Book Reviews: The Real JRR Tolkien by Jesse Xander and Stan Lee: how Marvel Changed the World by Adrian Mackinder
I asked to review both of these books as they are subjects I am very interested in. JRR Tolkien and Stan Lee must be two of the most influential people in popular culture. Their works have far-reaching influence and few people can say they have not heard of them or some element of their work. I have not paid for these books and I have not been paid to write these reviews. My words and opinions are as ever my own.
Jesse writes the history of Tolkien's family, from his parents marriage in South Africa, to his own marriage, academic and writing career. All have been interwoven with insights and analysis of his writing. The chapter on Tolkien's declared dislike of anti-antisemitism yet ambiguous portrayal of dwarves is an interesting read that does not shirk this discussion. Similarly Jesse tackles the question as to whether Tolkien and/or his writing is racist. This is an uncompromising book tackling several complex areas in Tolkien's life and works.
The chapter on Tolkien's legacy: looking at the further histories of the Middle Earth written after his death; the films and even computer games and so on that now followed is very interesting. Tolkien's legacy is more than just the licensed creations but also the fan-fiction and the fictions that have been inspired by his works. We all know of books/games/tv series where you can see a strong element of Tolkien's approach to history and mythological creatures being played out in front of us.
This is an excellent biography. If you have any interest in Tolkien's work then it is one you should read. I completely recommend it as it is informative, very readable and provokes thought.
The Real JRR Tolkien by Jesse Xander is published by White Owl.