Especially those who have read Humphrey Carpenter's excellent biography of the Master, JRR Tolkien, will be particularly interested in this book. It details the lives and works of "The Inklings".
Perhaps the best book to glimpse an overall picture of a world famous literary group that formed at Oxford University, around the era of World War II. The author, Humphrey Carpenter performed an admirable job weaving the highlights of a University literary club dominated by C.S. Lewis, but also including members such as J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams and other lesser known contributors over a span of three decades. Many of the members had literary works in progress and used this group as a sounding board. The members of the Inklings acting as critics. It was in this time period that Charles Williams perfected his poetical style, and Tolkien wrote most of his "Lord of the Rings Trilogy". This group was responsible for the inspiration and final output of many of its member's best works. The author would tell of the member's part within the group and tidbits of their lives outside the group. Humphrey Carpenter, the author has mastered the technique of balancing the highlights of the Inklings as a literary group and also managed to include a little personal background on each of its members. A quick scan of the authors previous works will show that he could do this because he has written about some of the members individually. The reader will feel that in this one book one has gained a true idea of the nature of the Inklings along with a neat biography of some of its members. The Inklings as a group paralleled the life of C.S.Lewis, The group was at the height of its influence when Lewis`s career was at its peak and then as different writing styles became fashionable, members of the group also died or were replaced. This book is worth the read, one sees the spark of an idea formulated by this group later brought out as a book by one of its members.