Heritage Scholar’s Book Attracts National Attention, Inspires Documentary Series


Heritage Scholar’s Book Attracts National Attention, Inspires Documentary Series

November 24th, 2020

Loconte and his team travelled around Europe to film scenes for the upcoming documentary based off the bestselling book.

Heritage Foundation scholar Joseph Loconte, Ph.D., wrote the New York Times bestseller “A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War” in 2015. Five years later, the book about the faith and friendship of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, has catapulted to No. 1 in the Religious Literature Criticism category on Amazon. There’s also a documentary film series currently in production.  



The book’s description on Amazon reads: “Loconte’s work highlights the spiritual journey J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis embarked on during the Great War when both men served as soldiers on the Western Front, survived the trenches, and used the experience of that conflict to ignite their Christian imagination. Tolkien and Lewis produced epic stories infused with the themes of guilt and grace, sorrow and consolation.” 

Five years after publication, the book’s newfound success is perfectly timed for a forthcoming documentary. According to the YouTube description, “The documentary film series, ‘A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War,’ explores how the experience of two world wars shaped the lives and literary imagination of two internationally famous authors and friends.” 

The production team for the documentary is currently mapping out a five-episode series with the first expected to release in 2021. Loconte and his team are raising support for the series and making plans for an extensive trip in the summer of 2021 to finish shooting the remaining episodes of the series. 

In December 2020, Loconte appeared in a video with cast members from "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" films, along with other esteemed Tolkien scholars, to support a fundraising effort to buy the renowned author's home and convert it into a learning center.

Loconte currently serves as director of Heritage’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for American Studies and AWC Family Foundation fellow.  

“By the grace of God this book came out in 2015, and in 2016 it hit the New York Times bestseller list,” Loconte said. “Something beautiful comes out of the war and there’s something wonderful about these great works of literature emerging through the horrors of war.”   

Linda Bridges, writing for National Review, stated that Loconte gave “a vivid account ... clear and often powerful.” Publisher’s Weekly applauded the book, writing: “Loconte offers the real-life tale behind the optimism and final triumph of good over evil that shine from Lewis and Tolkien's works. ... This is a wonderful account of two remarkable Christian writers.”  

Loconte presented at Heritage as a guest speaker to discuss his book in 2015, before he rejoined the organization in 2020. Loconte previously worked at Heritage from 1994 to 2006, when he served first as deputy editor for Heritage’s Policy Review and later the William E. Simon fellow in religion and civil society. 

“A Hobbit, a Wardrobe, and a Great War: How J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis Rediscovered Faith, Friendship and Heroism in the Cataclysm of 1914-1918" can be purchased on Amazon or wherever books are sold. More information on the upcoming documentary series can be found here.