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For real fans
am 22. März 2002
the following is only a very personal view, and perhaps doesn't agree with other opinions referring to the "History Of Middle Earth"
I thought it a good idea to buy more Works of Tolkien after The Silmarillion, The Unfinished Tales, The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. I was a little bit suprised (and sad) since you won't find new or unknown stories, since the books give the reader more a (very) good idea HOW Tolkien CREATED the hole Middle-Earth idea.
His Son Christopher did a very good job, by collecting probably ALL pieces of paper he found, which had something to do with the story, and tried to order them in a time-line-based(that means, realtime, like 1930 in our time, and not in Middle-Earth-Counting) story
In the first 4 Books of "The History Of Middle Earth" (HOM) as probably in the Volumes 5-12 (which i didn't read yet) you can find a extraordinary large amount of unfinished manuscripts, starting and evolving narratives (in a very un-Tolikienish style; very easy to understand with much less referings and links than in the S) and so on. I would recommend those books only to readers, who are already very firm in understanding the complexity of the first three ages of ME, since you'll get sometimes 2 or 3 ways in which the story is telled and you've got to understand, when Tolien himself wrote those and which one finally was chosen for i.e. The Silmarillion (since the "HOM-works" where done by Tolkien till he started the LotR, and sleeped about 20 years i think) in the latest.
But you'll probably very much suprised, how Tolkien must have thought about all this, when he wrote those stories.
If you are interested in how the HOM was created, you'll get probably no better idea, than this work, but i buyed "only" the cheaper 6,99$(i think)-Version, since i don't have THAT much mony to get all 12 Volumes as Hardcover, and i wouldn't recommend the books for this price. Please don't crucified me for this =)
Viel Spass beim Lesen.