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152 of 161 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shatner's Log: Stardate 9529.1
This is a very enjoyable book, easy and fun to read and at times, I laughed out loud. There are also moments of great sadness. It is flawed only by Mr. Shatner's own interruptions that often destroy the flow of a good story.

The book traces Mr. Shatner's career in show business and the path to "make him a star." It is not an easy path. Even after getting...
Published on May 14, 2008 by Barry Pearl

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jobbing actor
First I must confess to being a bit of a Trekkie (or Trekker as some prefer to be called). So I loved the series and the books etc and thought Kirk was a great character and Shatner played him very well. Then as I crunched through the cast biographies (and, ahem, attended the odd convention) it became apparent that William Shatner was not well liked by his fellow cast...
Published on June 21, 2009 by Nick Brett


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152 of 161 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shatner's Log: Stardate 9529.1, May 14, 2008
By 
Barry Pearl (E Northport, NY USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This is a very enjoyable book, easy and fun to read and at times, I laughed out loud. There are also moments of great sadness. It is flawed only by Mr. Shatner's own interruptions that often destroy the flow of a good story.

The book traces Mr. Shatner's career in show business and the path to "make him a star." It is not an easy path. Even after getting several breaks, Mr. Shatner turns down a $500 a week, five-year contract with MGM and the role that Robert Reed got on the Defenders. He had hoped for something bigger and was always waiting for it.

Of course, it came with Star Trek, although it was a bit hard to realize at the time. One of the most interesting parts of the book is his insight and behind the scenes information on Leonard Nimoy. More than learning about their differences in the beginning, and later friendship, we discover the event that strained the relationship between Mr. Nimoy and Gene Roddenberry. We learn about Leonard Nimoy's alcoholism and how he struggled with it. This becomes even more important when we learn about Mr. Shatner third wife and her struggle with the same disease.

The book does not shy away for the animosity that many of the Star Trek regulars had towards him, why they did and how he addressed it. It also doesn't hide the fact of his long struggle to make money and keep it for him and his family. Star Trek does not at all monopolize the book but it is certainly always in the background as it will as be in his. It was refreshing to read his take on why the first ST movie was not a great one and how the company really messed up his attempt to direct ST 5. It was not what I had thought.

There are some very funny, and insightful, stage moments, some with Yul Brenner, Frances Nuyen, and my favorite, laugh out loud moment, when he was on stage with Walter Mathieu. As with any good biography, it gives you an insight not just of the man, but also of the profession.

We also learn about the struggles and the bad times. His first two marriages end in divorce and he blames himself, but he does not go into detail, he does not say anything really damaging about those wives. The story of his third wife, an alcoholic is just overwhelming sad, especially, of course at the end. It was very interesting to see a "celebrity's" view of an intruding press at this kind of sad event. . We also learn about the loss of his father. His love for his daughters is always there and we learn how he became enthralled with horses. His meeting with Chris Reeve, after the accidents, was compelling.

Shatner finds humor everywhere, even in the most tragic places and that helps us get through the book. I had difficulty with two items. He interrupts the book, in the beginning, in mid sentence and gives, what I thought was a comic take on commercials, using his own website. However, he doesn't know when to stop. He does it throughout the book and just when you are getting interested in a topic, he "goes to commercial." Boy, did it stop being funny fast. In addition, in listing the licensing items for Star Trek, he not only goes on FOR PAGES, just listing items, but as if it was a commercial interrupts with that too. He also had trouble starting the book, for the first few pages, he tells you how he will not start the book. Well, then,he is actually starting it then, the way he doesn't want to.

Finally, it is only about 350 pages so you cannot go into great depth on everything. However, there are very interesting stories on TJ Hooker and the cast and Boston legal and its cast. We even get background on 911, Third Planet and Tek war. We learn about the man and why he needs to work so much and so often.

