( Read Ebook ) ⛓ 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 Ä eBook or Kindle ePUB free

( Read Ebook ) Ñ 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 ⛎ The untold story of how the First World War shaped the lives, faith, and writings of J R R Tolkien and C S LewisThe 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 Hobbit, no Lord of the Rings, no Narnia, and perhaps no conversion to Christianity by C S LewisUnlike 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 I ve read bundles of fiction and nonfiction books on World War II, but not World War I How did fascism, Nazism, communism, and eugenics take root after WWI Why did people support narcissistic leaders that became despots that ruled in terror and greed creating violent totalitarian governments as their unchecked powers grew year after year According to Joseph Loconte the reason lies in the results of one of the most violent and devastating wars WWI Loconte shows how WWI was so savage that not I ve read bundles of fiction and nonfiction books on World War II, but not World War I How did fascism, Nazism, communism, and eugenics take root after WWI Why did people support narcissistic leaders that became despots that ruled in terror and greed creating violent totalitarian governments as their unchecked powers grew year after year According to Joseph Loconte the reason lies in the results of one of the most violent and devastating wars WWI Loconte shows how WWI was so savage that not only were 16 million people killed, but those that survived were disillusioned and cynical, rejecting the current government, politics, religion, and spiritual morality In the midst of this postwar malaise, J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis rejected the literary trends and wrote books in response to the spiritual crisis plaguing their country They resurrected the medieval myth creating epic worlds torn apart by war and suffering and filled with flawed heroes embracing the traits of sacrifice, valor, and friendship as they struggle with good and evil.The first part of Loconte s book focuses on the history of WWI and the climate before, during, and after the war The Myth of Progress was the prevailing belief before the war that the industrial revolution, Darwin s theory of evolution, breakthroughs in medicine and inventions meant that the human condition could be explained by science and technology at the expense of spiritual morality The belief was that progress was so great under a liberal democracy that all countries should have it and many believed God had chosen them and would bless them as they went to war Britain, England, and Germany thought this way The church declared a holy war and made it one not of justice, but righteousness The problem was the focus on human achievement meant the subversion of moral obligations and human dignity Atrocities were committed with no thought of right or wrong or the moral implications on the individual Eugenics promoted a pure race that hid those considered flawed away from the public eye Society embraced collectivism over individualism and people rationalized cruel and violent actions For Lewis and Tolkien this was an affront on human dignity and character.Tolkien and Lewis wrote epic tales about war based in the fantasy genre, but realistic in their portrayal of war and its savagery and suffering Both men were drafted into the army Tolkien fought in the Battle of the Somme, one of the bloodiest battles in modern warfare, where almost 60,000 men died Lewis turned 19 and ended up on the Western Front in a trench When his sergeant was killed by mortar, Lewis took shrapnel one so close to his heart it could not be removed All of their close friends were killed When the two met at Oxford their war experiences, literary tastes, and friendship grew to the point that Tolkien was critical in Lewis conversion to Christianity and Tolkien said he would have not finished Lord of the Rings without Lewis critiques and support Neither writers glorify war in their books and both create flawed characters that need support from others or a higher being on their quests Postwar Europe had a plethora of antiwar literature yet, these two men created works rooted in medieval literature and while critics call it escapism and a nostalgia for the past, Loconte proves that it is a realistic portrayal of being in the trenches and a look at the human condition The recurring theme of the desire for power and domination over others disguised under the umbrella of religion and morals is found in both works Loconte expounds on literary themestoward the latter part of the book getting into specific examples The heroes in their works is the result of great characters who put others needs ahead themselves WWI robbed people of their humanity The trenches, the Battle of the Somme, the razing of nature and towns left people feeling helpless and caught in a big machine that they had no control over Almost every family lost someone in the war A fatalism and moral demise left people apathetic and feeling that they had no choices or free will in their lives Tolkien and Lewis wanted to awaken the noble spirit in people like the medieval myths of old such as Beowulf, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, or the Icelandic sagas They created works that showed the violence and suffering of war, but also the compassion, courage, and sacrifice of others for a good cause Their stories show that life is a moral contest It is the responsibility of the individual to resist evil and not one person can