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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson J.R.R. Tolkien

Thomas Nelson J.R.R. Tolkien

Born in South Africa and growing up in Great Britain, J.R.R. Tolkien, or Ronald as he was known, led a young life filled with uncertainty and instability. His father died when he was three years old and his mother shortly before reaching adolescence. Yet he excelled in academics and went on to become one of the most beloved writers of the 20th century, considered by many as the "father of modern fantasy literature." This biography in the Christian Encounters Series by Mark Horne gives a succinct yet detailed account of his life, and the influence of his faith on his accomplishments.
Average Customer Rating:
4.286 out of 5
4.3
 out of 
5
(14 Reviews) 14
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13 out of 1493%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for J.R.R. Tolkien
Review 1 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Lacks details but a good introduction to Tolkien

Date:March 17, 2013
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SuzyO
Location:Batesville, AR
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Part of my interest in this fantasy writer and poet stems from the fact that my husband reads Tolkien’s 'The Hobbit' and 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy about once a year; and my brother, who usually hates to read, nevertheless read 'The Hobbit' once upon a time and loved it. I have wanted to read his novels but hadn't gotten around to them when this book became available.
The prosaically titled (and, at times, prosaically written) volume, part of Thomas Nelson’s “Christian Encounters” series, begins with a tale of a 3-year-old John Ronald Reuel Tolkien ("Ronald"), a tarantula bite and a quick-thinking nanny to the rescue. Giant spiders would figure into stories he wrote for his children, and longtime Tolkien fans will recall their presence in the Hobbit stories. But this was not a case of art imitating life. He later said he didn’t recall the tarantula bite as part of the incident – he simply remembered the heat of the day and running in fear through the tall, dead grass.
In other ways, though, the difficulties of his life did inform his writing. While he was still a child, he endured the deaths of both parents and several resulting moves because of financial necessity and educational needs. His mother’s family ostracized her because of her Catholic faith – a factor that contributed to her death, in her older son’s opinion, and which may have strengthened his resolve to remain true to the faith.
Tolkien’s faith played an important role in his writing, even though he at one time said he preferred not to write overtly Christian stories but “to let readers make their own choices.” Still, his faith in God was communicated throughout his works of fiction.
Although his works portray the battle of good vs. evil, they also portray a world in which there is much beauty “and where there was true courage to do what is right even at great cost. ... Tolkien portrayed a fantasy world that could not only entertain us but could also challenge and inspire us.”
The bio also covers Tolkien's friendship with and, later, break from fellow Oxford professor and fantasy/sci-fi writer C.S. Lewis (my favorite author); his service in World War I; his marriage; his children; his death; and so much more.
I wish it had been more artfully (rather than somewhat academically) written, but it still is a good read. I would recommend it as an introduction to Tolkien for someone who has never read a bio of the man. For greater detail, you'll have to check out some of the other biographies about him.
I received and reviewed this book as a part of Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze project. It allows me to get free books in exchange for giving my honest opinion, whether I like the books or not.
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Review 2 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Interesting and Inspiring

Date:December 10, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:momentswithmylord@gmail.com
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
The book was inspirational and interesting. I love The Lords of the Rings it is one of my favorite reads, and I thought it would be interesting to read about the man behind the book. The book begins when he was young and speaks about his parents. It also describes about how his mother struggled and how they moved a great deal. He loved the country and disliked the living in the city. The author speaks about his loves, education, languages, his friendships, and his wife and family. He fought in World War I, and what he witnessed did influence his writing. Which explains some of the things he mentions in the Lord of the Rings. He also had many friends I was surprised that he and my other favorite author C. S. Lewis were such good friends. How his friend C. S. Lewis encouraged him to finish his books. Tolkien was a very fascinating man. He was also a perfectionist this was good, but also it was his downfall. The reader will also get to witness how his love for his children helped him to write more fantasy, because they were stories he would write for them. There are many other things that I wish I could mention, but then I would ruin the book for you. I can only say you will have to find out by yourself and read the book. I only hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 3 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Perseverence pays off

