Date With History's Oct. 7 program to focus on 'J.R.R. Tolkien and the World Wars'

  • Janet Croft, a librarian at the University of Northern Iowa, is the author of "War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien."

    Janet Croft, a librarian at the University of Northern Iowa, is the author of "War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien."

Posted10/5/2021 1:18 PM

The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park continues its acclaimed Date with History series with an online program featuring author Janet Brennan Croft. She will discuss J.R.R. Tolkien's personal experience with war and how it manifested in his legendarium.

The presentation will be on Thursday, Oct. 7, via Zoom. It begins at 7 p.m. CST. The program is free, but registration is required at


One of the reasons J.R.R. Tolkien is such a popular author is that he can be read at many levels.

For the reader willing to look deeper than the adventure-story surface, his works carry important themes. One of them is war. In fact, the theme of war runs through all of Tolkien's books, especially "The Lord of the Rings."

Repeating motifs include the effects of war on individuals, families, and society; whether war can ever be justified, and if so, the proper conduct of war; close friendships among groups of men; and the glory and horror of battle. The depiction of war and its effects were drawn from Tolkien's own life. He served in the First World War at the Battle of the Somme, and two of his sons fought in World War II. Like all artists, he absorbed the materials of his own life into his art.

Croft is a librarian at the University of Northern Iowa. She is the author of "War and the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien" (2004) and writes about other authors, TV shows and movies. Croft often serves as editor or co-editor of literary essays, the most recent being 'Something Has Gone Crack': New Perspectives on Tolkien in the Great War (2019). In addition, she edits the refereed scholarly journal Mythlore.

The First Division Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry is included with Cantigny's parking fee. Face coverings are currently required inside the museum, regardless of COVID-vaccination status. More information is online at

The First Division Museum, part of the Robert R. McCormick Foundations, promotes public learning about America's military heritage and affairs through the history of the "Big Red One"--the famed 1st Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. The museum's main exhibit hall, First in War, transports visitors to the trenches of World War I, the beaches of World War II and the jungles of Vietnam. A second exhibit hall, Duty First, explores the 1ID's history in more recent times. The Robert R. McCormick Research Center, open to the public, houses the museum's library, archival and photo collections. Outside, tanks from every era are interpreted, along with artillery pieces and a personnel carrier. Solemn memorial markers and commemorative statuary invite quiet reflection.

Article Comments
Attention: We are experiencing technical difficulties with our Facebook Comments module at this time. Comments will remain disabled until we are able to resolve the problem. We apologize for the interruption. We invite you to engage with our content and talk with other commenters on our Daily Herald Facebook page at Thank you.