Let me leave on a humorous note. Shatner is driving to an outdoor site, to film part of a Start Trek movie at 4:30 in the morning, wearing his Captain's uniform . Speeding, he is stopped by a cop who asks, "Where are you going?"
"To my spaceship" said Shatner.
"OK, Go ahead. Oh, and live long and prosper."

He has.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One heck of a life, June 1, 2008
I really have little interest in celebrity biographies. I had little interest in William Shatner, save for his hilarious sendup in a Brad Paisley music video. But I saw this voume and figured it was worth skimming at least.

Actually it is extremely interesting. I am presuming Shatner's co-author had a lot to do with the style, but it is Shatner as a person that shines through.

It's a surprisingly good book about an actor's life, how so very much of that kind of life is dependent entirely upon random fortune, luck - good and bad. Shatner had been a working actor for years, essentially steadily employed, but not famous. Captain Kirk was his breakout role - and in that he freely admits to being a second fiddle, especially in the beginning, to Leonard Nimoy's Mr. Spock character.

Kirk gave Shatner more freedom than ever to be Shatner, a man open to experiment, taking serious roles as well as spoofing himself and everything in between. Since I am not actually a Shatner fan, I was really surprised at just how much work Shatner has done.

There are many memorable scenes and highlights in this book. One that really sticks in my memory is Shatner's explanations for why he works so much, aside from the need to satisfy his creative urges. The first stemmed from a tour of the late Edward G. Robinson's renowned gallery of French Impressionists. This was at a time when "real" actors did not lower themselves to doing television commercials. In a discussion about actors and commercials, Robinson waves his hand at his very valuable and very expensive collection of paintings and asks Shatner how he thought Robinson could afford them. Point well made.

The other anecdote is an explanation of why Shatner rarely turns down work: every job opens a door to new opportunities, explains Shatner. What a great philosophy.

There are many, many asides, seques and detours in this book, which frankly adds to its character. It is a collection of tips to aspiring actors. It is a journal of the remembrances of a man who has seen good times and bad. The story of his third wife's alcoholism and her accidental death is dad. Likewise, the recounting of Leonard Nimoy's alcoholism came as a surprise to me. There are snippets of the proud father talking about and to his four daughters. Bits and pieces of his four marriages make their way into the narrative.

By the last page, you have a pretty good feel for the man who is William Shatner. He's a guy who has had some lucky breaks and, more importantly, never stopped trying to expand his horizons, never stopped giving vent to urge to create. All in all, he comes across as an interesting, talented guy who is at ease with himself.

Good reading, even if you are not a Shatner fan.

Jerry
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69 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile and Substantive, but Somewhat Uneven, May 20, 2008
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I just finished reading Up Till Now and feel inclined to comment. I enjoyed the book enormously, but have some minor complaints. For the last dozen years I've taught literature and composition at the college level, so I'm used to carefully examining what I read in terms of style and usage.

The tone of this book is quite different than Bill's previous autobiographical works. This is presumably due to co-writer David Fisher's approach and prose style differing from Chris Kreski's. The earlier books presented a consistent, if somewhat workmanlike, organization and textual style while Up Till Now is more inconsistent and less linear. Like most celebrity memoirs, it appears the book was compiled from Bill's recorded anecdotal ruminations and numerous sections are presented verbatim in a voice that sounds much like Bill's. Fisher's approach was likely to organize the material and provide bridging prose to logically link the anecdotes. Kreski seemed to collate the memories and render the material in his own version of Bill's voice. Along with editorial tinkering, the different approach would account for the fluctuations of tone in the new book. The informational arrangement is somewhat chronological, mitigated by attempts to also arrange the material thematically. This is always an awkward strategy and I've never seen it done with complete success. Someone also had the lamentable idea of frequently interrupting Bill's many interesting stories with trivial asides and jovial sales pitches for [...]. While we all know Bill as a marvelous pitchman, this technique quickly becomes irksome when frequently repeated on the printed page. Perhaps it will be more effective in the audiobook version. These elements necessarily make for inconsistent reading, and while this is a book of quality, this is also a book to be read in short spurts. Please don't misunderstand me. It's certainly readable and without glaring typographical or grammatical problems, but Bill's earlier memoirs made for more consistent reading from a stylistic perspective. Also, as I'm sure someone must have pointed out by now, the photo from Cannes is missing from the insert section. Although Bill didn't appear in the animated film, I doubt the empty white box was meant as a joke.

