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Guide to Audio Editions
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New book:
The Children of Hurin
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The Children of Hurin -- Deluxe ed.
Houghton Mifflin, Dexlue edition, illustrated, 2007  New!    ISBN:  0618904417

Presented for the first time as a fully continuous and stand-alone story, the epic tale of The Children of Húrin will reunite fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with elves and men, dragons and dwarves, and the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien.

The Children of Húrin, begun in 1918, was one of three "Great Tales" J.R.R. Tolkien worked on throughout his life, though he never realized his ambition to see it published. Though familiar to many fans from extracts and references within other Tolkien books, it has long been assumed that the story would forever remain an "unfinished tale." Now reconstructed by Christopher Tolkien, painstakingly editing together the complete work from his father's many drafts, this book is the culmination of a tireless thirty-year endeavor by him to bring J.R.R. Tolkien's vast body of unpublished work to a wide audience.

Christopher Tolkien said: "It has seemed to me for a long time that there was a good case for presenting my father's long version of the legend of The Children of Húrin as an independent work, between its own covers, with a minimum of editorial presence, and above all in continuous narrative without gaps or interruptions, if this could be done without distortion or invention, despite the unfinished state in which he left some parts of it."

Having drawn the distinctive maps for the original The Lord of the Rings more than fifty years ago, Christopher has also created a detailed new map for this book. In addition, it will include a jacket and color paintings by Alan Lee, illustrator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Centenary Edition and Oscar®-winning designer of the film trilogy.

The Children of Hurin -- hardcover
Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, illustrated, 2007  New!    ISBN:  0618894640

See description above.
Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, illustrated, 2004  Second Edition    ISBN:  0618391118

Second edition of the deluxe oversized Silmarillion, illustrated by Ted Nasmith is sturdy and printed on high quality paper offers several new illustrations in addition to the ones featured in the first edition.  The fold-out Map of Beleriand is attractively printed in full color (merely colorized--not redrawn) is tipped in to the back of the book.  It might be a bit heavy for casual reading, but it also happens to be same trim size as the Alan Lee illustrated Hobbit and the new 3-volume Alan Lee illustrated Lord of the Rings.
Houghton Mifflin, hardcover & paperback, 2001  Second Edition
Hardcover:  ISBN 0618135049

Paperback:  ISBN 0618126988

The Second American Edition of The Silmarillion became available in 2001 (The British edition on HarperCollins was published in 1999).  There are only a few major differences from the first edition.  The main alteration to the book is the inclusion of Tolkien's voluminous letter to Milton Waldman (#131 in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien), the publisher to which he was pitching The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings together as a unified work.  Most of the letter is included although it is truncated at paragraph 37 (out of 47) just before it begins to discuss the Third Age.  This letter is preceeded by a Preface To The Second Edition by Christopher Tolkien.  Also undertaken for this edition was the correction of textual errors.

The most immediately noticeable difference between this edition (hardcover) and the first is its size, measuring a mere 8 1/2 inches (21.6 cm) by 5 3/4 inches (14.6 cm), compared to the first edition's 9 1/4 inches (23.5 cm) by 6 1/4 inches (15.8 cm).  It is about the same size as the standard hardcover edition of The Hobbit.  The boards of the hardcover are partially clothbound.  The dust jacket features a painting by Ted Nasmith depicting the awakening of the Elves.  Unfortunately, the fold-out map (as featured in the first hardcover edition) has been done away with and the map of Beleriand is merely printed across two pages in the back of the book.  With a price tag of $28.00 for the hardcover, the only reason for choosing the hardcover over the trade paperback ($14.00) in this case would be for durability.  The 2nd edition can be recommended, however, to anyone who does not own a copy of The Letters, for the value of getting the letter to Milton Waldman, which is important reading for all Tolkien fans who interested in the relationship between The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings.  (See also the Guide to the Letters).

Ballantine/Del Rey paperback, 2002   Second Edition     ISBN:  0345325818

In 2002, Ballantine/Del Rey put a new cover on The Silmarillion (art by Michael Dringenberg) for the first time since 1982 when new artwork by David Sweet depicting the destruction of Númenor replaced H. E. Riddett's colorized version of Tolkien's "The Mountain Path" (the same picture that was used for the first hardcover edition).  The cover design matched that of the 1999 edition of The Hobbit and LOTR but has been slightly altered since.  Like the hardcover edition, this edition includes Tolkien's letter to Milton Waldman and Christopher Tolkien's preface.  The Map of Beleriand printed across two pages in the back of the book is Christopher Tolkien's original.
Houghton Mifflin, hardcover, illustrated, 1998  ISBN: 0395939461
This deluxe oversized edition, illustrated by Ted Nasmith is sturdy and printed on high quality paper.  It might be a bit heavy for casual reading, however.  The Map of Beleriand is attractively printed in full color (merely colorized--not redrawn) as endpapers.  It also happens to be same trim size as the Alan Lee illustrated Hobbit and the new 3-volume Alan Lee illustrated Lord of the Rings.  It appears to be still available from various sources, but it is superceded by the Second Edition.
Houghton Mifflin, hardcover & paperback, 2001
Hardcover:  ISBN  0618154043

Paperback:  ISBN  0618154051

Unfinished Tales was reissued in 2001 in both hardcover and trade paperback with new cover artwork.  In the paperback, the map of Middle-earth is printed inside the front cover and on the facing page.  When Unfinished Tales was first published in 1980, it featured a map that was newly redrawn by Christopher Tolkien to improve the clarity of the map and correct a few defects.  Since then, this map has been used in most editions of The Lord of the Rings as well.
Ballantine/Del Rey, paperback, 2002    ISBN: 0345357116
New cover art has been added to the Del Rey edition of UT, depicting Bilbo Baggins reading books of ancient lore in his study, in actuality mimicking Tolkien himself.  This edition includes the redrawn maps by Shelly Shapiro (see description of Ballantine's 1999 Lord of the Rings above).  The confusing thing about this edition to anyone who has never seen the Houghton Mifflin one is the last section of the introduction on page 14, in which Christopher Tolkien explains the revision of the Middle-Earth map in some detail.  A few of the features he mentions are not even found on the Shapiro redrawings.  Furthermore, the map of Númenor is redrawn, depriving the reader of seeing the original map.