resist the corruption of power That is the tragic flaw in humans that even the purest of heart such as Frodo cannot resist the desire to dominate It takes an outside force to check that desire and in Frodo s case, even someone as twisted as Gollum is not beyond redemption Lewis is showing at the end of his book that there can be no heaven on Earth as the Pevensie s step through a door into Narnia like Heaven Loconte ties this to the pitfalls of liberal democracy and the desire of the church and state to create a heaven on Earth before WWI While this is too complex to write about in a review it is a fascinating comparison between the Narnia and Lord of the Rings books and WWI These two men ignored the trends of the times because they were inspired and saw in the midst of violence, heroic individuals on the battlefields of France They saw soldiers going back to help another injured comrade at the risk of being killed themselves The Hobbit is the ordinary British soldier The British army showed remarkable resistance in the war They didn t run away or lose their moral fortitude Reepicheep shows the greatest valor on the battlefield He is the smallest and supposedly the weakest but he rises above himself and shows great courage Same with Frodo, Sam, Aragon, andLoconte explores these characters proving his point and showing the importance of reluctant allies uniting in fellowship and friendship by the end, just like soldiers Tolkien and Lewis met one to two times a week for 16 years with a group called, Inklings They had their own fellowship of the ring.Loconte points out how today the modern superhero saves the day on his or her own strength Tolkien and Lewis create heroes that cannot save the day and prevail against evil on their own They are destined to fail and they know it is a doomed quest It is this tragic mix of good and evil that makes the story so powerful because their only rescue can be by grace and redemption from an outside force The heroes know they will die in both books Frodo when destroying the ring and the Pevensie s when they enter the stable Loconte shows how this parallels war and the soldiers plight The soldier knows he will die At the Battle of the Somme it was a slaughter yet, the men kept coming out of the trenches toward the enemy The books ends with hope that there is goodness in humans That the shadow of sin and suffering can be lifted from people s lives That the Great War will be won, but not on Earth because the human condition is a mix of sin and free will This book was supposed to explain the relationship between WWI and the origin of Tolkien s and Lewis most famous works, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia It only succeeded somewhat The author is a professor of history and his interest in WWI also due to his grandfather having served and the family having a personal story to tell about the war is apparent However, maybe due to the fact that the authors can no longer be asked, most is simple speculation Sure, there are some This book was supposed to explain the relationship between WWI and the origin of Tolkien s and Lewis most famous works, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia It only succeeded somewhat The author is a professor of history and his interest in WWI also due to his grandfather having served and the family having a personal story to tell about the war is apparent However, maybe due to the fact that the authors can no longer be asked, most is simple speculation Sure, there are some quotes out of biographies other authors have penned and we sometimes even get snippets from interviews with J.R.R Tolkien and C.S Lewis that are brushing on the subject, but mostly it s an abbreviated account of WWI with the occasional conclusion as to what led the authors to think this or that and incorporate it in their novels with quotes from the respective novel That s it.Moreover, the author apparently is religious and very much so even , with the result that he often blames how Lewis thought in younger years on the man s atheism To make clear what I mean Lewis was a man I could not have liked While he was curious and inquisitive, he constantly complained and whined about life s conditions, later about the war having started and the prospect of him having to leave his studies to fight if he gets drafted Now, I understand if someone doesn t want to fight, especially in the World Wars, but to bitch and complain before anything has happened and about trivial stuff at that, and above all in such an apparently arrogant manner direct quotes from letters Lewis wrote to his father , all while hundreds of thousands of men, women and children die that is despicable It s like sitting nowadays at the table with a squad who just lost half their brothers in a firefight and complaining to them that there is no air condition There is also lots of repetition in this Probably because the author ran out of things to say I liked the description of what people thought and felt at the beginning of although some assumptions can be disputed, again the author blames godlessness , during and after the war A lot of important historic facts can be found here to put certain events and opinions into perspective too With that the author succeeded But then he goes back to blaming atheism for men being insatiable when it comes to power he even names Darwin for people wanting the betterment of human nature that led to an increase in technology which was then used in the war and how god faith alone can save you from the darkness rolls eyes He thus praises Lewis for seeing