Date:October 17, 2011
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Nightwing
Location:Malaysia
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Am sure many people have heard of Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy, movie made famous by Peter Jackson. But before the movie came the book, by J.R.R Tolkien. Who is this author? How did he come out with ‘middle earth and its inhabitants’?
Autobiography of J.R.R Tokien by Mark Horne tries to summaries his life and where the influence for middle earth came about.
It is also Tokien’s Christian faith that made him one of the greatest writers of his generation. Tokien’s life was not easy and he came out from the school of hard knocks. His writings only became famous when he was already/almost retired. Probably due to his young life, he was more private then the likes of C.S.Lewis.
I would recommend this book to budding writers and fans of LOTR. Perseverance and never give up attitude will get us some where.
In my opinion I give this book a rating 5 out of 5.
I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Booksneeze bloggers program. I was not asked to write a positive review and thus, the book review is 100% my own opinion.
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Review 4 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A concise, delightful read

Date:October 15, 2011
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Pooks
Location:Medicine Hat, AB
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
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Meets Expectations: 
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The rolling hills of The Shire, the smoke-filled gloom of Mordor, the epic tales of selfless heroism, a vast history of a fantasy world called Middle Earth, and a hobbit. All born in the mind of one man, influenced by life's unexpected twists and turns, ups and downs and a steadfast faith in God.
From his birth in South Africa till his death in England, Mark Horne takes us on a compelling journey through the life of beloved author, J.R.R. Tolkien. The tragedies and triumphs, the hardships and good times, the friends and loved ones, and his growing faith in the Catholic Church, all of which shaped, not only the course of Tolkien's life, but also greatly influenced his works of writing; most notably the well-known and popular "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings".
As I began reading this biography, which is part of the Christian Encounter Series, I found myself pulled into the pages within mere moments. Mark Horne has a beautiful way of enticing a reader with language that is concise, easily read and understood.
As a fond lover of Tolkien's writing, there was an excitement to learn more about this man and his life, however I also had a slight fear my view of him could be tainted by what I read. This book, however, caused my appreciation of Tolkien to deepen, to feel inspired to reach higher for seemingly unattainable goals, and to count my blessings everyday. I appreciated how Mark Horne continually reminds the reader of Tolkien's faith through-out his life's journey, but doesn't bombard the reader with it either. This helps make it a good read for anyone interested in Tolkien's life, whether Christian or not.
All said and done, I was absolutely delighted with this book and looked forward to every moment I was able to sit down and read it. If you are interested in knowing more about J.R.R Tolkien, then this book is a great start to getting acquainted with this renowned author.
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Review 5 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Short, and almost sweet

Date:September 24, 2011
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Anonymous
Location:South Africa
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
I have never read any of the other books in the Christian Encounters series, so I do not know how this compares.
I did find the "Christian Encounter" aspect to be a little... restrained. Little mention was made of his faith, although I did enjoy reading how much he influenced C.S. Lewis in his.
The facts were a little dry, and I found the book skipped over a LOT. I suppose it was trying to be readable while still informative, however I found it a little simplistic. I am not sure if it is perhaps aimed at the Young Adult or older children market, but if so it was a little too academic.
I did learn quite a bit that I did not previously know, but I would have preferred more of an insight into his inspirations and influences, not just his basic history.
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Review 6 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Short, but sweet

Date:September 15, 2011
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Anna Edwards
Location:Minnesota
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
This book is a brief biography of the life and times of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. I chose to read this book because I have never been very into The Hobbit or any of J.R.R. Tolkien's books but yet I am impressed that his books have been so widely read and so popular for many years. I wanted to know the man behind the books. I now want to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The book spent a fair amount of time explaining different parts of the trilogy and where in his life he was at when he wrote it. Mr. Tolkien was part of reading and book circles most of his adult life and received much encouragement from the men in these groups to pursue his creative writing. It was neat to know that the books began as stories he wrote for his children each Christmas, year after year. Although this book did tell about J.R.R. Tolkien it did it in a very factual way, rather than in a story form. Not bad, but not as entertaining as it could be.
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Review 7 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Read this book! You'll be glad you did.

