RATING 2.75 (Recommendation depends on circumstances and expectations)
Dickerson may have gone far beyond the deep end in his explorations of the text. Shrouded in academics and literary criticism, A HOBBIT JOURNEY seeks to excavate meaning from The Hobbit with thorough analysis and complete immersion in the text. The problem with this book is that it takes things more seriously than many people might find healthy. It's a more difficult read, as Dickerson tosses around ten-dollar words and makes this more akin to a collegiate dissertation than a casual discussion.
This book tackles heavy issues, such as wartime ethics, deep theological aspects of military accomplishments, moral responsibility, and social justice, among others. Now, I'm not saying that these issues aren't addressed, or at least illustrated, in the pages of The Hobbit, but the added weight of over-analysis usurps the whimsy and joy of the text. There is a time and place (and audience) for this book - and it's intricately researched well written - but my instincts lead me to believe that Dickerson would rather invest his time in proverbial lofty towers (or a comfortable Hobbit hole in the Shire) trading philosophies than implementing these lessons in a practical sense. And it's precisely this irony that makes it hard for me to enjoy this book.