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on December 6, 2012
If you've ever been watching an episode of Star Trek and heard a throwaway line about something that happened "in the 22nd century" and wanted to know more, this book is for you. If you ever noticed an apparent contradiction in how the show quoted its own historical events, this book is for you. If you've ever thought about the universe that exists around the characters in the Star Trek and wanted to know how it actually works, this book is for you. If you loved the adventures of Captains Kirk, Picard, Archer, Janeway and Sisko and were curious about how the things they did shaped the events of their time, this book is for you.

To be clear, Federation: The First 150 Years is not a technical manual. It's not an art book. It's not about the history of Star Trek the franchise or Star Trek the television show. It is a history book of the titular United Federation of Planets, the interstellar political body whose flag the Enterprise proudly flies. The book is written in an "In Universe" style, meaning that from the beginning to end, everything is from the perspective of a historian living and writing about Star Trek events as if they actually happened.

While that might sound dry, Goodman's prose is snappy and peppered with quotes and "first person" accounts, giving it a lot of flavor and personality. Clearly Goodman has a background and interest in real-world history, a background that informs the decisions he makes as he ties together all the one liners and throwaway comments from dozens of Star Trek episodes and movies into a believable, cohesive, and enjoyable narrative about the founding and growth of one of scifi's most famous interstellar nations.

Then there's the art. I've seen other reviews comment with disappointment about the art style in the book, but I disagree heartily. It was a bold and expensive choice for the publisher to commission dozens of new illustrations featuring events, seen and unseen, from the Trek canon. Some have complained that they were expecting more screenshots from the shows, but I disagree - this volume is an illustrated history written in style that, cover to cover, takes the Star Trek universe seriously. To use simple photos from the shows would break the immersion, as rarely are cameras really present at these historical events, and the few that were certainly wouldn't happen to have the same composition as a still frame from the television shows. The watercolors in the book elevate the work considerably, making it feel archival and purposefully crafted.

And that doesn't touch on all the other inclusions: newspaper clippings, snippets of important treaties and documents, and the extra set of materials tucked away in the back jacket. All designed with great care, flavor and attention to detail.

It's hard to overstate how many amazing nuggets are waiting to be found for a fan who has grown up with, and wanted to live at least a little part of their own life in the same universe as Captain Kirk and the rest.
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on January 31, 2014
Admittedly, it has a couple discrepancies, such as stating incorrectly the location of Kirk's birth, but that aside, it was an excellent read. It covers 150 years of the original universe from Khan's era (pre-WW3) through the death of Kirk. It is not a blow by blow accounting of episodes and movies, but it takes a view more as a history book would take. It looks at the highlights that shaped the federation, not the exploits of a singular ship.

One section I especially liked was the period after that of the Enterprise TV series, including the Romulan War. It gives a great glimpse into what we would have seen had the series not been cancelled prematurely.

Not only do I recommend this book for any Star Trek fan, I am glad to have it in my collection, and I hope to see a follow up soon to continue the history for the next 150 years, from after Kirk through to the fall of the Romulan Empire, including insights into the eras of Enterprises B, C, D, and E, and the Cardassian and Dominion Wars. Get writing Mr. Goodman!
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on March 9, 2013
"Federation: The First 150 Years" is essentially an in-universe textbook in the tradition of other Star Trek technical manuals and history books. It goes so far in its charade as to even have a fake bibliography referencing other non-existent future history books. It's purpose is to outline the formation and early years of the United Federation of Planets, the interplanetary government of the Star Trek franchise.

Earlier books like the "Star Trek Spaceflight Chronology," which was the chief inspiration for this book, have attempted to do this before but have largely been outdated due to the ever evolving on-screen canon of Star Trek. This is most notably because of the television series "Enterprise" which expanded upon the pre-federation history that was once solely the realm of fan-fiction and speculation.

The book succeeds pretty well at combining old ideas with new canon facts and the author goes through great lengths to explain away some obvious inconsistencies and problems created by "Enterprise" specifically. The chapter on the Romulan War is one of the highlights and details what very well could have made up the bulk of the last two seasons of the show had it continued.

Unfortunately most of the fun of books like the "Spaceflight Chronology" came from the fact that they filled in the blanks of an era that, while sometimes referenced, we knew absolutely nothing about. Thanks to "Enterprise" having already covered much of that the majority of this book serves as a brief refresher course on the major events that shaped the Federation, events that Star Trek fans already know a lot about. The sections about the Romulan War and the early Federation are the only parts that give us a glimpse into a Star Trek we haven't seen yet outside of novels and the work of fans and it's no surprise that these non-canon sections are probably the most interesting parts of the book.

