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on September 24, 2000
1) This is a hagiography written by a friend, not an objective biography. Roddenberry's character flaws (and there were many) are barely touched upon or completely glossed over. (The one-sided, multi-page attempt to discredit detractor David Gerrold is embarrassingly silly, for example.)
2) For a book written by someone who was supposedly Robbenberry's friend, precious little of the story comes from the man himself. Nearly half the book (and almost all of the latter sections) consists of transcripts of memos and letters written by Roddenberry.
3) The editing is sloppy; typos abound, most frequently in people's names. Usually they're just annoying, but when you see uncorrected misspellings such as "Harland Ellison" and "Leslie Nielson," you have to wonder just how well the author knew the details of what he was writing about, and whether he was simply parroting material given to him by others.
I'd recommend sticking with Joel Engel's biography of Roddenberry as an antidote. It too has its slant, but it's nonetheless a far more rounded effort than this volume.
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on September 3, 2012
I found this to be a very enjoyable and illuminating read. The author does an excellent and thorough job exploring Gene's early years, his upbringing, his service in WW II, his heroism as a commercial pilot for Pan Am and his remarkable journey creating this enduring franchise.

The author perhaps relies too much on letters and notes at times, and it makes for tedious reading. But there are other moments, when Gene is corresponding with fellow Sci Fi thinkers and writers where the contours of his vision and philosophy become apparent, and the reader can appreciate the franchise, indeed perceive the franchise, with a different and fresh perspective. This is in and of itself worth the trouble of working through the copious detail of this work.

The book is also honest in pointing out Gene's less than admirable traits, but does not dwell on them.

The book is light on exploring The Next Generation, likely because insufficient time passed at the time of the writing obtain the required detail for a retrospective. Perhaps also because Gene passed in the middle if the run, and was growing more ill after the early seasons and became less involved in the show.

The work does capture the struggle, deep and enduring, that was required to stay true to Gene's vision of what Star Trek represented. It tells the story of his efforts to preserve that vision from being co-opted (from his perspective) by folks at the network and even members of the original cast. Sometimes he was successful, and sometimes he was not.

But, by the conclusion of this story, Gene's contribution is made plain, and is rooted not in blind fandom but rather in the understanding in the man, his principles, and his life. This is the goal of any biographer, and it was amply achieved.
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on November 26, 2015
It has been awhile since I read this book but it was so entertaining! I was, of course, interested in the "wagon train to the stars" creator. And this book brought more to the table than the biography of Gene Roddenberry. It described the early beginnings of television programming and how the studios (DesiLu, especially) participated, not only in the Trek Universe, but in TV in general! Gene Roddenberry was writing for several TV programs early on! He had vision and was in the right place at the right time! What an interesting time. If you love television and the business of screen writing then read this book!
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on May 22, 2014
The book is extremely well written, flows well and is easy to read. Being an "authorized" biography may somewhat bias the information but all-in-all it is a great book for anyone who likes StarTrek.
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on February 5, 2015
For the record I didn't even know this book existed when I accidentally stumbled across it at a local goodwill store. I have 4-5 of Shatner's books, all great, so was Nimoy's too. But this seemed like a no brainer. I realized when thinking about it that, as a huge trek fan, I actually didn't know a ton about Gene. This book solved that. Very fun read! And if I may say, you really get your money's worth. This thing is nearly 600 pages! Lol
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on December 31, 1997
While I agree with one of the previous reviewers, that Roddenberry could have chosen a more experienced chronicler, I understand why he
did not. Still, despite its shortcommings, Star Trek
Creator should be applauded for going beyond
what a "Trekkie" would necessarily want to hear to
becomming a book about one man's journey into
making a living in Hollywood.
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on August 19, 2005
Offers a different treatment of Star Trek. Contains many documents Roddenberry wrote to promote the idea of ST. Gives interesting insight of Gene's early life with the Los Angeles Police Department and his conversion to TV. There are many ups and downs. I know him better due to this book. ST is the biggest thing in TV, the hottest property, an expansive franchise, and it almost didn't happen at all. Not many TV shows reach from 1966 to beyond our lifetimes. Star Trek will.
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on July 11, 2003
The other reviewer was overly harsh. This book was a wonderful telling of Gene Rodenburry's life. Was it perfect? No, but I do feel that I have a greater appreciation for the man and his life. I have a much better understanding of what motivated him and his ideas. This book is so cheap that you can't lose.
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on April 8, 2008
I very much enjoyed this book. Why?

Lots of detail: the writer unearthed old documents and interviewed aging witnesses to put together a portrait of Roddenberry which starts from before his birth to the moment of his death.

Is it hagiographic? No. Why?

The author clearly, and repeatedly, reveals Roddenberry's tendency to be a womanizer and does not directly excuse him for this. He merely reports it.
The writer also reveals at least one episode of outright gratuitous cruelty on the part of Roddenberry.

Is it fully satisfying? Not quite. Why?

I wish there was more material on Roddenberry's home life with his first wife and their children. I also wish there were more material about Roddenberry's non-professional interests, hobbies, if any, etc. However, I forgive this lack because I know that a larger and longer book might not have been economically viable. And, after all, it is Roddenberry's role as the creator of Star Trek that we care about.

What about the controversies regarding other peoples' contributions to Star Trek?

This book, and indeed every other book I have ever read about Star Trek over the past 30 years including interviews with Roddenberry, make it very clear that MANY people contributed to Star Trek. But, the concept was Roddenberry's and he was the necessary and unique filter through which everybody else's ideas had to pass. This has been obvious to me for decades and I was happy to see that this book touched on this as well. There is really no basis for controversy.

I see Roddenberry as a loving and creative man who allowed himself a great deal af latitude in matters of sex (hardly a capital crime, and hardly unique), did abuse substances to some extent (which probably contributed to his death, but again, hardly unique especially in the culture of Hollywood), and occasionally was involved in wrangles about creative priorities, responsibilities and credit (again, very garden-variety stuff in the business culture he was a part of). It would be nice if he could have risen completely above such things, but I feel he did the best he could while, at the same time, producing something of lasting humanitarian and entertainment value to the world. Only he could have done it in that way with that degree of success.

Without putting him on a pedestal, he is a heroic figure. And one the world sorely needs again.
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on January 14, 2015
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