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The Secret History of Star Wars | [Michael Kaminski]

The Secret History of Star Wars

The tale of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker has become modern myth, an epic tragedy of the corruption of a young man in love into darkness, the rise of evil, and the power of good triumphing in the end. But it didn't start out that way. In this thorough account of one of cinema's most lasting works, Michael Kaminski presents the true history of how Star Wars was written, from its beginnings as a science fiction fairy tale to its development over three decades into the epic we now know, chronicling the methods, techniques, thought processes, and struggles of its creator.
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Publisher's Summary

Star Wars is one of the most important cultural phenomena of the Western world. The tale of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker has become modern myth, an epic tragedy of the corruption of a young man in love into darkness, the rise of evil, and the power of good triumphing in the end. But it didn't start out that way. In this thorough account of one of cinema's most lasting works, Michael Kaminski presents the true history of how Star Wars was written, from its beginnings as a science fiction fairy tale to its development over three decades into the epic we now know, chronicling the methods, techniques, thought processes, and struggles of its creator. For this unauthorized account, he has pored through over 400 sources, from interviews to original scripts, to track how the most powerful modern epic in the world was created, expanded, and finalized into the tale an entire generation has grown up with.

©2008 Michael Kaminski (P)2014 Audiobooks.com

What Members Say

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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-09-14

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Repetitive, but Thorough"

    This would have been a 5 star work, save for the extreme repetition of facts. Ironically, the author thanks his editor up front, who probably should have been fired. This is such an issue that it probably could have reduced the size of the book by a third without loss of content.

    That said, this book is a wonderful companion work to J. W. Rinzler's equally incredible "Making of" volumes. This work covers the creative story development of the 6-film saga in full in such a way that no stone is left unturned, and gives us insights into the lives of the people involved, especially that of creator George Lucas. This work is so detailed that it breaks down every single version of the scripts, stage by stage. In this regard, this book is an absolute MUST for the die-hard uber-fans of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

    Not covered are the technical aspects, such as special effects, sound effects, or the musical scores.

    What is casually glossed over in the history is the infamous 1978 Holiday Special. There is some basic information on the Ewok movies as well as the Droids and Ewoks cartoon series, but nothing in-depth for these either.

    One point of weirdness: the narrator attempts impersonations of the various people who are quoted in interviews or various characters quoted in scripts. Some of these are passable and even respectable, and others are so far off base so as to be screwball if you know what the person is supposed to sound like.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Phoenix, AZ 07-05-14
    Amazon Customer Phoenix, AZ 07-05-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Swashbuckling Fun!"

    It was a little nerdier than I was expecting. There was some good background on Lucas and his wife that was very interesting but it's mostly "Lucas wrote this 30 years ago and now says that and this fan newsletter contradicts him in this way....blah blah blah." There was a lot of good info but it was divided by long boring meaningless story as well. The one thing that I couldn't stop laughing at is how many times the author used the word "swashbuckling." I actually turned it into a drinking game :)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P4SHTF 04-16-15
    P4SHTF 04-16-15 Member Since 2004

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Very well written and well documented."

    I learned a lot about one of my favorite topics. I will now look at the series totally different way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kalei VANCOUVER, WA, United States 11-20-14
    kalei VANCOUVER, WA, United States 11-20-14 Member Since 2012
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    "A must-listen for hardcore fans!"

    Casual fans need not bore themselves with this book, but any "Star Wars Nerd" type fan (you know, the ones who know the difference between the remastered movies and the originals, the ones who are obsessed with Bobba Fett, or who belong(ed) to the 501st legion etc) should read/listen to this book. Then watch the movies (with and without commentary) again. That's all I'm going to say.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rob Warnbro, Australia 10-31-14
    Rob Warnbro, Australia 10-31-14 Member Since 2009
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    "Enjoyable yet not memorable."

    The overall theme of Lucas being constantly contradicted with evidence in regards to his planning of the movies does not cease. The book is enjoyable, however at times it read like my thesis (reasserting a single point of view over and over)

    i was hoping to walk away with intricate knowledge of the process/filming, but I found far too much time was spent on the writing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Peterson Kearns, Ut United States 09-29-14
    J. Peterson Kearns, Ut United States 09-29-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Just avoid this."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    This book could easily have been cut to half it's size by taking out all the redundant information.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs


    What aspect of Josh Robert Thompson’s performance would you have changed?

    None, JRT was the only saving factor in this book but that only made it bearable to listen to.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Secret History of Star Wars?

    I could easily cut 25% to 50% of the book just due to simple redundant information being repeated over and over again.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AaronSaint81 Lorain, Ohio 06-20-14
    AaronSaint81 Lorain, Ohio 06-20-14 Member Since 2011

    Love Audible!! Hope you all do too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Eye Catcher for all Star Wars Fans!"
    Would you try another book from Michael Kaminski and/or Josh Robert Thompson?

    No.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The ending was pretty much what I'd expected from listening to the rest of the book


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Too many to list!


    Did The Secret History of Star Wars inspire you to do anything?

    Absolutely! Send in some money to try to be in the next Star Wars Film!


    Any additional comments?

    The first half of the book was wonderful, as far as telling the listener where George Lucas got his inspirations from. I'd often been curious as to just what/where Uncle George got his "ideas" from, and the author goes into great detail as to where these were pulled from. Then, the author goes on to tell us how masterfully creative Uncle George is........in the first half of the book.
    In the second half, however, he seems to berate GL for being a total "copycat" and incapable of creating anything original. It was puzzling.....
    Either way, George Lucas, whether copying all of his ideas from others, or creating them on his own, got my praise for doing so much "homework" to bring the amazing Star Wars Saga to the big screen!

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • Malcolm
    Hitchin, United Kingdom
    11/7/14
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    "Essential for Star Wars fans"

    I have to agree with other comments about the extreme repetition in the book but don't let that put you off.

    This book is a great critical appraisal of the films. It doesn't kiss Lucas butt and is openly critical but at the same time this obviously written by a fan and it makes you want to watch the movies again. The analysis of Phantom Menance is interesting- basically a movie which could be edited into a much better product (ironically the same could be said of this book)

    it is a stunning piece of in depth research which gives you a great idea of the creative process of moviemaking.

    A really relevant read in light of the new Force Awakens movie. Look forward to a better edited version of the book to include the new movies

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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