There and Back Again

  • by Sean Astin, Joe Layden
  • Narrated by Sean Astin
  • 4 hrs and 33 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The Lord of the Rings is one of the most successful film franchises in cinematic history. Breaking box office records worldwide, capturing numerous Academy Awards, the trilogy is a breathtaking cinematic achievement and beloved by fans everywhere. For Sean Astin, the call from his agent about the role of Samwise Gamgee couldn't have come at a better time. His career was at a low point and choice roles were hard to come by. But his 18-month experience in New Zealand with director Peter Jackson and the cast and crew of The Lord of the Rings films would be more than simply a dream come true, it would prove to be the challenge of a lifetime. Though much has been written about the making of the films, the real story of what took place on the set, the harrowing ordeals of the actors and the unspoken controversy and backstage dealings have never been told. More than a companion guide to the Rings films, There and Back Again is filled with stories from the set and of the actors involved that have never before been revealed; an eye-opening look at the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the making of one of the most ambitious films of all time.

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What the Critics Say



Audie Award Finalist, Narration by Author or Authors, 2005
" "The book succeeds as a brutally frank, hard-hitting portrait of the film business. Astin shoots from the hip, frequently offending people with his contentious viewpoints....Astin comes across as a complex personality, courageous, impulsive, loving, abrasive, and these contradictory qualities make him an arresting centerpiece for a Hollywood story." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Borrow it from the Library

As a tremendous fan of the books for the past 17 years, and the movies since they came out, I was very excited to see this book. I've been fascinated by all of the stories related on the DVDs about the making of the films and the rapport between the cast (and crew), and was hoping for more of the same from "There and Back Again".

As it turns out, this book is not about the making of the Lord of the Rings...it's about Sean Astin. It's about his life story, and his trials and triumphs throughout his career and during the making of these movies. Unfortunately, Sean Astin has a tendency to sometimes come across as a bit whiny and self-centered. I got the impression that he is a rather high-maintenance sort of person, who likes to think of himself as low-maintenance and easy going. A lot of this tendency would be toned down by closer editing, especially of the material that is not related to the Lord of the Rings (given that the book is marketed as a "making of" story).

That said, I did gain additional perspective on the movie experience and the personalities involved, as well as insight into the experience of growing up in a show-biz family. I'm glad I read the book, but I wish I'd bought it in paperback (or borrowed it from the library!) instead of paying for the hardcover.
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- Erin

Too self-focused for my taste

This book is primarily about the author's/actor's internal experiences in his industry - his fears, insecurities, regrets and so on. While I can appreciate his honesty, I didn't feel a need to know that much about his internal world and sometimes found myself thinking, "Get over it, Sean - we all have to deal with that kind of thing." It seemed very repetitious. I had hoped he would spend most of the time on anecdotes and events in the filming of the trilogy. There is a little of the latter - for example, retelling how the "nine" got their tattoos - but overall this LOTR fan found it a mediocre book.
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- Atl Chris "Atl Chris"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-2004
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio