I love all things Narnia. C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors. I don’t cry often… hardly ever really… it’s a problem. But the Chronicles of Narnia get me. I hate when The Pevensie Kids are grown up and stumble back through the wardrobe and into childhood away from Narnia. It makes me sad every time. I well up with happy, excited tears in “The Last Battle” when they are going further up and further in. I am not as big of a Tolkien fan, but definitely call my children hobbits on a regular basis… due to 2nd breakfasts and their stature.
All that to say, I was intrigued at the title of this book when I saw it come across my Facebook feed. The kids and I read a C.S. Lewis biography a couple of years ago and I was fascinated with the relationship between Lewis and Tolkien.
“A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, And a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship, and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-18” by Joseph Loconte has 256 pages and was first published June 30, 2015. The book is filled with observations of the political and religious landscape of the West during the time of World War 1. Both Tolkien and Lewis served as soldiers on the Western Front. This book sheds light on how these wartime experiences influenced the writings of these two great authors.
I am not really sure what I was expecting when I started reading this book. I think I was expecting a devotional type reading, not a history lesson. But, then again, I did not read the book description… just the title. I learned quite a bit about the political and religious climate in Europe during the time of World War 1. It was not much different from today. There was very much an advancement in science and technology during that time. The books dives into the rise of communism, Nazism, fascism, and eugenics, highlighting how those who survived the Great War were disillusioned with government, religion, politics, and spiritual morality.
The book was more of a history book than I expected. There were some graphic depictions of life during the war. Tolkien was not a fan of the focus on technology. He felt it would be man’s downfall. Learning about the time period surrounding the writing of Lord of the Rings and Narnia were helpful in imagining what the author’s may have been thinking about as they created these magical lands. The two men lived in an age where people felt hopeless yet were able to inspire hope through their writings.
If you like history, which I do… and you like learning the behind the scenes of things… which I also do, I recommend you give this book a chance. It is a fairly quick read. I think it would be appropriate for upper middle school and high school as well.
A Hobbit, A Wardrobe, and A Great War by Joseph Laconte was published by Thomas Nelson
Just in case it needs to be said, I am by no means a professional book reviewer or book critic. I just like to read and share what I have learned. I am also an affiliate with Amazon. If you click through and purchase through links on this blog, our family will receive a small percentage from the purchase. Thank you.