Read J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend by Colin Duriez Online


Perfect for Tolkien enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes, this delightful and accessible biography brings the enigma behind The Lord of the Rings franchise to lifeLong before the successful The Lord of the Rings films, J.R.R. Tolkien’s creations, imagination, and characters had already captured the hearts and minds of millions of readers. But who was the man who dreamt up tPerfect for Tolkien enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes, this delightful and accessible biography brings the enigma behind The Lord of the Rings franchise to lifeLong before the successful The Lord of the Rings films, J.R.R. Tolkien’s creations, imagination, and characters had already captured the hearts and minds of millions of readers. But who was the man who dreamt up the intricate languages and perfectly crafted world of Middle-earth? Tolkien had a difficult life for many years—orphaned and poor, his guardian forbade him from communicating with the woman he had fallen in love with, and he also suffered through the horrors of World War I. An intensely private and brilliant scholar, he spent more than 50 years working on the languages, history, peoples, and geography of Middle-earth, with a consistent mythology and body of legends inspired by a formidable knowledge of early northern European history and culture. J.R.R. Tolkien became a legend by creating an imaginary world that has enthralled and delighted generations....

Title : J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend
Author :
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ISBN : 9780745955148
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 232 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend Reviews

  • Michael Kotsarinis
    2019-05-04 23:51

    Δεν είμαι φίλος των βιογραφιών αλλά για την περίπτωση αυτή (όπως και για ελάχιστες άλλες) έκανα μια εξαίρεση. Ευτυχώς η γραφή δεν είναι κουραστική και το επίπεδο της λεπτομέρειας δεν είναι τόσο εξαντλητικό ώστε να κουράζει. Πιστεύω πως όσοι γοητεύονται από τα έργα του καθηγητή αξίζει τον κόπο να τη διαβάσουν.

  • Spirou
    2019-05-17 20:33

    Αγαπώ πολύ τις βιογραφίες και η συγκεκριμένη αποδείχθηκε εξαιρετικά ενδιαφέρουσα! Δείτε το video-review εδώ.

  • Colleen Fauchelle
    2019-05-11 19:34

    I haven't read the Lord of the Rings. I do have a beautiful copy when I do get around to it. I do have the DVD's and went to all the movies. Peter Jackson has done an amazing job and we do have a Beautiful Country.I don't read a lot of Non Fiction but I do enjoy real stories. Especially about Authors to find out what their lives were like is so good. There are so many Authors out there and millions of readers maybe the could do B news (E News) so we can find out about their lives.I enjoyed this book J.R.R Tolkien was a very cleaver man. He didn't have it easy, his Father died when he was young and his mum did amazing job of bringing up her boys until she too passed away. Father Francis took over the care of the boys providing support and taking them away on holidays.Tolkien made up languages while he was young and had a life long love of Philology - The historic study of language and culture, which includes comparing languages. This was his passion what he would end up teaching. This part of the book I found hard to understand however I still read and tried to take in what was being said.Not long after getting married he was called to war, the first war and he lost dear friends at this time. He and his wife had 4 children and he seemed to be a good father. In fact I own another book called Letters from Father Christmas that Tolkien wrote to his children. Tolkien was a very gifted , busy and very cleaver Man. I really enjoyed reading about his life and all that he was able to accomplish during his life time. My goal next year is to read his books the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit.

  • Amanda Stephan
    2019-05-11 20:55

    They say, write what you know.But what if you happen to write about things like Orcs, Hobbits, and Elves? Do you really know this enough to write about it? In a way, yes, JRR Tolkien did write what he knew. Or, more like it, the way he saw the world. Overcoming tremendous odds, he gave us some of the best loved stories that still thrive today.When you read this book, you're getting an intimate peek inside a complex individual that was molded by his fair share of life, death, loss, and love. Be prepared for emotional turmoil that followed him thru his life. Cheer for him when he finds his one true love, and pity him when he ultimately sets aside that love because of the wishes of another. Not only will you meet the man behind the Hobbit, but the story of JRR Tolkien's perseverance through hardships will inspire you when you thought your hope was gone.JRR Tolkien had a gift. He was a romantic. I know. Many a man would shudder to be labeled a romantic, but he saw life differently than most. When the regular person would see only an ordinary tower, JRR saw not a normal tower, but a different time and place with evil and good, fighting against one another and that tower, a pinnacle that holds it all in the balance.Conjuring stories and poems on a whim, he was an immensely gifted man. A creator not only of worlds and words, but of entire languages. But why would he desire to write such stories as The Hobbit? To reignite a love for fairy tales to a new readership. He has succeeded in this and his stories live on and will continue to do so for generations of romantics to come.

  • Ettelwen
    2019-04-23 19:40

    Zase jsem ti o trochu blíže Tolkiene.I když na Carpenterům životopis to nemá, pořád se jedná o kvalitně zpracovanou knihu o jednom z nejdůležitějších autorů vůbec. Obrazová část mohla být klidně rozsáhlejší, ale postačila i v takovém měřítku. Za mě určitě ano!

