History Revealed May 2019.jpg


The May 2019 issue of the magazine History Revealed contains a 6 page article titled "Tolkien: Mastermind of Middle-earth".

It is a biographical overview of the author, filled with stock photographs of Tolkien, some locales, and a few associated people like Rayner Unwin and C.S. Lewis. The books that are pictured in the "Tales for the ages" section look like they were pulled from auction listings, and not particularly well chosen at that - the Lord of the Rings set has massive watermarks on the box, and The Silmarillion copy is a beaten up paperback for example. I didn't see any pictures in the article that aren't easily available elsewhere.

The biography itself feels more like a wikipedia article than anything else (without any references for any of the claims baldly laid out). Some gems:

Then in 1904, his mother succumbed to diabetes. From then on, Tolkien, cheerful and sociable person at heart, could sink into deep despair at the fear of everything beautiful in the world being lost. (p. 32)


Just before Geoffrey Smith was hit by a shell, he wrote to Tolkien the poignant words: "May God bless you, my dear John Ronald, and may you say the things I have tried to say long after I am not there to say them, if such be my lot."
Tolkien took this to heart and decided it was time - that he had gathered enough 'leaf-mould' - to write a grand mythology on which to ground his invented languages. (p. 33)


In a sign that they didn't think it would sell well, publishers George Allen & Unwin offered Tolkien a half-share in profits once production expenses had been paid off, and split the novel in three to boost sales. (p. 33)


The issue is no longer on most newsstand shelves, but is still available through various magazine reseller websites. I would recommend holding off, even to those completists out there, unless one falls in your lap.