The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien: The Places that Inspired Middle-earth

‘Magnificent. The commentary is great, really thoroughly researched; the pictures are stunning’ — Tom Shippey, author of The Road to Middle-earth and J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century

From world-renowned Tolkien expert John Garth comes the authoritative exploration of the real-world locations behind the legendarium, and the wider inspirations behind Middle-earth’s incomparably rich landscapes, realms, towers, and more.

Packed with insights and gorgeous images, including many artworks by Tolkien.

◼︎ Read an excerpt at LitHub.

◼︎ Unboxing video by John Garth with chapter-by-chapter comments.

◼︎ John Garth talks about The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien with the Prancing Pony Podcast, the Marion E. Wade Center for the study of Tolkien and others, AbeBooks’ Behind the Bookshelves podcast, and the German Tolkien Society (in English apart from the brief introduction).

◼︎ Available now in English (UK and US), French, Russian, Czech, Spanish, Italian, Finnish, Hungarian, German, Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Croatian, Serbian and Slovak (see below for links).

What readers and critics say

◼︎ ‘A fascinating, gorgeously illustrated and thought-provoking examination of the landscapes, cities and architecture that inspired Tolkien during his lifelong creation of Middle-earth. Garth, a journalist as well as a Tolkien scholar, proves an exceptional guide to Middle-earth … Masterful book.’ — Elizabeth Hand, Washington Post.

◼︎ ‘Magnificent. The commentary is great, really thoroughly researched; the pictures are stunning.’ — Tom Shippey, author of The Road to Middle-earth and J.R.R. Tolkien: Author of the Century.

◼︎ ‘John Garth is the leading Tolkien critic of the present generation as T.A. Shippey is in his. Garth … fills this new book with beautiful, opulent maps and photographs that animate the lush atmosphere of Tolkien’s real and conjured worlds and yield great visual pleasure. At the same time Garth provides deep access to Tolkien’s craft.’— Nicholas Birns, American Library Association’s Choice magazine.

◼︎ ‘Not only a wonderfully rich and learned book, but beautiful as well. I’m sure Tolkien would have loved it.’ — Historian Tom Holland, author of Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind.

◼︎ ‘A guide to the inside of Tolkien’s mind, in its geographic, landscape, and geological facets … There is no guesswork or blithe assumption in this book… This is a well-researched work of synthesis, reinforced by Garth’s sharp and clear understanding of how Tolkien’s mind worked… One of the most valuable books out there for understanding Tolkien.’ — Tolkien Studies editor David Bratman.

◼︎ ‘If you love Tolkien’s work and want to know more about where it came from, this book is for you. And if you know anyone else who is, and does, their next birthday or Christmas present is sorted.’ — Mortal Engines author Philip Reeve.

◼︎ ‘From tree-woven lands to waterworlds, if you like Tolkien, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings then you need this book on your shelves. A beautiful tome, crammed with fantastic images & research beyond excellence … Landscape history meets literature.’ — Mary-Ann Ochota, broadcaster and author of Secret Britain: Unearthing Our Mysterious Past

◼︎ Masterful study … Each page illuminates with insights and dazzles with details.’ — Mike Foster, Mythlore.

◼︎ ‘This wonderful book is a collectable must … a scholarly work of art.’ — Weekend Sport.

◼︎ ‘Really is a fine achievement, wonderfully well supported by the gallery of illustrations and notes … There’s scarcely a page margin that I haven’t pencil marked, and I’ll certainly be revisiting the book. I’ve ended by learning a great deal and thoroughly enjoying myself.’ — Norse Myths author Kevin Crossley-Holland.

◼︎ ‘John Garth has written excellently on Tolkien’s formative wartime experiences in Tolkien and the Great War. The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien now brings near-nerdish knowledge to bear on other parts of Tolkien’s thought-universe, investigating other influences that molded Middle-earth … Erudite and exhaustive exploration of Tolkien’s compelling creation’ — Derek TurnerChronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.

First published in 2020

UK: Frances Lincoln, 9 June
◼ Buy at Amazon, Blackwells, Hive

US: Princeton University Press, 9 June
◼ Buy at Amazon, Barnes & Noble

France: Hachette Heroes, 25 November
Les Mondes de Tolkien: Les lieux qui on inspiré la Tierre du Milieu

Translated by Xavier Hanart
︎ Buy at FNAC, Decitre, Amazon

Russia: AST, 27 November
Миры Дж. Р. Р. Толкина. Реальный мир легендарного Средиземья

Translated by Constantin Pirozhkov
︎ Buy at Book24

Published in 2021

Spain: Minotauro, 3 February
Los Mundos de J.R.R. Tolkien: Los Lugares que Inspiraron al Escritor
Translated by Martin Simonson
◼︎ Buy at PopularLibros, Amazon, Fnac

Germany: WBG, 4 February
Die Erfindung von Mittelerde: Was Tolkien zu Mordor, Bruchtal und Hobbingen inspirierte
Translated by Andreas Schiffmann
◼︎ Buy at KulturKaufhaus, Amazon

Czech Republic: Argo, 5 February
Světy J.R.R. Tolkiena: Místa, Která Inspirovala Středozem
Translated by Vít Penkala
◼︎ Buy at Kosmas, Martinus

Italy: Mondadori, 16 February
I Mondi di J.R.R. Tolkien: I luoghi che hanno inspirato la Terra di Mezzo
Translated by Stefanno Giorgianni
◼︎ Buy at IBS, Amazon, Libraccio

Finland: WSOY, 26 February
J.R.R. Tolkienin Maailmat: Näin syntyi Keski-Maa
Translated by Jaakko Kankaanpaa
◼︎ Buy at Adlibris, Akateeminen, Suomalainen

Hungary: Corvina, 26 February
Tolkien Világai: Középfölde Helyszíneinek Ihletői
Translated by Németh Anikó
◼︎ Buy at Libri

Japan: Hyoronsha, 1 October 2021, ISBN
J.R.R.トールキンの世界: 中つ国の生れた場所 大型本
Translated by Kaori Numata, Tsukusu Ito and Junko Setogawa
◼︎ Buy at Amazon

Published in 2022

Poland: Arkady, 16 February
J.R.R. Tolkien i jego światy. Miejsca, z których wyrosło śródziemie
Translated by Joanna Kokot
◼︎ Buy at Lubimy Czytać

Croatia: Lumen, 11 March
Svjetovi J.R.R. Tolkiena – Mjesta koja su nadahnula Međuzemlje
Translated by Marko Maras
◼︎ Buy at Školska Knjiga

Serbia: Data Status, September
Svetovi Dž.R.R. Tolkina: Mesta Koja Su Bila Nadahnuće Za Srednju Zemlju

Slovakia: Slovart, September
Svety J.R.R. Tolkiena: Miesta, ktoré inšpirovali Stredozem

Translated by Katarína Varsiková
◼︎ Buy at Martinus

Published in 2023

China: YoYoYo iDearBook, early 2023 (provisional)
Translated by Joy Teng and Ecthelion

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