  • James
    2019-05-14 02:51

    As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” Wars were fought and won, infrastructure was built and fortified, and the culture of the ancient West flourished as a result. Similarly, the Middle-Earth of Tolkien’s imagination did not spring up ex nihilo from his imagination but is the culmination of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien’s life work. Various elements of Middle Earth had their genesis in his life experience and academic pursuits of Tolkien. In Tolkien: The Making of a Legend, noted expert on Tolkien and the Inklings, Colin Duriez, tells the story of Tolkien’s life and the events which shaped him as an author.J.R.R. Tolkein: The Making of a Legend by Colin DuriezTolkien’s life story found its way into his fiction. A tarantula bite in childhood may have provided the background fpr Ungoliant or Shelob (13) . Places that were special to Tolkien provided the basis for important locations (i.e. the Shire, the two towers, the Ivy Bush all have their origin in actual locations). The love Tolkien had for his wife Edith provided the inspiration for the story of Luthien and Beren (one of the central legends of Middle Earth). His experience of warfare in World War I made him critical of the way technology was destroying modern life(a major theme in the LotR trilogy). But Tolkien’s literary vision was also enriched by his friendships and academic pursuits.In his schooldays he and a group of literary friends formed a ‘Tea Club, later known as the TCBS (Tea Club Barrovian Society). They dreamed of later literary achievements (though several members did not survive the First World War). As an academic at Oxford, Tolkien formed the ‘Coal Biters’ a group which gathered weekly to translate and read Norse Mythology. Later, the Inkling(with C.S. Lewis and others) would meet Tuesday mornings at the Eagle and Child. The members of that group listened to, discussed and critiqued early drafts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The friendship with Lewis was mutually beneficial and while it cooled somewhat in later years, Tolkein and Lewis continued to support one another throughout their life. Tokien’s relationship with Lewis and other writers provided him the relational support he needed and helped him hone his craft as an author.And of course Tolkien’s own genius grew up with keen interest in and talent for language. His skill at languages enabled him to create several Elvin languages. His work on the OED (after his military service) would prove to give him the proper training to create the world of Middle Earth and in later years, his academic writings mostly served to enrich his fiction.This is an interesting biography and paints a compelling vision of its subject. Druiez shares the effect Tolkien’s reading of Beowulf had for his students. This, coupled with Tolkien’s belief in the power of story, makes me appreciate Tolkien’s fiction all the more. As one who has enjoyed Tolkien’s books (and Peter Jackson’s adaptations) I do not hesitate to recommend this book. It is a readable account of a much beloved author.Thank you to Kregel Publications for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for this review.

  • The Loopy Librarian
    2019-05-02 01:55

    Although, I have been a fan of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for years, I knew very little about the author behind these magical works. More has been written about J.R.R. Tolkien than by him. He has been studied by scholars and critics for generations. Tolkien is enigmatic and complex, as is his work. For those reasons and a myriad of others, I was so pleased to be introduced to this Tolkien biography by Colin Duriez. In the forward, Doriez writes, “Though my book is not intended for scholars but for ordinary readers wishing to explore the life of Tolkien and how it relates to the stories of Middle-earth, the wisdom from those (other authors) I’ve mentioned, and many others, is a necessary background (p. 9-10).”With even a most tertiary look into the background of Colin Duriez, it becomes quite clear that as an academic, a professor, and a writer, he has made it his life’s work to study the works of Tolkien. He appears to have read nearly every work ever written by or about Tolkien, which made it all the more remarkable that he was able to condense his intensive years of study into a book for the ordinary reader.In J.R.R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend, Duriez focuses on the lonely, orphaned boy who was fascinated with languages and fantasy. Though not antisocial by any means, he definitely lived an active life inside his head. In Duriez’s book, the reader also learns of the horrible losses and emotional toil that he endured as a soldier in WWI. His marriage to his first love, after years of separation, is endearing as is his love for his children. Despite his devotion to academia, he was a family man at heart. The land of Middle-Earth, as it turns out, is a land that Tolkien had invented early in his youth, and it was his love of languages and study of them (philology), that lead him to create this enchanted world. He shared the stories with his children and eventually developed a manuscript that he shared with his good friend and colleague, C.S.Lewis. Lewis said, “In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself, and am never more myself than when I do (p. 54).Lewis quickly became one of Tolkien’s biggest fans and encourages him to publish his work. Like generations of fans afterward, Lewis fell in love with the Hobbit of Middle Earth and the stories that followed. It may have been Tolkien’s love of languages that led him to write these epic novels, but for most readers, it is the characters, the fantasy, the heroism, the story itself that captures the imagination.For an introduction to J.R.R. Tolkien, a fascinating man who lead an extraordinary life both inside and outside of his head, I highly recommend this book. If you are already a Tolkien scholar, you probably won’t gain much from this particular biography. For the average reader, however, it is perfect!In compliance with FTC guidelines, please note that I received a free review copy from Kregel Blog Tours in return for an honest review.