Once you get past that the book continues giving its brief synopsis of important canon events except for a few mentions of characters who weren't our heroes working behind the scenes, playing just as important part to history. This gave a new perspective to some of the events but none were exceptionally revelatory.

Another nice touch that lends to the text-book vibe is the copies of documents that helps to color the different alien races and historical figures. Most of them look rather generic as other reviewers have pointed out and could be made by anyone with access to Adobe InDesign but many were cleverly written and I appreciated their presence. The book of course comes with the bonus content of additional letters that didn't make it into the book. They're hardly necessary and seem like they could just as easily been edited into the book itself instead of being extras though the transparency scan of a Trill and its symbiote ends up being the star of the show. Cochrane's Warp 5 speech scribbled on an envelope is a clever gimmick as well and there's a nice Matt Jefferies blue print of the pilot episode version of original series U.S.S. Enterprise. The talking stand the book comes with is neat if you have room to display it but ultimately adds nothing to the value.

Much has been said about the art and I must say you'll either love it or hate it. The book having original art instead of simply screen shots from the show makes it feel more authentic and in-universe. Some paintings fair better than others, most of the paintings of people are in an impressionist style that doesn't quite work. Some of the paintings of the starships are quite beautiful though. The bad art does outweigh the good art, mostly due to the InDesign documents mentioned earlier, but there are still some very wonderful pieces in the book.

While I enjoyed reading it I ultimately feel like it was a missed opportunity. Goodman was either too afraid or not allowed to add too much non-canon information as there is a lot of time to cover and a lot of gaps to fill between the end of "Enterprise" and the beginning of the original series which feels only touched upon in this work. Other details are left sparse, while he mentions how many worlds belong to the Federation at the end of the book with Betazed as its newest entrant, he never gives so much as a list of those planets and very few other than the major powers get a significant mention. There is so much more mystery and so many more races that we know little about that could have been expanded upon in a book calling itself the history of the Federation.

Also pertaining to other races it's a very human-centric history of the Federation. Other than the history of Earth we get the most information about the Vulcans but much less about the Andorians and Tellarites even though their contributions are just as important to the success of the Federation. We don't really get much pertaining to their early histories and conflicts and how they came together as united worlds before forming the Federation. We only get this information about humans and to a lesser extent the Vulcans, the histories we already know the most about.

In any case, perhaps that kind of thing is still left up to the fans until Star Trek canon once again evolves to change everything we think we know about this juggernaut of science fiction entertainment. At its best, this book does a good job of rectifying the events of "Enterprise" with the original series, weaving a strong sense of continuity between the generations. It's definitely a fun and interesting book, with its staunchly in-universe appearance making it feel like an actual grade school history book brought back from the future, making it a nice collectible for a Star Trek fan. Whether or not you agree with its version of events might help or hinder your enjoyment of the text itself, so take that in mind if you already hold on to your own staunch opinion about the future's past.

The book itself is short and smaller than it appears in pictures thanks in part to its stand. The price is steep for what you recieve, both at $99 or even $50. My recommendation is that the book is worth reading and having as a Star Trek fan, but you should wait for a better deal.
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on December 9, 2012
I'm somewhat ambivalent on this one. While it looks great sitting there and the voice recording of Sulu is cool, the novelty wears off quickly. The book is a little smaller than I expected and sort of reads more like a storybook than a "historical text". The base is really cool looking until you realize it's flimsy, plasticky feeling (I mean it is plastic and all). The "extras" others have mentioned tucked into the rear book jacket are nothing but an envelope with some Zephram Cochrane warp notes scribbled on it, a small foldout diagram of the Enterprise, a transparency looking diagram of a Trill and something else not worth mentioning.
Cool gift for the true Trekkie but don't be fooled by the supposed $99 price tag marked down to $59. This sells for $59 anyplace.
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on December 7, 2012
I'm very impressed with this book. It is very informative and goes through every facet of the star trek world beginning with the enterprise series and going through the current movie. It has articles and photos which do not exist in any other form or publication known in the canonical form. I like it for an up to date fashion it came to put Star Trek into a more current form than previously noted in other media forms. Thanks for a very up to date revision and explanation of this world. Now if I can only get the back cover off to change the battery...!
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on December 5, 2013
I bought the first printing of "Federation", which came with the pedestal. I was a little disappointed in that book's quality - the spine/glue was very weak and I am afraid to read it any more or some pages could start falling out. Also, I was surprised to see several typos in the first edition... hopefully those have been fixed in this edition.

