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Publisher's Summary

This is the unauthorized, uncensored, and unbelievable true story behind the making of a pop culture phenomenon.

The original Star Trek series debuted in 1966 and has spawned five TV series spin-offs and a dozen feature films, with an upcoming one from Paramount arriving in 2016.

The Fifty-Year Mission is a no-holds-barred oral history of five decades of Star Trek, told by the people who were there. Hear from the hundreds of television and film executives, programmers, writers, creators, and cast as they unveil the oftentimes shocking story of Star Trek's ongoing 50-year mission - a mission that has spanned from the classic series to the animated show, the many attempts at a relaunch through the beloved feature films.

Make no mistake, this isn't just an audiobook for Star Trek fans. Here is a volume for all fans of pop culture and anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of a television touchstone.

©2016 Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Best book I've ever heard on making pop culture

This book is a real achievement. For anyone interested in what making movies and TV is really like, and for anyone who loves STAR TREK, this is essential in the full meaning of that word.

I've read a lot of books on the making of my favorite shows and movies. This is far and away the best. If I'm ever lucky enough to teach a class in film or TV, THE FIFTY-YEAR MISSION would be the textbook. In depth and wide-ranging, it truly digs into the real forces, the dreams and the pressures, the petty strife and the inspiring hopes that are baked into any great piece of filmed culture.

What Ken Burns did for THE CIVIL WAR and Ezra Edelman did for the OJ Simpson saga with OJ: MADE IN AMERICA, Mark A. Altman and Ed Gross have done for one of the most enduring pieces of pop culture, STAR TREK. It is both thoroughly revealing and deeply interesting. It does more than tell backstage gossip or hit the highlights of a oft-told story. Altman and Gross give a deep and thoughtful examination of the day to day workings of the Hollywood system and how all the forces in that strange town have produced something as enduring, as inspiring, as plain weird as STAR TREK.

What best, from my listening point of view, is instead of boiling it all down in a dry retelling of old actor anecdotes, Altman and Gross knit hundreds of interviews together to form a quickly moving, deeply revealing oral history that is synched together like the best edited documentaries. This really is a honest, revealing history story as told by those who lived it, who were enriched by it, and who were broken by it. For me, this book equals then surpasses Tom Shales' LIVE FROM NEW YORK.

For most of my life, I've been driven to know how the stories I love are made. STAR TREK was my first, favorite piece of culture. One of my earliest memories was of my father trying to talk me into seeing STAR WARS by telling me it was like STAR TREK.

I've been lucky enough to work on the periphery of the industry, and take home two minor Emmys. A close listen to this book will tell you everything you ever wondered about how good shows are made, why they leave the air, why the same creative team makes something so good, then something so awful, seemingly back to back. It intertwines how ego, fear, ambition and hopes can create the TV and movie images which live with us forever, and what happens with those same factors unmake what we all love.

I think I've gushed enough. Now all that's left is to go and listen for yourself.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

LARGE

Where does The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

it is the longest audiobook I have ever listened to .by far

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years?

the backstory of this space adventure ,almost not getting off the ground ,was fascinating

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

so many voices from the past from the founders of this classic series grouped togetherwill keep me amused for a long time

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

itt wasn't that kind of book

Any additional comments?

I was born in 1956,so when star trek came out it was the first adult thing I had ever seen. imagine a 10 year old boy with only cartoons in my life .then BOOM i am the first to see kirk and Spock ..they were almost gods to my eyes this wasn't bonanza or the prisoner which were great in their own right but something completely new .even my parents could feel it so I had the privelidge to be there in the beginning and in COLOR

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Die hard fans will enjoy this book. Casual fans?

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I wouldn't say it was time well spent. But, I would say that it was a book you could read when you had nothing else to do, or, if you have some time to kill.

If you’ve listened to books by the authors before, how does this one compare?

This is the only book I've listened to by these authors.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

There are multiple narrators. They all did a good job, though there were some reviews that were a little disappointed. I thought they did fine.

Do you think The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. This book pretty much covers it.

Any additional comments?

