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The Hobbit and History

The Hobbit and HistoryCompanion to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

A fascinating guide to the history behind J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit—just in time for the final movie release, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ... more

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Overview

A fascinating guide to the history behind J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit—just in time for the final movie release, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

J.R.R. Tolkien's Bilbo Baggins is one of the most beloved characters in modern literature. In many ways, the author was the model for his humble hobbit hero: he was fond of books, smoked his pipe, and enjoyed his homely comforts as much as Bilbo ever did. For the first time, this unique guide explores the magic and creativity behind Tolkien’s bestselling story from a historical perspective.
The Hobbit and History first details Tolkien’s life from his time in the trenches of World War One to his lectures as a professor of medieval languages and literature at Oxford University. Fans will be fascinated to learn how the iconic author chose to confine his adventures and begin a life of storytelling. The Hobbit and History then unlocks the parallels between the Middle Ages and the intricate culture of Middle-earth that Tolkien created in The Hobbit, touching on everything from historical figures influencing Tolkien’s characters to food, riddles, and battle tactics. The book’s descriptions of the magical elements of myth and legend give a clear view into Tolkien’s inspiration for the wizards, dragons, and monsters he created. Seeing Middle-earth and its peoples against these historical backdrops shines new light on the richness of Tolkien’s world, which is rooted in a knowledge of European cultures as deep as the archive which Gandalf explores in Minas Tirith.

Filled with fascinating facts and some of Tolkien’s original sketches that illustrate the parallels between Tolkien’s fictional world and reality, The Hobbit and History is the missing piece for every book and movie fan and anyone who thought their J.R.R. Tolkien collection was complete.

Nancy R. Reagin is a professor of history and women's and gender studies at Pace University, who has published several books in modern European history. Her current research focuses on the history of...more