Michael Martinez begins a comprehesive study of Tolkien's imaginery history by "Browsing the Compleat Middle-Earth Library." His trademark conversational tone and style introduce Tolkien's readers to new persepctives on Elves, Hobbits, Numenorians, and other fantastic inhabitants of Middle-Earth. Advising that ..."if you really want to see where it all came from...you first need to see what it all is," Martinez explores Tolkien's pseudo-history in detail, analyzing the motivations and values of Middle-Earth's civilizations as described by Tolkien himself. Extensive research on Tolkien's Second Age, a mysterious era spanning thousands of years, illuminates the second "fall" of Tolkien's Elves, who made the dreadful Rings of Power, withheld vital knowledge from their allies, and exposed all of Middle-Earth to Sauron's evil. Finally, Martinez provides a wealth of insightful commentary, quoting Tolkien's letters and his son Christopher's extensive documentation, on those of Tolkien's sources which are often missed by other researchers. You will never look at Middle-Earth the same way again after reading Understanding Middle-Earth.