  • Mathew
    2019-04-23 01:46

    Of Tolkien Duriez says, “Myth and story was embodied in language” (p. 143) and myth and story restore “a true meaning of ordinary and humble things that make up human life” (p. 176). That sums up his life and writing in my estimation. I’ve read Humphrey Carpenter’s biography which is the official biography of Tolkien and I’ve also read the Tolkien Letters. Duriez’s J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend is as much a must read for Tolkienphiles.I not only enjoyed refreshing my history of Tolkien’s life but I enjoyed the writing and storyline Duriez presents. He covers his life from cradle to the grave. In the biography itself I gathered some wonderful Tolkien tidbits and memorable sayings.It’s also interesting how this biography and recent discoveries have intersected. Duriez reports,One day Tolkien and Lewis would even plan to collaborate on a book on language, a project that never materialized. (p. 145)Lo and behold this work has this month been uncovered. The Telegraph reports (“JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis joint work discovered”)The beginning of a joint book by CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien has been discovered in a manuscript book in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.An American academic called Steven Beebe, of Texas State University, San Marcos, had seen the material some years ago, but has only recently realised what it is. It is written in Lewis's hand in the same notebook that contains early drafts for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Magician's Nephew.Lewis and Tolkien had planned their joint book, to be called Language and Human Nature, in 1944, with publication envisaged for 1950.You should read this book but especially so if you love Tolkien--even if you’re read Carpenter’s or other biographies. You won’t be disappointed with Duriez’s J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend. My only tiff would be Duriez teasing about the amount of information that could’ve been included surrounding the publication of The Lord of the Rings. Says Duriez, “Even his dealings with his publisher and another potential publisher could fill a small book” (p. 192). But then we get few details about the process as a whole.Tolkien’s work on Middle-Earth is timeless because he captures the essence of our life within his faerie stories and myth. He has an uncanny ability to penetrate into the depths of the human condition and uncover truth. For instance, he says after WWIIWe are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring. And we shall (it seems) succeed. But the penalty is, you will know, to breed new Saurons, and slowly turn Men and Elves into Orcs” (p. 191 as quoted in Letters to his son Christopher).Tolkien was right then and he’s even more right today. You should read him and understand his life in connection with the larger corpus of his work. Duriez will help you do this.

  • Lucinda
    2019-04-24 23:44

    An honest and intimate account on J.R.R Tolkien’s life and his work, capturing in essence the man behind the myth This beautiful book delves back to the time long before the Peter Jackson film phenomenons of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to when J.R.R Tolkien’s characters, imagination and creations captured the hearts of many readers. The intricately built world that he created, the people’s and languages are so spellbinding that Colin Duriez looks at the man behind his masterworks. The man who dreamt up Middle-Earth had a difficult life as an orphan; from poverty to the Great War, to love and enduring great loss. This engaging exploration is well-researched and highly readable, so as to enable one to gain an altogether better understanding and appreciation for such extraordinary achievements. Since childhood I have read (both for pleasure and study) J.R.R Tolkien’s works, from The Silmarillion to The Hobbit. This illuminating biography has added another layer of depth to my awareness on Tolkien, and so I couldn’t recommend nor praise it highly enough. “J.R.R. Tolkien created a new form of literary legend with his histories of Middle-Earth and, as result, has himself been accorded legendary status. Colin Duriez, who is well versed in the ways of Hobbits and other denizens of Tolkien’s world, presents an engaging, intimate account of the author’s life and work and the phenomenon that both have become. At a time when writings about Tolkien far outnumber writings by him, it is good to be able to commend such a well-researched and highly readable biography that captures the essence of the man and enables us to better understand and appreciate his extraordinary achievement.”~ Brian SibleyAuthor of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (official movie guide) Some of the elements explored within Tolkien’s life, include: *Being separated from the woman he had fallen in love with- both by his guardian and then the First World War*Life as a Scholar and professor of English Language*Being a member of several groups; the Inklings with C.S Lewis and the T.C.B.S (Tea Club and Barrovian Society) *Spending over fifty years working on the languages, history, peoples and geography of Middle-Earth. If you are seeking to learn more about the literary genius that is J.R.R. Tolkien, his work and his life then this sincere and accurate account has to be a must-read. Complete with stunning photographs of the places that Tolkien dwelt, including Oxford and his childhood home.

  • Maureen Timerman
    2019-05-03 19:50

    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, know as J. R. R. was born on 3 January 1892, in Southern Africa. He was the first son of Arthur and Mabel, and was joined by a brother Hilary on 17 February 1894.Both boys had a had sad beginning, loosing their Dad in 1896, and their Mom to Diabetes, there was no treatment. They became the wards of a priest, and soon lived with a woman who gave them room and board...that is it. How sad, and yet each point of his life shows the rich mind he possessed, and later shows up in bits and pieces in his writings.Love the reference to Hobbit, that came from his travels to Interlaken in Switzerland. What a mind he had, and was able to share with the World. He had in his lifetime become friends with C. S. Lewis, a former Atheist who came to know the Lord many think because of Tolkien. He fell in love with Edith as a child, and later pursues her as a young man. I personally enjoyed this story, and bringing this man to life in my mind. He started out with such a harsh life, but the talent of this man is legendary.Enjoy!I received this book from Kregel, and was not required to give a positive review.