As for the actual content: There's a nice mix between the oft-repeated familiar stories and new material. As a longtime Shatner fan I'm grateful to have the book and relish the insights it provides. Much of the writing is extraordinary. The section describing Nerine's alcoholism and death is one of the most beautiful and poignant things I've read in a long time. It moved this jaded and critical reader to tears. The insights into Bill's acting philosophy, his quest for metaphysical meaning and his evolving friendhips with Leonard Nimoy and James Spader are welcome and satisfying.

If anything, the book's main flaw in terms of content is that it tries to cover too much ground. A career and life as substantial and varied as Bill's simply cannot be covered in a single 342 page memoir. I would rather this were one of two volumes--the first covering his early life and career up to perhaps the cancellation of the original Star Trek, and the second to cover the years since. It's too late now, but perhaps Bill might consider another book comprised of anecdotes about his acting jobs through the years (along the lines of the Basil Rathbone story in the book), because a career of his longevity necessarily means they were given short shrift in the present work. The ones here are terrific. So much is covered in this one book that it becomes dizzying at times, but then I imagine Bill's life is pretty dizzying at times.

In conclusion, even with my minor complaints, I heartily recommend this book to anyone ever touched or amused by a Shatner performance through the years. It's a unique opportunity to glimpse the soul behind the constantly metamorphizing showman and man that is William Shatner. It's a fitting epitaph, up till now, for a life that hopefully has many more chapters.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jobbing actor, June 21, 2009
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Up Till Now: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
First I must confess to being a bit of a Trekkie (or Trekker as some prefer to be called). So I loved the series and the books etc and thought Kirk was a great character and Shatner played him very well. Then as I crunched through the cast biographies (and, ahem, attended the odd convention) it became apparent that William Shatner was not well liked by his fellow cast members and this cast a bit of a shadow on him as an individual. But I watched some of his work, read some of his books and even the comic series Tek World, and formed the view that he had a massive ego but was also able to laugh at himself.... So before I picked up this book, I did have an opinion....

The book is a proper autobiography taking us from his youth to Boston Legal and the production of the latest Star Trek film (in which we know he does not appear). A true jobbing actor he does get over the philosophy of the need to work and even I was surprised how much `proper' acting he has done. He wisely resists the temptation to focus on Star Trek (he's done that in Star Trek Memories) so we dip into all of his work and his private life. He tells it in his own way, often going off piste and with a degree of forthright honesty. Much has been made of how entertaining and funny this book is, but I have to confess that while it held my interest and did a decent job, it was never more then `okay'.
Having said that, it is an interesting life view of the man, perhaps fewer anecdotes then I was expecting and I would have liked a few more amusing tales. This is a quick and easy read and you will be surprised how much of a varied career Shatner has had, but you do wonder at times if he has evolved into his own caricature, or he is very very clever at giving people exactly what they want.

Certainly, by the end of this I liked and understood him a little more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Entertaining Book Even for Those Who Don't Love Shatner, December 15, 2008
This book is a great way for Shatner to avoid opening up too much while taking readers on an entertaining journey through his life. Even those who don't rate as Shatner fans will love the inside-Hollywood stories. But be warned--you never know if what he's telling you is true!

I am not a Star Trek fan and have seen Shatner in only few things. I know his reputation is that of pompous, arrogant jerk who takes himself way too seriously. But being interested in the entertainment business I gave him a chance and I'm glad I did.

