"The Road to Middle-earth", Tom Shippey's classic work, explores J.R.R. Tolkien's creativity and the sources of his inspiration. Shippey shows in detail how Tolkien's professional background led him to write "The Hobbit" and how he created a timeless charm for millions of readers. Examining the foundation of Tolkien's most popluar work, "The Lord of the Rings", Shippey also discusses the contribution of "The Silmarillion" and "Unfinished Tales" to Tolkien's great myth cycle, showing how the more 'difficult' books can be fully appreciated. He goes on to examine the remarkable twelve-volume "History of Middle-earth", written by Tolkien's son and literary heir Christopher Tolkien, which traces the creative and technical processes by which Middle-earth evolved.