  • Katrin
    2019-04-23 20:45

    Είχα σήμερα ρεπό και το διάβασα. Καλό βιβλίο με καλό ρυθμό αλλά κάτι μου έλειπε. Ακούμε πολύ από τα χρόνια του τολκιν όταν ήταν μικρός και πως μεγάλωσε. Αλλά μετά, τα χρόνια που έγγραψε τα σημαντικά έργα του, τα περνάμε πολύ γρήγορα. Κρίμα γιατί ήταν βιβλίο με ενδιαφέρον. Μου λείπει επίσης ένα χρονολογικό μέρος με τα σημαντικά γεγονότα και βιβλία του. Αυτό έπρεπε να έχει αυτό το βιβλίο.

  • Michal Čop
    2019-05-13 01:26

    Táto kniha pojednáva o živote J.R.R. Tolkiena. O jeho neľahkom detstve (sirota od dvanástich rokov), dospievaní a zakázanej láske k Edite, jeho neskoršej manželke, láske k jazykom a mytológií, zážitkom z vojen, jeho literárnej a vedeckej práci, i priateľstvách, či už s Lewisom, členmi The Inklings, alebo ešte študentského T. C. B. S.. V podstate sa dá povedať, že kniha je celkom vydareným počinom. Je primerane obsiahla i odborná. Autor pracuje s dôveryhodnými a serióznymi zdrojmi a tak môže pre záujemcov slúžiť aj ako vhodný odrazový mostík k ďalšiemu skúmaniu. Na druhej strane, dá sa jej vytknúť, že od času kedy Tolkien vstúpi do manželstva sa na môj vkus trochu málo venuje jeho osobnému a rodinnému životu (najmä jeho vzťahu s manželkou a deťmi), a tiež to, že obdobie po vydaní Pána Prsteňov je v nej zachytené už len z rýchlika. Trochu ľúto mi bolo tiež toho, že autor sa len veľmi jemne dotkol jeho neduhov, ako napríklad výbušnej povahy. A napokon, autorovi chýba trochu viac spisovateľského talentu, kvôli čomu kniha pôsobí trochu ako nejaký referát, či bakalárka, alebo iný kompilát.Celkovo však knihu považujem za hodnú prečítania a myslím, že každému, kto nie je práve odborníkom na Tolkienovo dielo dokáže autor sprostredkovať množstvo zaujímavých faktov zo života autora fascinujúceho sveta a príbehov zo Stredozeme.

  • Justin Wiggins
    2019-05-05 00:39

    I greatly enjoyed reading my friend and scholar Colin Duriez’s book “J.R.R.Tolkien The Making of A Legend.”J.R.R.Tolkien is one of my literary hero’s along with C.S.Lewis. He sadly lost his mother and father at a young age, and suffered trauma from the hell of WWI. He was an incredible philologist,wrote an epic myth based off of the love had with his wife Edith Bratt Tolkien, gave the world a masterpiece work of mythical literature that took him 13 years to write, and was an incredible, intelligent, brilliant, humble writer and man of faith. J.R.R. greatly inspires me to continue to purse my passion for literature. Thanks for writing this book Colin.

  • Javier
    2019-05-19 02:32

    Creo que el título no le puede quedar mejor. Centrado más en los años de formación y madurez, vemos cómo Tolkien fue forjando su vida y su carrera profesional y cómo en segundo plano siempre se fue gestando el nacimiento de la tierra media y la mitología que terminaría en el Señor de los Anillos. Una gran lectura.

  • Tom Newman
    2019-05-10 03:27

    Good little book with little gems of narrative and philosophy, especially when discussing Tolkien and his close friends in his T.C.B.S. (Tea Club / Borrovian Society), the Coalbiters and the Inklings (which included, among others, C.S. Lewis).

  • Retrovold
    2019-05-20 21:50

    Despite not being official biography of this amazing author, storyteller and professor, this book written by Colin Duriez is a very well crafted tribute to him. The Making Of a Legend is simply put a book for the very devoted fans. It's a very thorough research put into a story-like non-fiction piece and as thus, it really could bore you if you are not devoted. The book starts with Tolkien being born and thoroughly explains his childhood and especially his influnces during his studies, impact of war and his devotion to languages, literature and history. The book is very well crafted and through it all you can feel the love and respect author Colin Duriez has for J. R. R. Tolkien.