This book is written for die hard fans. Casual fans will enjoy parts of this book, and fall asleep in others. There are two chapters that list the name and job of anyone who did anything with Star Trek. Two chapters of "Jane Doe, script writer, John Doe, floor sweeper, Joe Blow, light bulb changer in so and so's dressing room". etc. Com'on man. In the beginning of the book? Put it at the end at least. Do yourself a favor, Unless you want to devote an hour of your life listening to the credits, skip it. that part. There are several parts of the book that get too detailed oriented, or, just is too much information.

Hard core fans will love the detail. Casual fans will go "really? Why did they put that in there?".

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Much More than a 5 Year Mission

If you like Trek, read this. If you are interested in the history of television, read this. I learned things about the show I'd never known. Since it is told using a series of quotes from the people involved, it is an interesting account. The authors conducted hundreds of interviews. This is the first in a 2 book series. I can't wait for the next one. This is one of the most interesting television/movie histories I've ever read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Some good info, but structure was rough

Before listening to this I listened to "American Icon", another history of type of book. The structure was so much better in that book. You can basically skip ahead to chapter five before anything starts on this one. I think an entire chapter was devoted to all the people they pulled quotes from, and some were so pointless.

They had a single quote from Chris Pratt, who basically just said he was a Star Trek fan. Which is great, but stuff like that just seemed to take up time and space.

I also wasn't a fan on the reliance on quotes to tell the story. I find I can stay more connected when the story is told with quotes sprinkled where they enhance the story. This was like story by quotes, which seems lazy and provided a constant jumping around in time periods, and sometimes unanswered questions, like how did Leonard and Shatner respond to Gene's harsh letter about their behavior? Just went on to more quotes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must for fans

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Amazing interviews with the people associated with Star Trek. You also get an inside look at TV production.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This book is not about one person but the collective of people associated with Star Trek The way it is writen does not lead to a single chaaracter. Except maybe Gene the Great Bird Roddenberry.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The varied views regarding why it remains popular after 50 years.

Any additional comments?

This ia an absolute must for trekers and people intersted in pop culture.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An ABSOLUTE MUST for Trek Fans

What a terrific book! An ABSOLUTE MUST for Trek Fans.

Your interest in this book will correlate directly to your interest in the various TV series and movies. I particularly like Next Gen and Voyager and so I am EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA annoyed that volume 2 is not out yet!

This book lives up to its promise in the title of being complete and uncensored - I think it’s one of the best Behind the Scenes type books I have ever read.

Hurry up people! I want more!!! Get to work on the audio production of Volume 2!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Skip the first 1/3 of this....

The first third is just names and resumes of everyone involved with all of star trek. ugh. The stuff covering the 3 original seasons is largely redundant of These are the Voyages ... if u want a good read about the first three years ... Voyages has you covered. The info regarding the first 6 movies here is good but I kept feeling like there could have been more depth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Performance detracted

The directors, or editors, or whoever was in charge of the production really dropped the ball on this and Vol II of this two volume work. It's bad enough that no one made sure that the narrators knew how to pronounce some of the unique to Trek words, names, and titles (many of them didn't). They even dropped the ball when it came to coordination of said Trek words. There were instances where the same word or name was pronounced in more than one way...all incorrect.

Very sloppy production and lack of attention to detail detracted from an otherwise very interesting set of books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I thought I knew everything about Trek

Fantastic. An epic telling of the story of Star Trek from the people who were there. A must read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jon Dawson
  • 03-08-17

A Detailed History

What did you like most about The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years?

Very comprehensive look that focuses on the writing and casting etc. Any Trek fan, like me, will know about 80% of the facts quoted here. I would say that the performances were a little hit and miss. There were some different pronunciations of names that I feel should have been standardised and one or two voices became a little irritating after awhile. But overall, an interesting listen that passes the time

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee Gregory
  • 09-16-16

Awesome if you're as much of a TrekNerd as I am.

There are lots of interesting insights into how Trek was made that you won't find anywhere else, except for the These Are The Voyages books but they don't include the movies.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • dot_stockport
  • 08-16-16

No single truth

Im a trekkie through and through, so am delighted to listen to such a detailed account. There is no overarching narrative here. What there is, is a number of often conflicting accounts. Sociologically and from a project management point of view this hydra of a story is, as Spock would say, fascinating.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tore
  • 08-25-17

Really?

Having read this book about everything that happened on Star Trek, I have to wonder... how did this show become such a success?

1 of 2 people found this review helpful