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4.7 out of 5 stars
Compl Gde To Middle Earth Illus Ed C
Format: HardcoverChange
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Showing 1-2 of 2 reviews(2 star)show all reviews
on September 6, 2000
Having read The Hobbit and being about half-way though The Fellowship of the Ring I purchased this book expecting to use it as a reference on my way through this great story. From the first paragraph of the introduction, this book assumes you have read the whole of Tolkien's writings. Instead of breaking down the descriptions of characters and places into sections as they correlate to the individual books, each is jumbled into (at least) one paragraph. So, if you accidently read a sentance too far ahead in this guide, you'll give away what you have not yet read in the original books. Also, this book makes excessive use of abbreviations - some of which I can't figure out at all (q.v.???). Finally, for a "complete" guide this book lacks the single most useful aid for reading Tolkien: a decent map (or any map, for that matter) as not all editions come with one. While this book does seem thorough (and may be better than nothing if used cautiously), it is poorly organized and is best meant for use by those already familiar with Tolkien's great vision.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2003
Somehow, I was always of the opinion that an explanation was supposed to make things EASIER to understand. Many of Foster's explanations only seem to make things murkier. Witness the first sentence of his description of Sauron: "Ainu, one of the Maiar of Aule." Now, if that explanation means anything to you, you probably don't need the Complete Guide. For the rest of us people who get out sometimes, this explanation is useless. Admittedly, the explanation picks up after a bit, but why force me to wade through a paragraph of gibberish to find out what I need to know. Why not just tell me that Sauron is some really bad guy or something, you know, English. But then again, if he wrote that way, Foster couldn't impress you with his Tolkien Fluency.
Don't impress me. Just tell me what I need to know.
Otherwise, a somewhat useful book.
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