  • Lisa Johnson
    2019-04-26 19:31

    Title: J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a LegendAuthor: Colin Duriez Pages: 192Year: 2012Publisher: LionThis book is about the life of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, the man who created the world of Middle-earth and wrote books about this fantasized world that he imagined as a child. Tolkien was born January 3, 1889, to Arthur and Mabel Tolkien in South Africa. The imagination of Tolkien evolved with many eventful experiences that changed and shaped his life. When he was still young, John and his brother Hilary moved with their mother to England, where she died a few years later. Their father had died in South Africa during the Boer War. As he grew up, John became interested in different medieval languages such as Gothic and Welsh, which he would use to develop the Elf language in his books about Middle-earth. He would later write a series of stories (that he never finished) about the creation and mythology of Middle-earth, called “the Silmarillion”. When he was young man, he married his high school sweetheart, Edith, and served in the British military in WWI. This certainly shaped his perspective about war and influenced his writing.During the years that followed, he went to Oxford where he met one of closest friends C. S. Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Screwtape Letters, as well several other books. He continued to write “the Silmarillion” and also wrote The Hobbit. Four children were born to John and Edith. Their names were John, Michael, Christopher, and Pricilla. During WWII, Tolkien served as an air-raid warden. During the 1950s, Tolkien published The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. These books didn’t really become best-selling books until the 1960s and 70s. In 1971, J. R. R. Tolkien’s wife died and two years later he died himself. On their gravestones, the names Beren and Luthien were inscribed after the two lovers Tolkien wrote about in “the Silmarillion”.I thought it was very interesting to read about this man who wrote these much beloved books that are now becoming blockbuster movies. I kind of feel sorry for this man because he lost both his father and mother when he was still a child; this tragedy would continue to plague him for the rest of his life. He continued to suffer a lot of things up to the time of his death. Yet, at the same time, I thank God for Tolkien’s endurance and firm belief in Him. I thank Tolkien for writing these books, especially The Lord of the Rings Trilogy that has influenced many with Christian values in subtle ways. I’m certain God is giving Beren and his wife Luthien an everlasting peaceful rest from the darkness of Mordor. I look forward to meeting them when I go to heaven someday.My rating is 4 ½ stars.Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspo... . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

  • T.O. Munro
    2019-05-18 21:26

    I find it fascinating to see how an author's life shaped his work and Duriez patiently draws out the many real life influences and events that - in different ways - surfaced in Tolkien's great works.There is his long courtship of his wife Edith including a 3 year enforced separation when his guardian forbade him to have any contact with her. There is more than one middle earth romance that has echoes of that hardship. With her singing in a forest clearing - Edith may have been an inspiration for Luthien and Tolkien cast himself as Beren so that the mythic couple's perilous courtship against the backdrop of Morgoth's war with the elves and men, mirrors the trials and tribulations that Edith and Tolkien himself fought through against the backdrop of the first world war. At the sane time, the interdict set by Elrond on Aragorn, that he should first secure his inheritance before taking Arwen for a wife, mirrors in some ways the dictat of the otherwise supportive Father Francis - Tolkien's diligent guardian once he was orphaned after his mother's death.There are other parallels, the muddy sea of dead bodies that Tolkien waded through in the Somme battlefield making a grim inspiration for the Dead Marshes that Gollum guided Sam and Frodo through.Then there is the importance of fellowship to Tolkien - a habitual former of societies - of men it must be said - that sought to promote thinking, and mutual support. The habit started with TCBS society from school and following through to the Inklings at Oxford who were the fortunate first audience for the many episodic instalments of Lord of the Rings. The TCBS had some significant gatherings - councils - to decide the group's purpose and future and in this we see perhaps a foreshadowing of the great council of Elrond.The fact that he lost many dear friends from his fellowships must have stained a character and the experience built a yearning for the shirelike perfection of his youth in the midlands.There are other things made clear in this tome that I had not seen before. Tolkein and C.S.Lewis were both devout Christians (the latter largely through exposure to Tolkien's influence). But where C.S.Lewis's allegories are more obvious in the land of Narnia and the person of Aslan, those of Tolkein are deliberately more opaque. There is no explicit religion, no temples, no priests in Middle Earth, but nonetheless Tolkien insisted that Lord of the Rings is a "Christian and Fundamentally Catholic work." Simply knowing that puts a different slant on the story for me - another light turned on to illuminate the story from new angles and cast different shadows.The other thing that comes through is Tolkien the philologist, whose deeply intertwined love of languages and myth reflects his belief in the inseparability of the two.

  • Dave Jenkins
    2019-05-20 23:30

    J.R.R. Tolkien has inspired generations with his movies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit which are both now in movie theaters and for a long time in print. What is not often known about the movies and the books Tolkien wrote is the decades of hard work that went into writing and researching the material that would become The Lord of the Rings series. In his new and very insightful book J.R.R. Tolkien: The Making Of A Legend Colin Duriez takes us behind the curtain to see the man Tolkien with all of his creations, imagination and characters that have captured the attention of millions of readers and movie watchers the world over.Tolkien had a difficult life for many years. He was orphaned and poor, his guardian forbade him to communicate with the woman he had fallen in love with, and he went through the horrors of the First World War. Tolkien was an intensely private man and brilliant scholar. What is not often known about Tolkien is that he spent fifty years working on the languages, history, peoples and geography of Middle-Earth, with a consistent mythology inspired by a formidable knowledge of early northern European history and culture. J.R.R. Tolkien became a legend by creating an imaginary world that has enthralled and delighted generations. This engaging biography by Colin Duriez an expert on Tolkien brings Tolkien to life and helps us understand what his life was like.The genius of men like Tolkien is that they stirred up our imaginations so that we would not be stodgy but rather like we were as children—creative, and innovative. I remember the first time I read The Lord of the Rings and was blown away by the story. I remember watching the movies for the first time and how much I enjoyed them. The genius of Tolkien lies not in his mastery of early European culture and language, but in his ability to use all of that knowledge to tell a story. Above all, Tolkien was a master story teller which is why Tolkien is still remembered today through his work on the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. If you’re like me, and enjoy Tolkien but wonder what he went through in his life, or even some of what he believed, or his friendship with C.S. Lewis—read this book. This book will help you to understand the man behind the movies—a fallen and broken man who even today continues to inspire generations of people through his books and movies.Title: J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a LegendAuthor: Colin DuriezPublisher: Kregel (2012)Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Kregel 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.”