the light and Tolkien for making his friend see the light and returning to faith, becoming an even stouter Christian than he was before and attributes the books to divine will creative artistic talent being a gift from god Oh, and of course only believers know moral I actually hear this argument from a number of Catholics Tolkien s and Lewis stories therefore are only so successful even after all these years because they bring the divine spark back into our lives and because we ve missed god s light even if we don t know admit it And he also states that heroism being willing and able to make sacrifices, even if it means your own death is only possible if you are religious Honestly, at several points during this book I rolled my eyes so hard that my head hurt.So much for the author, now onto Tolkien and Lewis themselves Yes, it is remarkable that Tolkien and Lewis were basically the ONLY TWO authors not to write pieces on the world being badbadbad back in the day Poets, authors and many other artists back then were so disillusioned that there was nothing but depression all around unsurprisingly It is great that Tolkien and Lewis found a way to create immortal works that delight readers me too with stories of ordinary people instead of special snowflakes that actually do succumb to weakness but prevail through hard work the author argues that the heroes only prevail because of divine intervention but at least in LOTR there is room for another interpretation The thing is that I m an atheist and can enjoy such works completely without any form of faith, thank you very much Just like I m capable of living a morally good life without needing the Damocles Sword of eternal torture damnation over my head to make me do good things Also, many if not all of the people that started WWI were men of faith, not to mention the Church s role in the propaganda which the author mentions but not as a negative thing So one could easily flip this argument around.I have to admit that I like LOTR muchthan Narnia I enjoyed Narnia but to me, LOTR is on a whole different level of literature Plus, Tolkien doesn t shove religion down our throats as much as Lewis does in at least some of the Narnia stories But their friendship was as epic as their stories and what they created was vitally important, especially at that time Also, I agree with most of the opinions they expressed that were quoted here I, too, think that while war isn t good or desirable, it often is necessary funny that Lewis made that point, considering his shameful cowardly proclamations and views at least before he fought at the front lines I, too, believe that friendship being able to fully trust another person is vitally important and an understated side of the World Wars and that a friendship forged in war is nothing like what civilians call friendship It is eventragic to consider that the authors had to see yet another war so shortly after the first Tolkien s sons fought in WWII too and there were some interesting passages of letters between Christopher Tolkien and his father quoted here.And yes, of course one can see the trenches and the war experience all through LOTR, even throughout Narnia when battles both internal and external are described Both authors make great points about personal courage, perseverance, honour and integrity again, funny to see this in Lewis work now that I know of his character, I really didn t like what he wrote to his father Both works have earned their place on the list of most important influential literature.Thus, this book was OK It was not what I hoped it would be especially since the majority of quotes were from other historians or witnesses about certain aspects of WWI or quotes from books not penned by Tolkien Lewis , but I got through, learned a bit about the lives and experiences of the authors and what influenced them apart from the war both studied literature after all However, no recommendation from me, sorry Read other non fiction books about WWI I will, shortly and then maybe some of the interviews with these authors separately, or simply enjoy their stories and draw your own conclusions the author of this book didn t do anything else either after all This is a fascinating look at the experiences of two young men in WWI and how it affected their writing, their faith and their spiritual quest J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S.Lewis first met at Oxford in 1926, but they shared an experience of the Great War which deepened their friendship Although I have read Tolkien s biography, I knew very little about C.S Lewis and I found this a really illuminating read Both men grew up in a time that believed deeply in science and the myth of progress It was also This is a fascinating look at the experiences of two young men in WWI and how it affected their writing, their faith and their spiritual quest J.R.R.Tolkien and C.S.Lewis first met at Oxford in 1926, but they shared an experience of the Great War which deepened their friendship Although I have read Tolkien s biography, I knew very little about C.S Lewis and I found this a really illuminating read Both men grew up in a time that believed deeply in science and the myth of progress It was also a time where religious faith was very much linked with patriotism and a sense of duty.By 1916, Churchill warned against, futile offensives that would kill thousands of young men However, plans were drawn up to take pressure off the French and hopefully achieve a breakthrough The Battle of the Somme permanently altered Tolkien s life By the end of the day