Anyway, on to my review of Mr. Goodman's book.

Overall, I enjoyed his version of Star Trek's "history". Goodman does a commendable job connecting what seem to be unrelated events and characters into an exciting (albeit retconned) narrative that holds up. Where I felt Goodman came up short was in his telling of the oft-mentioned, never seen on screen Romulan War. As we learned from "Enterprise", a series which Goodman wrote for, the Romulan War is the catalyst for forming the United Federation of Planets. Since the Romulan War is arguably the flashpoint for the entire concept of his book, I was expecting a much more expansive and detailed telling of the war from Goodman. And while his version does have some nice ideas (the Battle of Sol shows you why aliens don't mess with Earth for the next 100 years), a better rendition of the Romulan War played out in the Enterprise novel series from Pocket Books, which operates on a much grander scale. Goodman's telling of the war's final battle at Cheron was a bit anti-climatic with only a few ships involved and the Romulans looking like first year cadets taking the Kobayashi Maru test. Oh, and Mr. Goodman, Bryce Shumar isn't the captain of the Intrepid - Carlos Ramirez is.

Anyway, the Romulan War aside, Goodman does tell some good stories and his writing is sharp. There is a large period in the timeline that hasn't been covered in the Prime universe through canon, namely the period between ENT and TOS and Goodman deftly fills that era with a Federation/Klingon "cold war" that includes Garth of Izar and the NCC-1701's first captain, Robert April. It's also during this "Age of Exploration" that the Federation makes first contact with worlds like Organia and Talos; places which will become critical to Captain Kirk's five-year mission (and Star Trek mythology).

David Goodman's "Federation: the First 150 Years" takes us where no book has gone before into some unexplored corners of Star Trek's "history" and is a must-read for die-hard Trekkers.
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on December 4, 2012
I just received this book in the mail today and have not had enough time to read it all. However, I can tell you the quality of this product is superb! The first thing that struck me was the detail. This author wants you to believe that you are reading a real history book of the real past. He does a fantastic job of creating a fictional "history" book. There are letters, documents, diagrams, etc...that really detail the world of Star Trek. If you are a fan of Star Trek, or if you know someone that is, this book is absolutely worth the price! This book sets the standard of how Star Trek reference books should be done! Great job David Goodman!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 27, 2015
I am in love with this book!! It is gorgeous inside and out. I've not yet read the whole thing because I am trying to pace myself to enjoy it longer but I love what I've read so far. I own a lot of similar books and this was an instant favourite.
This would be the perfect gift for any nerds in your life - I'm sure they'd love it like I do.
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on December 11, 2012
I love this! The talking pedestal is a little gimmicky, but still pretty cool, and it does hold the book at a good angle to read. The book itself is a trek geek dream. I've flipped through it and read the first 20 pages or so. Both the artwork and overall presentation is impressive, and so far, I like the writing. :) Recommended.
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on January 1, 2013
I like the overall writing of this book, but the illustrations and the art direction is pretty lackluster. I expected a rich immersive experience where you can really loiter on the images kind of like the DK book series of the star wars universe which are really well done. ( i will admit that the star wars stuff has an advantage in that they were saved from the production of the films but not all of it.) For example, some of the federation documents are just typeset maybe in indesign with no special consideration of the fonts, i mean it looks like it was designed in our day not in the future. not on any texture like a paper, it just dosent look real. this could have been set with the appropriate font, printed on paper and then photographed to make look real and interesting. the illustrations which are largley watercolor are ok as watercolors, although as an art direction i would not have chosen that medium for most of the images, especially the technical stuff, or the one with starships. I know i am armchair quarterbacking from an art direction point of view, i can only imagine the the art direction had to work within a budget and did what he or she could. looks to me the money was spent on the packaging which was impressive but gimmicky. i know if jj abrams had anything to do with this book, it would have much cooler. maybe using curated fan art to illustrate this book, the star trek story deserves alot better. i hope the next book will be as rich as the DK books on star wars which are the gold standard in my opinion. i usually dont write reviews on amazon but i felt strongly on this one.
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