So, today's the big day when the new, revised, abridged edition of my book comes out: A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HOBBIT.
Though note that here 'Brief' is a relative term. I've cut the original text by about 40%, from about a thousand pages to 542 (550 with the index). The original version was about 50% Tolkien and about 50% Rateliff: my goal in this revision has been to cut down on my commentary while keeping all the Tolkien. Thus I cover most of the same topics but with much more brevity, omitting tangents (there are a lot fewer notes this time around) and often rephrasing things more succinctly.
I did have to drop the Appendices, which is a pity, as well as the Addendum from the one-volume edition, and also omitted one new section I'd worked up (on 'The Quest of Erebor'): there simply wasn't enough room. And I worked in a few small new bits where possible, such as the evidence from an unpublished 1966 letter confirming Tolkien's familiarity with the work of Sinclair Lewis.
I'm hoping that this streamlined version will encourage folks who might have hesitated before the weighty tome of the one-volume edition to discover for themselves the fascinating story of how Tolkien came up with and put together the book we know as THE HOBBIT, which I've done my best to lay out for the reader in this new edition of the manuscript.
Here's the link