The History of Middle-Earth volumes I through XII (including The History of the Lord of the Rings parts 1 through 4) 
and the new Index to all twelve volumes
Most of the books in this series exist in only one or two basic editions.  All 12 volumes are published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin, some of which have also been issued in trade paperback. It should be noted that in some cases the hardcover editions offer one or two color plates (usually a frontispiece) not found in the trade paperback editions. Otherwise, all other illustrations and maps are common to both editions.  The table below shows which volumes and formats are available from the two American publishers.

Volumes 6-9 which comprise the subset known as The History of the Lord of the Rings, parts 1-4, are available in hardcover, and in the fall of 2000 were issued in trade paperback, available individually and as a 4-book boxed set (view photo).  In the special case of Volume 9: Sauron Defeated, only the first third of this book belongs to the History of LOTR.  Consequently, a special paperback edition has been produced, entitled The End of the Third Age (view photo), which is essentially Section One from Sauron Defeated.  This book does not contain anything not found in SD.  Nevertheless, the new History of The Lord of the Rings (ISBN 0-618-08355-3 ) edition is a very handsome set with all-new cover artwork and design.  The typography and layout match that of the 1999 HM paperback editions of The Hobbit and LOTR.

So far, the Ballantine/Del Rey editions include only up to Volume 5: The Lost Road.  Houghton Mifflin has not yet licensed Ballantine to release mass market paperback of further volumes.  Ballantine packaged volumes 1-5 in a boxed set in 2003. (see table below).

A special note on Volume 4: The Shaping of Middle-Earth:
The first three or four printings of the Ballantine/Del Rey paperback edition of this book contained a 7-page section of maps and diagrams printed on white paper between pages 232 and 233.  For reasons unknown, Ballantine discontinued inclusion of these maps in the 5th and 6th printings.  It is not known whether this was deliberate or an error.  As of the 7th printing, the maps are back in and are printed on glossy paper.  These maps are somewhat essential to a full understanding of Chapter IV: "The First Silmarillion Map," and Chapter V: "The Ambarkanta."

All 12 Houghton Mifflin volumes are available again in hardcover!
History of Middle-Earth Volume Houghton Mifflin 
Houghton Mifflin
trade paperback 
Del Rey
  1  Book of Lost Tales pt. One 0-395-35439-0 0-395-40927-6 0-345-37521-1
  2  Book of Lost Tales pt. Two 0-395-36614-3 0-395-42640-5 0-345-37522-X
  3  The Lays of Beleriand 0-395-39429-5 (oop) 0-345-38818-6
  4  The Shaping of Middle-Earth 0-395-42501-8 N/A 0-345-40043-7
  5  The Lost Road 0-395-45519-7 N/A 0-345-40685-0
  6  Return of the Shadow  (HoL pt. 1) 0-395-49863-5  0-618-08357-X N/A
  7  The Treason of Isengard  (HoL pt. 2) 0-395-51562-9 0-618-08358-8 N/A
  8  The War of The Ring  (HoL pt. 3) 0-395-5008-X 0-618-08359-6 N/A
  9  Sauron Defeated  (incl. HoL pt. 4) 0-395-60649-7 N/A N/A
10  Morgoth's Ring 0-395-68092-1 N/A N/A
11  The War of the Jewels 0-395-71041-3 N/A N/A
12  The Peoples of Middle-Earth 0-395-82760-4 N/A N/A
      The History of The Lord of 
      the Rings boxed set
N/A 0-618-08355-3 N/A
      The End of the Third Age  (HoL pt. 4) N/A 0-618-08356-1 N/A
The Histories of Middle-earth boxed
set Volumes 1-5 (Ballantine/Del Rey)
N/A N/A 0-345-46645-4
The History of Middle Earth Index HarperCollins only  ISBN: 0007137435  (links to

Easton Press Leather-bound hardcover

The Lost Tales of Middle-Earth
Deluxe leather-bound editions of The Book of Lost Tales Parts One and Two, and Unfinished Tales.  Sold as a 3-book set directly from Easton Press.  These editions feature specially commissioned frontispiece artwork.  Bound in thick, premium-quality genuine leather stamped with an intricate design and bound over thick, sturdy binder boards.  Hubbed spines accented with precious 22kt gold.  Page ends gilded with a tarnish-free finish that also seals out moisture.  Pages printed on the finest acid-neutral paper and Smyth-sewn for exceptional strength, not glued like ordinary books.  End sheets are an elegant moiré fabric with a matching satin ribbon page-marker.
Ballantine/Del Rey, paperback, 5-volume set

The Histories of Middle-Earth Volumes 1 though 5, packaged as a boxed set: The Book of Lost Tales, Part One; 
The Book of Lost Tales, Part Two; The Lays of Beleriand; The Shaping of Middle-Earth; and The Lost Road.
Inexpensive and fun way to acquire the first five volumes in the History of Middle-Earth series and begin the adventure of exloring the creation of Tolkien's unique mythology and legendarium.
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Quick links to Guides to U.S. Editions of:   The Lord of the Rings   |   The Hobbit
Looking for other books?                                                                         Rev. March, 2007