  • Kevin Sorensen
    2019-05-01 03:49

    In timely fashion, Kregel is releasing Colin Duriez’ book on J.R.R. Tolkien just time. With a resurgence from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies and now the release (of the first installment, anyway) of The Hobbit, Tolkien and all things Middle Earth have perhaps never been more popular. So what a great time to learn more about their creator/author.Duriez does a masterful job of not trying to write a biography as much as help the reader understand how this master of languages and myth came to create an entire world called Middle Earth. Having read Humphrey Carpenter’s authorized biography years ago, I can appreciate a ‘fresh’ look at an ‘old figure’ in Tolkien. Duriez draws upon Carpenter for quite a bit of the biographical insights. However, from that he goes on to show the mind that drew from a love of words and languages, a fascination with myth (especially ancient English, Anglo-Saxon mythology) and even from his own life’s experiences to eventually write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.I was completely fascinated to learn how so much of Tolkien’s life shaped his writings. From his own experiences during WWI, to losing his parents at a young age; from meeting his future wife, Edith, to the various places he visited––all shaped his thinking and creativity. I was previously unaware of his involvement in the T.C.B.S (the Tea Club Barrovian Society), a group of fellow students and like-minded lovers of literature, words and languages. The friendships from this group had a powerfully profound influence upon Tolkien. The later formation of the Inklings, including the likes of C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams and others were a great encouragement for Tolkien to continue writing and completing his master works.While the author does not go into great detail of the biographical nature of Tolkien’s relationship with Edith Bratt, who eventually became his wife, he shows how her presence and influence was made upon the characters Beren and Lúthien from The Silmarillion. It was all very touching, especially his love for her in their latter years.If you’ve read Tolkien’s books and/or seen the movies, I would highly commend this book to you. It will deepen your appreciation for all things written by J.R.R. Tolkien, as well as of the author himself.

  • Ray Campbell
    2019-05-16 19:50

    This was a surprisingly fascinating book. I have a clear picture of Tolkien as an elderly Oxford professor smoking a pipe near a hedge in front of a lovely cottage. I'm not sure where that image comes from, but I'm sure I've imagined meetings of the Inklings over a few pints reading each others prose, laughing and arguing. I was also aware that he was in Europe during World War I. What I didn't expect was a childhood moving from Africa to several locations in England without a father and then as an orphan. I was also fuzzy on the extent to which Tolkien was a soldier in the trenches in the worst fighting of the war. Duriez brings all of this to life drawing from letters, diary entries and public records. As an adventure tale, the first part of the book, from South Africa to orphan to soldier surviving the trenches, would be an amazing adventure tale if it were fiction.As the book progresses and Tolkien embarks on his adult career as a father, husband and scholar, Duriez carefully connects Tolkien's early life experience and geography to his later fiction. At this point, the excitement is far less, but as a fan of Tolkien and all his works, I was fascinated. No huge shocks in his friendship with C.S. Lewis or struggles with his publishers, but Duriez keeps it interesting making lots of wonderful connections.If you aren't a fan, this would still be a wonderful biography of a figure whose life spanned one of the most turbulent periods in human history. If you are a fan, this is a great read. I tag many of my reviews with the note that I expect to give a good read 3 stars. I save 4 stars for really outstanding books and 5 for those that change my life. I don't give many 5s. This book changed my perspective on a figure I have always admired and dare I say loved. A biographer has a choice in how he or she presents the facts. A biography can be mundane or full of poetic references and organized so that the telling of the life adds meaning. There were passages I found so moving that I can't deny - this is a 5.

  • Annette
    2019-05-13 21:33

    Summary:J. R. R. Tolkien was the author of fantasy fiction books that rang in a new type of sensory experience. From his creations of dwarves, elves, hobbit's, and descriptions of a place called Middle-earth. He created unique physical descriptions, as well as dialects and languages.J. R. R. Tolkien was a professor at Oxford, teaching Anglo-Saxon and English Language and Literature.He devoted his lifetime to reading and studying northern European peoples. This led to the creation of a language borrowed from Welsh and Finnish.John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born 3 January 1892 in South Africa. He and his brother were close to their Catholic mother. Catholicism would remain a devoted belief in his life. As a young child he and his brother moved back to England with their mother. He had the opportunity as a young man to attend Oxford University. Tolkien was often "distracted" from his studies. He was seen as being lax, but was consumed with the beginning foundations of a study that would lead him to his future books.Review:Positive Points: Fulfilled a curiosity I had about the author of these wonderful stories. The biography addresses both positive and negative points in Tolkien's personality, life choices, and demeanor. I feel I was shown an honest dimensional view of Tolkien.Tolkiens' family, friends, colleagues are given a voice which added their view on the humanity of Tolkien.Tolkien's inventions of his Middle-earth stories are described. They were not invented in a short period of time, rather during a course of many years these fantasy creatures developed into legend quality. World War I and its affect on Tolkien is expressed.We are given a peek at the marriage of Tolkien.Negative Points:I did not find any negative points.Thank you to Kregel, Lion Hudson, and Colin Duriez for my free review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  • Tina Peterson
    2019-04-24 21:28

    I've always been interested in how a book or a series of books like Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit come to be written. How does one take an idea (an inkling really) and turn it into a story that will catch the imaginations of millions over the years & around the world?What you'll find in this biography is a book spanning the long life of J.R.R. Tolkien and the experiences that he lived through that helped him form the events within the book. From growing up & being raised by the Catholic Church, tinkering with the child's play of forming languages to actually learning how languages are formed, traveling to Finland and other countries which gave him the ability to describe the sweeping vistas he wrote of in his books to participating in World War II and the horrors he saw and lived through on a daily basis for years thus giving him the ability to write about the many varied wars & battles in his books - you will find out what made Tolkein "tick".Tolkein was a man gifted with the ability to take what he saw, felt and lived through and describe it to the average man whether learned or not. He was a loving husband, father and a strong friend to have backing you up - and it also sounds like he was a "brilliant" thinker (Eistein type brilliant) and had the ability to make the English, Welsh and the Ancient forms of writing and language understandable to his students (at least those that wanted to understand).If you are a FAN of LOTR's, The Hobbit and any of the several Appendices that he wrote, or perhaps are a fan of poetry (of which he was very gifted) be sure to grab a copy of JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend.Disclaimer: I was offered a copy of JRR Tolkien: The Making of a Legend to read and review on GivingNSharing by Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review & no money exchanged hands.

  • Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
    2019-05-11 00:47

    From the very first page of this book it is clear that the author, Colin Duriez, is an amazing source of knowledge regarding all things Tolkien. This book is filled with impressive depth of knowledge about Tolkien's life from a very young age, even mentioning memories Tolkien had from toddlerhood when he lived in Africa. Tolkien's entire life is laid out in great detail, including the loss of his parents at a young age and his subsequent education which lead him to friendships with influential people, including Narnia author C.S. Lewis. As a biography this book gives readers a very impressive insight into a fascinating Victorian England rags-to-riches saga.For fans of Tolkien's books, this book is even more valuable. By detailing Tolkien's life in large and small details, the author Duriez provides insights into Tolkien's mindset when he created the entire Middle Earth world. For example, Tolkien was especially gifted in languages and codes, even making up imaginary languages with playmates when he was young. It was this talent, Duriez argues, that Tolkien used to create the memorable places and characters of the Lord of the Rings series. Perhaps the most interesting portion of the book is when Tolkien began to interact with fellow writers, including Narnia author C.S. Lewis. What amazing get-togethers they all must have had! From his birth in Africa to his humble upbringing as an orphan to his extraordinary education, Tolkien lived an extraordinary life. This book is for anyone who is looking for many insights into the life and personality behind the Lord of the Rings series.I received this book complimentary from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review but the opinion in this review is all mine.

  • Susan
    2019-04-28 02:51

    I decided to review J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend because I was curious about Tolkien. I've never read any of his books: no Hobbits, no Lord of the Rings,none of it. I probably should: they're such classics, and his Lord of the Rings is supposed to share a lot of inspiration with Wagner's Ring Cycle of operas, which fascinate me. Anyway, when Kregel books offered J. R. R. Tolkien: The Making of a Legend, I said yes.I enjoyed the book. It's a basic story of J. R. R. Tolkien's life. I learned that Tolkien was orphaned at an early age. He served in WWI and was pretty traumatized by it. Several of his good friends from college were killed in the war. He fell in love with a girl three years older than him when he was a teen, and the Catholic priest who was his caretaker forbid him to see her until he was 21. At that time, they got in touch again and got married.Tolkien was always fascinated with languages and its intricacies. He had various very specific interests, and honestly while reading this I got kind of an Asperger's vibe from him. Turns out I'm not the only one who suspected that Tolkien may have been on the autism spectrum.Tolkien became good friends with C. S. Lewis during his adult years, and many credit Tolkien in large part with persuading Lewis to become a Christian. Although Tolkien was a professor at Oxford, it was still years before his books found a publisher (apparently some things never change). Publishers feared his the fantasy worlds he created would not appeal to adults.Although I felt that the book was written in a bit too scholarly of a tone to be really enjoyable, I am glad I read it, and I learned a lot. Will I read "The Hobbit" or "Lord of the Rings?" Still not sure

