious. He has a gift for transmitting that love through the written word for those with the ears to hear through the din of modernity and for those with the eyes to see through emperor's new clothes of todays false literacy are in for a trek perhaps not even hoped for.
My own children and students have received great benefits from the fire that PRofesor Markos has lit in my heart. It is with the greatest joy that I enthusiastically pass on my new found love for Tolkien and Lewis as Professor Markos has passed it on to me. This book is a treasure, to be your guide into Middle Earth and into Narnia. Virgil could hardly have done better for Dante on their journey through hell at revealing what is really there.
I would heartily and emphatically encourage anyone who is not sure about the value of Tolkien and Lewis to come to On the Shoulders of Hobbits with a humble heart and a mind open to permanent goodness, truth and beauty and let Professor Markos guide you to lands of which you will never tire.
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Initial post: Dec 3, 2012 8:08:49 PM PST
Wow, I don't think I've ever read a more gushing review. But, yet, it has the ring of truth to it. Thank you. I came to this title with mild curiosity and now I must surely read it for myself.
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2012 12:11:07 PM PST
Charlie, I hope you do read it. I would be interested in hearing what you have to say about it after you do. Professor Markos is a very rare academician. He is not ideologically driven like most professors, but grounded in truth, goodness and beauty. His writing instructs of character formation in the timeless virtues of wisdom, justice, courage, moderation, and most importantly the three theological virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity. Lewis and Tolkien were men of such character and they agreed to write the stories they wished to read because there has been a steady decline in the quality of literature, perhaps since the advent of the printing press. These two fine men raised the bar. My attempts to read and appreciate Tolkien and Lewis failed and Professor Markos served as the St. Philip character in Acts of the Apostles who helped the Ethiopian understand the Gospel message. Acts 8: 26-40 Remember, Philip saw the Ethiopian reading the book of Isaiah and he asked him "do you understand what you are reading?" and the Ethiopian answered "How can I unless someone explains it to me?" If you are eager to learn about Tolkien and Lewis as the Ethiopian was to learn about the scriptures, then this book is for you. I hope you find it as edifying as I did and it sets your heart aflame for the "road that goes ever on."
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