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The Complete History of Middle Earth, Vol. 1 [Hardcover]

J.R.R. Tolkien , Christopher Tolkien
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 9 2003 0007149158 978-0007149155

The complete History of Middle-earth, printed in three volumes.

J.R.R. Tolkien is famous the world over for his unique literary creation, exemplified in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. What is less well known, however, is that he also produced a vast amount of further material that greatly expands upon the mythology and numerous stories of Middle-earth, and which gives added life to the thousand-year war between the Elves and the evil spirit Morgoth, and his terrifying lieutenant, Sauron.

It was to this enormous task of literary construction that Tolkien’s youngest son and literary heir, Christopher, applied himself to produce the monumental and endlessly fascinating series of twelve books, The History of Middle-earth.

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'One marvels anew at the depth, breadth and persistence of J.R.R. Tolkien's labour. No one sympathetic to his aims - the invention of a secondary universe - will want to miss this chance to be present at the creation.' Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Christopher Tolkien, born on 21 November 1924, is the third son of J.R.R. Tolkien. During the Second World War he served in the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm as a pilot. At the end of the war he returned to Oxford University, and became a fellow of New College and tutor in English in 1964, lecturing in the University on early English and northern literature. Appointed by J.R.R. Tolkien to be his literary executor, he has devoted himself since his father's death in 1973 to the editing and publication of unpublished writings, notably The Silmarillion and the collections entitled Unfinished Tales and The History of Middle-earth. Since 1975 he has live in France with his wife Baillie.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Series Overview July 3 2010
NOTE: The individual volumes in the 12-volume History of Middle-Earth series are also published in three large 'Parts' in a series inconsistently titled either The Complete History of Middle-earth and The History of Middle-earth

Part 1 contains volumes I-V from the single-volume series.
Part 2 contains volumes VI to IX from the single-volume series.
Part 3 contains volumes X-XII from the single-volume series.

Which you might buy depends on your taste and how you plan to use the books. Would you rather have three bulky volumes of about 1500 pages each or twelve volumes that are typically 450 pages long?


Collections of an author's work are often confusing, particularly when what the author has created is as complex as Tolkien's writings. Here's an overview of the twelve-volume History of Middle-earth, which was edited by his son Christopher Tolkien. Hopefully, it will help you select which book or books to buy.

Keep something in mind. In the U.S. Houghton Mifflin publishes Tolkien's authorized works in hardback and trade paperback editions, while Ballantine Books publishes them as cheaper mass-market paperbacks. For some reason, Ballantine doesn't always make it clear that some of their titles are part of the same History of Middle-earth series as those published by Houghton Mifflin. If the title is the same, the content is the same. Which you buy depends on your taste in books and finances. I have copies of both.


These five volumes deal primarily with Tolkien's writings before the publication of The Hobbit (1937) and The Lord of the Rings (1954-55). In them, Tolkien was struggling as a still unknown author to create his first history of Middle-earth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Volume 1 of a great set of books May 5 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Tolkienverse comes to life in this volume and it is well worth the money for those individuals who want to acquire a greater knowledge of Tolkien's writings.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of My Best Purchases April 18 2013
By The Completist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is the singular hardcover collection of the first 5 "History of Middle-Earth" books (from "The Book of Lost Tales" through "The Lost Road"). I was sure to check the Table of Contents for all 5 of my paperback editions and compare them with this one to ensure nothing was missing. The only downside to the book is the paper, which is thinner than the pulp paper of the original hardcovers. It IS technically onion-skin, but it's not the fragile onion-skin paper you find in pocket Bibles, it's actually thicker and sturdier, just softer and smoother than the paper you typically find in hardcovers.

I recommend it as it is easier and cheaper than paying for harder-to-find out of print original hardcovers of the first 5 books.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tolkien Bible March 6 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I call this the Tolkien bible because that is really the size shape and texture of this book. It has the thin bible print pages and it is still really substantial. Gave this book and a gift and it arrive in terrific condition and was extremely well received.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent compilation April 3 2011
By Jane Rae Wilkens - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
For those who want all of these histories and extra stories under one cover (more or less!), these three volumes are wonderful! They arrived promptly and in great condition. No problems.
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good Jan. 25 2014
By PANAGIOTIS MANTHOPOULOS - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It was like i was expecting but i would prefer a better protector of the hard case on the front
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