The untold story of how the First World War shaped the lives, faith, and writings of J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.
The First World War laid waste to a continent and permanently altered the political and religious landscape of the West. For a generation of men and women, it brought the end of innocence - and the end of faith. Yet for J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, the Great War deepened their spiritual quest. Both men served as soldiers on the Western Front, survived the trenches, and used the experience of that conflict to ignite their Christian imagination. Had there been no Great War, there would have been no Hobbits, no Lord of the Rings, no Narnia, and perhaps no conversion to Christianity by C. S. Lewis.
Unlike a generation of young writers who lost faith in the God of the Bible, Tolkien and Lewis produced epic stories infused with the themes of guilt and grace, sorrow and consolation. Giving an unabashedly Christian vision of hope in a world tortured by doubt and disillusionment, the two writers created works that changed the course of literature and shaped the faith of millions. This is the first book to explore their work in light of the spiritual crisis sparked by the conflict.
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My Tolkien-Lewis students will read this book
I have taught a course in the fiction of Tolkien and Lewis for many years now, and while I encourage my students to read in the critical, historical, and biographical literature for class presentations and papers, it is only in reading A Hobbit, A Wardrobe and a Great War that I found a book that merits requiring ALL my students to read it in order to have a shared understanding of what the Inklings - indeed, friendship in general - meant to Tolkien and Lewis, and how they helped shape each other's lives and works.
Such a disappointment
- M. VanLoo