What We Are Reading Today: The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien

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Updated 06 June 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien

Author: John Garth

This book takes you to the places that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien to create his fictional locations in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and other classic works. Written by renowned Tolkien expert John Garth, The Worlds of J. R. R. Tolkien features a wealth of breathtaking illustrations, including Tolkien’s own drawings, contributions from other artists, rare archival images, and spectacular color photos of contemporary locations across Britain and beyond, from the battlefields of World War I to Africa, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
Garth identifies the locales that served as the basis for Hobbiton, the elven valley of Rivendell, the Glittering Caves of Helm’s Deep, and many other settings in Middle-earth, from mountains and forests to rivers, lakes, and shorelands. He reveals the rich interplay between Tolkien’s personal travels, his wide reading, and his deep scholarship as an Oxford don. Garth draws on his profound knowledge of Tolkien’s life and work to shed light on the extraordinary processes of invention behind Tolkien’s works of fantasy. He also debunks popular misconceptions about the inspirations for Middle-earth and puts forward strong new claims of his own.


What We Are Reading Today: The Political Power of Economic Ideas by Peter A. Hall

Updated 24 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Political Power of Economic Ideas by Peter A. Hall

John Maynard Keynes once observed that the “ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood.” 

The contributors to this volume take that assertion seriously. In a full-scale study of the impact of Keynesian doctrines across nations, their essays trace the reception accorded Keynesian ideas, initially during the 1930s and then in the years after World War II, in a wide range of nations, including Britain, the US, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Scandinavia. 

The contributors review the latest historical evidence to explain why some nations embraced Keynesian policies while others did not. At a time of growing interest in comparative public policy-making, they examine the central issue of how and why particular ideas acquire influence over policy and politics.

Based on three years of collaborative research for the Social Science Research Council, the volume takes up central themes in contemporary economics, political science, and history. The contributors are Christopher S. Allen, Marcello de Cecco, Peter Alexis Gourevitch, Eleanor M. Hadley, Peter A. Hall, Albert O. Hirschman, Harold James, Bradford A. Lee, Jukka Pekkarinen, Pierre Rosanvallon, Walter S. Salant, Margaret Weir, and Donald Winch.