Date:September 13, 2011
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An Avid Reader
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne is a Christian Encounters biography. It gives an overview of Tolkien's life, faith, and writings and how they are all tied together.
Only a few of the things you will learn when you read this book are:
Tolkien was born in South Africa and lived there until he was 3 years old. But this childhood in Africa did not influence his writing as much as you would think. Instead, it was the beautiful English countryside to which his family moved that left an enduring impression on him. This can be seen in the description of Shire found in his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Tolkien's mother's faith and his own played a crucial role in his growing-up years and influenced the rest of his life as well.
Who were the Inklings? What was their original name? And what impact did they have on each other's lives?
Read J.R.R. Tolkien to find out! You'll be glad you did.
I was really excited to have the opportunity to review this book. Tolkien is one of my favorite authors, and I am always interested in learning more about him. One of the things I appreciated most in this biography was the amount of material it presented. While most biographies are long and include every possible necessary and unnecessary detail about the person's life, this biography is short, concise, and interesting. Tolkien led a fascinating life, and this book does not bury the interesting details in heaps of boring facts.
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Review 8 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Short Intro

Date:August 28, 2011
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Reid
Location:California
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This is a short, "introduction" type biography of J.R.R. Tolkien. It's only about 160 pages and reads quickly, as the subject itself is fascinating. So fascinating that I often was hoping to read more.
If you don't know much about Tolkien, this biography should satisfy you but if you are a LOTR lover, you might wish to choose another biography to read, not because this one was "bad" but because I'm sure there is so much more a longer, more detailed biography would cover.
Still, this short biography is worth reading and will provide you with even more reasons to love Tolkien and want to read (or re-read) his stories!
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Review 9 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Quick Intro to Tolkien

Date:August 23, 2011
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Chris Land
Location:Wichita Falls, Tx
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I love the Lord of the Ring movies. They are my all-time favorite movies. My wife loves the last movie, Return of the King. I am excited about the release of The Hobbit, happens next year. So to get ready for the release of The Hobbit, I decided to read this biography on J.R.R.Tolkien written by Mark Horne.
Like any good biography, this one starts off with Tolkien's upbringing, all of his travels, studying at Oxford University, and eventually written The Lord of the Rings. The final chapter of the book talks about Tolkien's legacy. Horne even mentioned that The Lord of Rings was voted the best book of the 20th century in a poll by British bookstore Waterstone.
This is a great small book to introduce readers to J.R.R. Tolkien especially if they just started watching the Lord of the Ring movies and if they are eagerly waiting for The Hobbit to come out next year.
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Review 10 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

quick and interesting read

Date:August 17, 2011
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Simon Yoong
Location:Malaysia
Age:35-44
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Sure you’ve watched the movies. Some of you may have read the books, too. But not many would know much about the man who created the magnificent lands and creatures of Middle Earth.
I was quite thrilled initially to read about JRRT’s early life and how his Christian faith help shape the ideas his writings, having read quite a bit about this matter in the past. This booked offered a quick introduction (only about 130 pages) and it did provided a good background story to how he formulated his ideas as a child, wrote, re-wrote and published his books.
For me the stories of his early childhood were interesting, but the college years lost me a bit. But the most enjoyable part was when we was getting his book edited and published.
All in all a quick and interesting read. Could have done with more contemporary editing and some pics, though.
This free book was provided for review purposes as part of the Booksneeze program.
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Review 11 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

very good biography

Date:August 6, 2011
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HeidiPA
Location:Central PA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
As a reviewer for Book Sneeze, I recently had the opportunity to request a biography of J.R.R. Tolkien to review. I’m not a huge fan of biographies, but my oldest daughter is doing an exhaustive study on the Lord of the Rings series for school this year, and I thought this book might be beneficial to her. So, in other words, I ordered it with the express purpose of having her read and review it – not me. However, it arrived at my door, and I was compelled to read it.
I found the book to be very interesting, informative, and thorough. I was very intrigued by the fact that Tolkien lost both parents at a very young age. Statistically, apparently, children who have lost one or both parents go on to live very creative lives. Tolkien definitely did.
It was interesting to learn more about his personal and private life, his religious beliefs, and his relationship with fellow fantasy author, C.S. Lewis.
I would recommend this book, especially if you’re a fan of Tolkien’s work or if you’d like to learn more about him. I’ll be passing my copy along to my daughter to include in her studies this year. I will consider reading more books from this series of biographies from Thomas Nelson.
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Review 12 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The Life Behind the Lord of the Rings

