These are few writers who can claim the popularity and enduring appeal of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. His celebrated novels have sold in excess of 160 million copies, and are in large part responsible for seeding the entire genre of fantasy fiction.
Now, renowned biographer Michael White looks back over the little-known life of this most treasured of writers. In absorbing and revealing detail, he chronicles Tolkien's childhood years and the tragic early death of his parents; his burgeoning romance with Edith Bratt; his many years as an Oxford academic; his friendship with C-S Lewis and the founding of the Inklings group.
It was while marking a series of exam papers that Tolkien found a blank page in a candidate's answer-book. Doodling in the space, he suddenly found himself writing 'In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit'. Intrigued, Tolkien decided to find out all about Hobbits - a search that set in motion the epic works for which we know him today. Michael White describes why Tolkien's writing took off so spectacularly - and how The Lord of the Rings became the must-read of the late sixties counter-culture.
Informed and entertaining, Tolkien is the fascinating story of how the man who created The Hobbit became one of the giants of modern literature.