there were 19,420 British soldiers killed among them was Rob Wilson member of the Tea Club and Barrovian Society, which Tolkien started with some close friends By the end of the war, Tolkien had lost many close friends, as had Lewis, and, in fact, while Tolkien was in hospital recovering from trench fever, his regiment sustained enormous casualties and, had he been on the front line, he probably would have been killed.Lewis went to war a little later than Tolkien and arrived at the front on his 19th birthday While Tolkien was a committed Catholic, Lewis was not a believer when he first joined up By 1918 he was injured by shrapnel and was sent home carrying a piece of shrapnel in his chest for the rest of his life and with most of his friends having been killed.The Great War saw a new type of warfare of science and technology devoted to annihilation The author explains how the terrible experiences both men faced changed them and how, out of the carnage they faced, came Narnia and the Lord of the Rings There is much about how Lewis became a Christian, how Lewis supported and encouraged Tolkien s writing and how their literary visions were sketched out with the backdrop of war I was interested to read, for example, how Tolkien imagined his hobbits to be small to show, the amazing and unexpected heroism of ordinary men, as he based them on the soldiers he came across in the trenches With a post war world looking to the extremes of communism and fascism for answers, the mythical quality of the writing of both Lewis and Tolkien is timeless and so, as they tried to both make sense of their experience and incorporate it into their writing, they created great works which are still inspirational today A well written and interesting book which helps explain how important their early experiences were to two great authors A good book, but a number of flaws keep this from being a truly great book.The first is that there is simply not enough material about the war time experiences of Tolkien and Lewis to form the basis of solid book length treatment Secondly, the book is just riddled with minor errors that will be easily recognizable to any fan of the books, that somehow escaped the editor Usually these are in the form of misattributions and simple confusion and misidentification, but they are annoying especially A good book, but a number of flaws keep this from being a truly great book.The first is that there is simply not enough material about the war time experiences of Tolkien and Lewis to form the basis of solid book length treatment Secondly, the book is just riddled with minor errors that will be easily recognizable to any fan of the books, that somehow escaped the editor Usually these are in the form of misattributions and simple confusion and misidentification, but they are annoying especially when the author is using and perhaps over relying on the text of the books to prove his points Thirdly, the approach that the author gives to the text is far too loose for my tastes If you want to say that a piece of text relates to the author s war time experiences, I d prefer muchsolid evidence Fourthly, at least for my part, most of the book was well covered ground and well known to me The unusual focus on the little explored portion of Lewis and Tolkien s life proved mainly to instruct that it is little focused on because there is little definite to say about it Finally, this book is going to be really of no use whatsoever to a non Christian audience, as it is far too clear that the author is not merely a historian building a literary and historical case, but is also an evangelist that admires the works as sermons and wishes to expand upon them Even as a sympathetic ear that agrees that the books work as sermons, and has taught doctrine from them, this inability to choose between the unbiased voice of the historian and the passionate voice of the evangelist is a bit jarring.Still for all that, I can recommend the book to a limited audience of Christian readers that have some knowledge of the works but don t already have a lot of insight in to the minds of the authors who created them To them, it will likely be a revelation Even for someone like myself, who have read the works dozens of times, read all manner of unpublished notes by Tolkien, many books of literary criticism and interpretation of the works, and dug into the text in fandom circles to levels that will seem absurd to many, there were still occasionally unlooked for vistas which were like looking out on a well known valley from vantages you d never seen before.In particular, I was struck by Loconte s interpretation of the mindset of Tolkien after the great war that lead him to create his work The idea of Tolkien passing through the great war, seeing the broken state of his nation, weeping and then deliberately and consciously taking up the burden of healing his entire nation by bringing them a myth that reflected to them divine revelation just leaves me in renewed awe Who does that sort of thing Can you just conceive what the mind must be like that in the middle of its tears says, My nation is broken Their myths about themselves have deluded and failed them, and they have no stories of their own to fall back on I know, I ll give them a new story, a great story, a light to lead them out of this dark place My jaw hits the floor The vision of the Good Professor once again humbles all my understanding.It is easy to see why he is often imitated, quite often scorned, occasionally mocked, and yet no one has really come even close to equaling his work