Date:July 31, 2011
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Bergamot
Location:Pennsylvania
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
This book is a collection of Tolkien's life, from early childhood to after his death. His biographer, Mark Horne, does well in filling the reader in on important details without bogging down the reader with fact after fact. If any sort of message or lesson were to be derived from this book, it is that the extraordinary can come from the ordinary. Tolkien was a seemingly average man (however, with a grand gift of language) that created an epic, fantastical story that inspires hordes of people, even today.
This book flows well, keeping your interest throughout the read. It progresses chronologically from birth to death, expanding upon interesting details of each time period. It was written in such a way that it does not dominate, or moralize the reader, as Horne describes the works of Tolkien himself. Instead, you're able to get an unbiased glimpse of Tolkien's life and conclude what you will of it. This is nice, and I find myself being able to see Tolkien instead of the biographer's character. There is no strong biblical lines drawn in this book, perhaps because Tolkien's faith wasn't outright documented on paper. But his connection to and upbringing by the church is mentioned, as well as his argument for Christianity the night he spoke with C.S. Lewis about his faith. I find nothing disagreeable about this book and would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in the writer behind The Lord of the Rings.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 13 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A warm and elegant examination

Date:July 26, 2011
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BookGirl
Location:Blyth, ON
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne is an interesting examination of the role of Christianity in Tolkien’s work. Writing on Tolkien’s life, family, career and achievements in the light of his Christian faith, Horne has given readers a complete and fascinating biography. Tolkien’s writing reflected his Christian faith in the story lines he chose, the characters he adapted or created, and the dilemmas illustrated within his works. His personal life shows a man patient, courageous, and faithful. The overall message: a life faithfully lived, one step at a time, uses and develops one's gifts to their absolute best.
This book is a warm and elegant reflection. The personal glimpses into Tolkien’s personal life are illuminating. Tolkien’s ability to work for years on a project--writing, rewriting, and then reflecting, only to return and hone his prose once again--inspired me. In this age of urgent multi-tasking, his work habits speak of an admirable, enviable ability to focus and dedicate one’s energy. Tolkien’s determination to produce the truest product of his creative vision is energizing and affirming. To devotedly return to what you love over and over again, to carefully nurture it, to take the time it requires to enable its growth, bespeaks of what one truly believes and: “... a Christian artist can be most effective when he offers himself...”
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Review 14 for J.R.R. Tolkien
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Faith and Fantasy Meet

Date:July 14, 2011
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Jake
Location:KS
Age:Under 18
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
While this book is titled "J. R. R. Tolkien", I think it could have been called, "J. R. R. Tolkien's Life & Faith, & How It Impacted His Writing". Much of the emphasis is not on his life—although the book certainly reviews Tolkien's whole life—but on how his life and his faith found its way into his writing.
I must hand it to the author; he could write a fairly engrossing biography, enough to pull me out of a fantasy novel and dive into this nonfiction. Thinking I would read this after I finished a novel I was reading, I flipped through it, read the back, and read the introduction. And from that introduction, I couldn't resist picking up the book. The biography is small; only 160 pages. But though it was small, it was certainly a good read.
Perhaps it's because I'm a writer that I liked it so much. Much of the material touched upon—writing, Lord of the Rings, the Inklings, Tolkien's beliefs about fantasy and myth—was relevant to me, as a writer. The goal of the TPBS (a group consisting of Tolkien's closest friends) was especially relevant.
As to the actual writing, the biography style of it was fine. There were several sections where the author—probably on purpose—began with a bit of prose. "It was the biggest snake Tolkien had seen" or something like that. I found them to be out of place with the rest of the book, and a little annoying.
Even without this, the book would have made 4.5, maybe even 5 stars. However, the "Legacy" chapter—the last one in the book—lowered my opinion of the book. Without going into detail, I will say that I disagreed with some of the author's opinions, especially regarding Harry Potter. Besides this, I felt that much of the chapter was out of place with the rest of the book. While it is appropriate, when reviewing Tolkien's life, to also take a look at his legacy, I felt that some of this section could have been cut.
Overall, this was a good read that gave a lot of insight into Tolkien's life and the beliefs behind his tales. Several sections—especially the sections about the TBPS—were just beautiful and poetic. I literally stopped reading in several places to contemplate quotes that the author gave from various sources. This excellent biography was only diminished by a few things that I disliked.
+1point
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