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The Real Middle Earth: Exploring the Magic and Mystery of the Middle Ages, J.R.R. Tolkien, and "The Lord of the Rings" Paperback – Oct 7 2004
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“This is the only book that I have ever read that manages literally to evoke the magic of Anglo-Saxon England, rooting the medieval texts firmly in a landscape, a people and a sense of experience. It situates the English in one corner of a vast enchanted world.” ―Ronald Hutton, Professor of History at the University of Bristol and author of The Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles
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Top Customer Reviews
From what I can gather from reading this book the author seems like he has a similar belief that I have always had that Tolkien on one level was conciously trying to help to write a missing part of our (assuming you are of anglo-celtic-norse ancestry) heritage due to our own ancestors poor job of writng down and recording their own history, and in part to the fact that much of what is known of our pre christian history was written by outsiders to the culture, or people with a biased political agenda, and above all Christian church hierarchy who were more or less under orders to discredit our whole culture as of being of the Jewish satan and to force this alien Jew Yahweh/Jesus god upon our people. Even though Tolkien himself was a devout Catholic, I believe he was conciously trying to "fill in the blanks" in a sense, even though the inspiration and the imagination of the Hobbit/LOTR came from his subconcious ancestral memory as well as the written sources of the time that we have.
So enough of my pschoanalyzing, on to the book itself.Read more ›
Bates is a psychologist, and I found his overview of history rather general, to say nothing of his familiarity with Tolkien. Moreover, he suppresses certain terminology (such as the Norse term "Midgard" which he replaces with "Middle-Earth") in order to drive the point home. This might be forgiveable if his point was academic, but the reader begins to suspect a marketing strategy instead.
While some of his insights are informative, I felt this book suffers from trying to accomplish something that may not have been the author's original intention.
Bates also explains really well how such a magical outlook on life relates to our own perspectives. In a time where The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter confirms the potency of magic for our lives, we see how we once had a wisdom lost over the centuries as first Christianity and then science became dominant world views. But Bates does not paint a utopia - he makes clear that life was hard in Anglo-Saxon times. Yet he shows what the usual history or mythology books are missing - the magic at the heart of life in those times.
The book is refreshingly written, free from academic pomposity and dry argument. He offers vivid anecdotes, examples, and beautiful descriptions which make the reader feel present in those times.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I wish I could like this book. The topic (the culture of Britain before the Norman conquest) is one in which I have recently become very interested, and Bates seems to know his... Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by John F. Michalski
This book never claims to be about Tolkein - it is about the Real Middle Earth that Tolkein uses as a background for his fantasy work. Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004 by Linda Joslin
This excellent book turns the anthropological magnifying glass back on the West. This is about "our (if you are of anglo celtic ancestry) Dreamtime". Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2004 by Dean V Maynard
The book is rather good.
The author goes into detail about the lives of the Saxons, Norse and Celts who lived on the Island of England at various periods. Read more
The title and blurbs are misleading: it isn't about Tolkien at all. It's an attempt by an English redbrick university psychology professor to use Tolkien's popularity as an... Read morePublished on Dec 20 2003 by David Bratman
I agree with a previous reviewer that this book is not really about Tolkien's Middle-earth. You can read for pages and pages without a single reference to hobbits or dwarves! Read morePublished on Dec 20 2003 by J. Butler
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