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The People's Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien [Paperback]

TheOneRing.Net , Erica Challis
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 20 2003
Author J.R.R. Tolkien created his mythical Middle-earth as the setting for his greatest works, "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit". Fantasy readers worldwide have loved both the books and the intricate magical world they inhabit. Director Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy has created an even greater awareness and curiosity about Tolkien's creation. This guide to J.R.R. Tolkien is an exploration of Tolkien's world from the writers of the Tolkien fan website, TheOneRing.net. The volume includes new articles as well as familiar favourites from the website. The essays are grouped around themes such as defending fantasy literature from the accusation of triviality; why people become Tolkien "fans"; whether Tolkien's notions of Good, Evil and Free Will are relevant to a changing world; the inspiration fans draw from his work; and the ideas from which Tolkien himself drew inspiration, both in his life and in his love of ancient literature and European myths. The volume also looks at the impact of the wildly popular cinematic version and answers the most common questions asked about Middle-earth.

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About the Author

All contributors are part of TheONeRing.net staff, the leading Tolkien fan website in the world. The editor of this book, Erica Challis, is a featured columnist on TheOneRing.net. She hails from New Zealand

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Mistitled and unneccesary, though not terrible Dec 11 2003
By A Customer
Two things must be understood about the people behind theonering.net before buying a book from them: #1 The success of their site is not because of their own work or ingenuity, but because of their partnership with New Line Cinema. #2 Most of the staff serving the site are techies pretending to be writers.
And thus they made the biggest mistake an author could make: they screwed up the title of the book. This collection is not about J.R.R. Tolkien, nor is it a guide at all. It is a collection of thoughts about the fictional world Tolkien created.
Sadly, theonering.net is only popular because of its links to great information; not because of any information it presents itself. And so there's not much reason to read the thoughts of its staff. In fact, if someone is interested, he or she can read the same sort of thoughts for free all over the internet with little searching.
"The People's Guide" is not a bad book. It's just an unneccesary book. It's a chance for the techies to cash in on the popularity of the movies, and it's a chance for them to call themselves authors. My advice for consumers is to spend the money on real authors.
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1.0 out of 5 stars This book is completely misnamed! Nov. 18 2003
I bought this book expecting it to be what its title says it is: a GUIDE and introduction to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien. Well, guess again! This is NOT a "People's Guide," nor is it any other kind of "Guide." It is simply a collection of essays in which a group of fans associated with the website [...] spout their personal opinions on various issues connected with the books and movies. This book does NOT provide any sort of "Guide" to Tolkien, nor is it an introductory work by any stretch of the imagination. It actually presupposes a substantial amount of Tolkien knowledge, and those who lack that are not likely to get much out of reading it.
I'm sure this book will be enjoyable for many readers, notably those who are big fans of the website for which its authors write. I found some of the material in it entertaining myself. But I must strenuously object to its has being so misleadingly titled. With the burgeoning popularity of the books bolstered by the release of the Peter Jackson films, I'm concerned that there may be lots of people new to Tolkien looking for something to read that will help them make sense of it all, who will be attracted to this book because of its fallacious title. To anyone who is new to Tolkien's world, I can't emphasize more strongly that this book is NOT going to help you become oriented to the history, geography, mythology, of anything else concerning Middle-earth...or do much of anything else other than confuse you.
Fortunately, the helpful folks who put out the "For Dummies" series have risen to the challenge and provided a REAL guide to Tolkien's work, which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who is looking for a clear, systematic introduction to Tolkien: The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a modest defense of this book Sept. 10 2003
Well, I feel compelled to defend this book. Yes, it is a collection of writing from a highly popular fan website, written by "amateurs" (by which I assume is meant someone who is not a university professor with stacks of publications to his/her credit). The book's title is the key here, the "People's Guide", not the "Academician's Guide". I may be old-fashioned, but I really prefer holding a book in my hands to reading from a computer screen. I like to underline key passages, put tabs on pages, return often to something that caught my curiosity. As a collection, the book is a mixed bag. Some writers are better than others, some chapters are frivolous, some are humorous and some are as good as anything you're likely to find in a scholarly journal. That's what makes this book so interesting, it's the voices of all the website creators, who are the people. I put myself in the same category, Tolkien fans who are educated, literate and don't have a university appointment but do have a lot of ideas. So I admire their bravery for putting their thoughts on paper and on the Internet, for others to tear down or hold up. Also, I want to express kudos to Cold Spring Press for a very elegant attractively designed volume. The publisher obviously put more than the ordinary effort into the production of this very nice trade paperback.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Web Postings about LOTR Sept. 1 2003
By Mark
I purchased "The People's Guide to J.R.R. Tolkien" thinking I would find interesting facts and information regarding Mr. Tolkien. I was very disappointed and afterward felt that this book's title was very misleading since the book is mostly about LOTR and not Tolkien himself.
It is compilation of comments that are posted on a LOTR web site. As you would expect, there is little information that could be accepted as reliable. The writing style is difficult at times and occasionally very arrogant.
There is very little about Tolkien himself in the book. What it does provide in lieu of information about Tolkien are many opinions about LOTR books and movies. In fact, it spends a great many pages providing reviews of Peter Jackson's recent films.
It appears that little effort is made in the production of this book other than organizing the web postings into categories and adding cartoon illustrations of LOTR characters.
Regardless what the title suggests, this book doesn't provide information about J.R.R. Tolkien.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good website in print
This volume, an essay collection not a "guide" of any sort, is a selection of the offerings at the website TheOneRing.net. Web essays can be entirely different in print. Read more
Published on Dec 20 2003 by David Bratman
5.0 out of 5 stars Really great Tolkien book
I thoroughly enjoyed this, it is really great. The TORN staff do a great job compiling some of the best stuff from their website for this. I couldn't recommend it higher. Read more
Published on Dec 11 2003 by Matt Tinaglia
5.0 out of 5 stars For the "People," by the "People"
Virtually every fan of J.R.R. Tolkien has been to Theonering.net, the massive fan website that contains far-reaching news, rumors, info and discussions about Middle-Earth. Read more
Published on July 17 2003 by E. A Solinas
5.0 out of 5 stars A must own for any Tolkien fan
This book is a must-own for any Tolkien or Inklings fan. The debates and controversies are excellent; indeed, I especially appreciate the open dialogue in here. Read more
Published on July 17 2003 by Bradley J. Birzer
5.0 out of 5 stars TheOneRing.net is awesome!
This is an awesome book. I was not let down by it at all! This book provides great insight into the works of Tolkien. Read more
Published on May 26 2003
2.0 out of 5 stars Hoom Hoom
Some interesting essays for sure but most of it is recycled stuff a lot of Tolkien fans will have read before. Worth a gander if you are new to Tolkien. Read more
Published on May 23 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars OneRing Rocks
I was one of the fortunate ones to obtain this book at the Los Angeles Book Fair the day of its release. And even luckier to have a signed copy!! Read more
Published on May 19 2003 by Whirledtraveler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
This book will be handy for those that are currently reading Tolkien's works as well as those who have already read them all and simply want to learn more. TheOneRing. Read more
Published on May 18 2003 by "teliko"
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Golden Stars to the Net of the One Ring..
A beautiful, dynamic collaberation of essays, reviews and the like, it deserves greatness. Now I can sit in my bed reading the timeless essays and writings of fellow normal LOTR... Read more
Published on May 17 2003 by "lanceskoggle"
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