Zurich, 2021. 1st edition. Paperback. Illustrated in colour and b&w.*
In 1911, at the age of nineteen, J. R. R. Tolkien embarked on an adventurous journey through the Swiss Alps; with a heavy pack, he hiked over many high passes. More than fifty years later, he mentioned in a letter to his son Michael that this trip had deeply affected him. Bilbo's journey in The Hobbit from Rivendell to the other side of the Misty Mountains, he said, was based on his own adventures in 1911.
Tolkien himself named a few specific sources of inspiration, most explicitly the Silberhorn (Silverhorn). So I wondered: Was this perhaps only the tip of the iceberg? Following in Tolkien's footsteps, I myself set out into the spectacular mountain world with its stories, myths, and legends, in search of his sources of inspiration; and little by little, a vivid and mysterious world revealed itself to me: a world that helped shape Middle-earth.
More than 100 color images accompany the author's research and discovery journey, along with 11 hiking and 3 road trip suggestions that allow readers to recreate Tolkien's experience with all its impressions themselves in the Swiss mountains.
"This book is above all else an invitation to step into Tolkien's hiking shoes, shoulder his pack, and step back a century into a world which is as far from today as Middle-earth is from our world; a guidebook of impressions, a walking tour of the nature of imagination and the imagination of nature." - John Howe