  • Scot
    2019-04-21 22:54

    If I was looking for a thorough biography of Tolkien, or a deeper psychological analysis of connections between how he constructed his fantasy worlds and his personal experience, I am sure there are other books I might turn to first--indeed, one of this book's strengths is how it summarizes and cites much that has been covered before. To be honest, I just happened upon this book, and as I have always admired both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, and sometimes secretly romanticized what it would be like to spend time with them, to be a student or tutor at Oxford in the 1920s or 30s, I picked it up and began reading. Among the interesting things I learned: Tolkien was born and spent early years in South Africa. he was jealous sometimes when he thought Lewis was too close with other academic friends, he got his traditional Roman Catholic commitment from his parents coming under the influence of John Henry Newman and following him out of the Church of England. His father died when he was but a tot, his mother died while he was still a child. His guardian was a kindly priest, and although he had been forbidden to keep seeing his first true love for class/social reasons by that well-intentioned priest, young Tolkien kept him ardor burning bright in secret for three years, and when he turned 21, they snuck off and were wed, and would stay together for the rest of their lives.This little volume gave me a deeper appreciation of the academic/social culture that Tolkien lived in, of his particular intellectual interests and accomplishments in philology, and tangentially, the politics of academic culture at Leeds, Oxford, and Cambridge in the early decades of the twentieth century.

  • Biographyguy
    2019-05-04 02:41

    This brief biography on English author and oxford scholar J.R.R. Tolkien provides an excellent glimpse into the life of the man who would almost single handedly invent the fantasy genre. From his early schooldays where he and some friends formed the Tea Club Barrovian Society(or T.C.B.S. for short) to his time as an oxford professor where he formed the inklings with notables like C.S. Lewis, much of his life is detailed. From the harrowing experiences Tolkien had firsthand in World War I where some of his T.C.B.S. friends died on the battlefront, to his time at oxford with far fewer students and faculty than normal due to World War II responsibilities, Tolkien's inner life when it comes to war is also examined. This book also goes into detail about some of Tolkien's early works that were not directly related to The Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit. Some of his works, like the Leaf of Niggle, indirectly influenced characters and themes that would appear in his more well known publications. The reason I only gave this book four stars is because very little was said about Tolkien's loathing of machinery and new technology. I believe that these beliefs played a vital part as to why he chose to write in a world where machinery and the like is only used by those who are evil. Other than that, if you wish to understand the man behind the phenomenon, this is a great place to start.

  • Sara
    2019-04-21 00:50

    Since my husband is the bigger Lord of the Rings fan, I am going to give mostly his review here.My favorite books are The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I have read them many times in my life. I have watched the movies (the extended director’s cut, even) and am eagerly awaiting the rest of The Hobbit movies. So, I was interested to learn more about the man behind one of my favorite worlds.This book gives insight in the past of Tolkein in an effort to let you know why he wrote his famous books. It starts from his birth and tells stories of his life through adulthood. It is your typical biography told about the man behind one of the greatest series of books ever written. And, if you are into biographies or REALLY into the LOTR, then this book is right up your alley. Unfortunately, I guess I am just not that into biographies. It was interesting to learn about Tolkien and where he came from, but I kept wanting to stop reading and go pick up The Hobbit. But, that is just me. This book is well written and does provide good insight into the life of one of the most famous writers in the world.

  • Laura
    2019-04-26 01:48

    Having never read a book by J.R.R. Tolkien, I found Colin Duriez’s book about Tolkien one of great enlightenment, set in a manner that was both intriguing and interesting. For those who have read Tolkien’s books, but know little about his background, this will be a satisfying read, understanding the mind behind the stories.The very personal aspects of Tolkien’s life will resonate with some, and bring wonderment at how he used his life to create the worlds in his books. His brilliant mind intrigued me personally as to how he interpreted his everyday life and language, and projected it into his stories. Family was of great importance to him, though at times it seems he was away a lot. His romantic side was satisfying as well, waiting as he did to marry his first love.Times were difficult, but he made the most of everything thrown his way. He pursued his dream until he happened. Getting to know the J.R.R. Tolkien was inspirational for me.This book was provided by Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was received.

  • Debra Brinkman
    2019-04-24 21:28

    Colin Duriez does a fantastic job of writing in an engaging way. Not a dry, factual biography, he truly tells the story of Tolkien's life. Clearly, Duriez knows his subject. In fact, according to his biographical info, he appeared as a commentator on the Lord of the Rings DVDs. You can bet I'm putting those in again to find that commentary.This biography was fascinating. Most of what I knew about Tolkien came from reading about C. S. Lewis, so it has been particularly intriguing to learn a bit more about Lewis through reading a biography of Tolkien.One thing I love with this book is that it doesn't shy away from his religious upbringing and thoughts, but that is far from the only part of Tolkien's life that is explored. A very readable biography, this is a book I will hand to my children to read as well, as it is certainly appropriate for teen readers.Disclaimer: I received this book through Kregel Blog Tours. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not required to post to GoodReads, but I loved the book so I did.