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4.7 out of 5 stars
Compl Gde To Middle Earth Illus Ed C
Format: HardcoverChange
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We play Tolkien trivia in one of the websites I frequent and this is an absolute gem when it comes to stumping other players. It's comprehensive and useful.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 100 REVIEWERon September 20, 2006
The book has a well thought out design in a dictionary form. You find information on every character, every place, and every thing. There is a section on how to read the sources and abbreviations in the book. There are appendixes with A Chronology of the First Age, Genealogical Tables, and Conversion of page references to Houghton Mifflin Editions.

Some may think this guide is geared towards those that already have a basic knowledge of Middle earth. But upon exam one finds it is like any other dictionary those with a large vocabulary may need an occasional glance; while others may have to look up the words that explain the words.

I find it indispensable.
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on July 14, 2004
This is a must have for all Tolkien Fans. It has everything you need to know about characters and places to make you a Middle Earth expert!
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on June 30, 2004
My thirteen-year-old daughter has become a solid Tolkien fan, and picked up this book for further study. Organized into dictionary form, this wonderful book contains all of the information on people, places and things found in J.R.R. Tolkien's books on Middle-Earth. Do you want to know more about Elrond or the great Wizards? What about the Grey Havens or the Rings of Power? Well, it's all here!
The information is nicely organized, including translations (where necessary) and source reference. Now, the one thing I must say is that if you have not read the Silmarillion, then a good deal of the information here will not mean much to you. If you have read it, then this book will be a great resource for you. If you haven't read the Silmarillion (like my daughter), then you will still find this a treasure trove of fascinating information. My daughter and I both highly recommend this book to you!
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on May 16, 2004
When I bought this book my focus was not on the history (which there was much of), but the elves and their languages. This book contains lots of their words and helpful comments on the origins and developments, but no distinction between the words as to which languages they fit into. Overall helpful as far as history (and very extensive character explanations).
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on May 11, 2004
This is a very well written though guide book for the Middel-earth world. I personally think that it's great for any one who wants to learn more about the world that Tolkien created. It answers a lot of questions that aren't difficult to understand.
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on February 26, 2004
I agree with others that the definitions aren't often that clear and require that you know the character/item ahead of time. But there are a few areas of improvement that would really make this book shine:
-Including guide words on the top of pages would make finding terms easier.
-The genealogical charts at the end are full of errors - mostly typographical - including obvious ones such as switching the names "Aragorn II" and "Arathorn II".
-Maps would make geographical descriptions so much easier. They may have not been included for other reasons, but would make this truly a superb reference.
In conclusion, this book may be misleading in its appeal and not be so well suited to the casual reader. It may also spoil some events you have not yet read if you are reading Tolkien for the first time. It is great for that occasional (aka frequent) confusion though. It is a useful reference and with a good edit would be vastly more excellent and accurate.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon January 31, 2004
The book has a well thought out design in a dictionary form. You find information on every character, every place, and every thing. There is a section on how to read the sources and abbreviations in the book. There are appendixes with A Chronology of the First Age, Genealogical Tables, and Conversion of page references to Houghton Mifflin Editions.
Some may think this guide is geared towards those that already have a basic knowledge of Middle earth. But upon exam one finds it is like any other dictionary those with a large vocabulary may need an occasional glance; while others may have to look up the words that explain the words.
I find it indispensable.
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I give kudos for this book. I truly enjoy it. The only complaint I have is I feel it is incomplete. There are characters I'd care to know more about from Simarillion that aren't included. It is a great resource otherwise.
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on January 1, 2004
What can I say except that this is truely a 1st rate book. Of the many "Tolkien companions" available I found this one perfect as unlike many others Foster has not forgotten the "lesser characters and places". The A-Z format is easy to use and understand and makes finding certain characters a breeze. The addition of dates, page references and language origin is a bonus I personally found which was lacking in many other companions available. As I mentioned before, what makes this a stand out addition to any Tolkien fan is that Foster has not forgotten the lesser known characters and such. Other companions tend to "omit" things in order to elaborate more on the main characters etc which I feel goes against the point of the book (To help readers learn abit more on characters and places etc). Foster has to the the joy of readers included ALL characters, places, battles AND foods and included the many multiple names and terms of characters so it doesn't matter whether you look up for example Strider instead of Aragorn as Foster will include the various names at the end of each section so you can look up them as you wish.
One "fault" I did find with the book was like many have mentioned, the lack of maps. It has been extremely difficult to find a "complete" map of middle earth and perhaps if Mr Foster should read this, the addition of maps in the future would surely improve my already high opinion of this beautifully put together book.
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