From the start Shatner and his co-author write in a ADHD style that starts to tell a story, then in the middle of the story skips ahead 30 years to another story, before returning to the original story. Then in the middle of a chapter he will suddenly pause in the middle of a story to do a commercial for his website or a movie he wants you to rent. At first it's a little odd, but then you realize that this is pure Shatner humor. He doesn't want to just write another tell-all book; he wants to entertain you in an offbeat way.

Everything about the book is humorous, even his serious stories. He refuses to reveal too much about himself or his family or his emotions, but he lets the reader in on just enough to catch glimpses the public has never seen before. His ego is on every page, but it's mixed with a self-deprecation that is appealing.

The only caution is that he is an admitted fabricator and it's difficult to know when he's just pulling your leg. At one point he even has to write, "That's the true story of how I made up a story."

In the end it doesn't make much difference whether what he tells you is the complete, accurate story. His point is to make you laugh and to mock the traditional autobiography. By that measure the book is a complete success.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shatner I Never Knew, August 27, 2008
By 
Amazon Customer (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
I have never seen a complete episode of Star Trek. I have no appreciation for the show, its characters, or anything else about it. So why would I read a book by the man who made a fortune being Captain Kirk? It was a gift because I'm a huge fan of Boston Legal. And, I'll admit, I wasn't all that excited about reading this book. But no sooner did I start it than I was hooked.

There is a wonderful, self-depricating style that Shatner uses here. It completely disarms the reader and carries you along through the entire book. I gained more than insight into the actor, I gained a real appreciation for the man. A big career, a big life, a big ego, and a big sense of humor. Wrap that all up with talent and it's a pretty interesting picture.

I am a much bigger Shatner fan for having read this book. He's actually somebody I'd like to have chat with over coffee. This is not a heady book, but it's a quick, fun read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Sound Recording, Terrific Book, September 22, 2009
This review is from: Up Till Now: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
Great Audiobook -- read other reviews as to why -- but the narration by Shatner is poorly recorded.

The sound engineer should have used a "Compressor-Limiter" device to boost the very, very soft passages a bit, and limit the spikes of loud words. Shatner, I suppose for effect, will start a sentence somewhat loud for emphasis, then fade quickly to almost a whisper, but very close to the microphone, so it is soft and very, very bassy (low frequency.) So for the entire audiobook CD, you must roll down the bass, boost the treble and keep a finger on your volume control, chasing the narration, trying to hear the soft passages, only to be blasted when Shatner starts another sentence!

I travel in my car very long distances, so audiobooks really make the miles roll by, but this was difficult to listen to -- Shatner also talks faster when he is talking slowly, so you may need to do a lot of rewinding to catch the soft passages.

I wish the recording engineers / audiobook producers would understand that many of us listen to audiobooks in a car, which while relatively quiet, is not like listening with headphones or in a acoustically perfect listening room.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up till now I thought, March 14, 2011
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Up till the time I got this audio & saw several of his boston legal shows & his new comedy show, I never took him for anything but a serious actor. All I can say about him is he is a "REAL HOOT".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable Book, February 2, 2011
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This review is from: Up Till Now: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I am not a Trekkie, although I have seen all the episodes of the original Star Trek. I have never seen T.J. Hooker and only occasionally watched Boston Legal, but I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a true actor's story of someone who set out to work very hard as an actor, acting in anything that came along. I didn't realize prior to Star Trek how many plays, TV shows, and bad movies Shatner had already been in. Even now, he is not a big huge star who brags about the art of it all, but a journeyman actor who treats his work like a real job, and truly enjoys every little victory. It was shocking to read how low his career got after Star Trek when he was working in dinner theaters across the country, sleeping in his truck to save money. But he rebounded. The story is told in a very engaging way with much humor, and no, he never explains his hair except in one surprise moment. He is also very forthcoming about the wife who drowned. An excellent autobiography.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read; worth your time, January 28, 2011
This review is from: Up Till Now: The Autobiography (Hardcover)
I was never a "Trekkie", but loved this actor after watching him in "Boston Legal". This is a very honest autobiography and enjoyable reading. He can be hilarious. I laughed out loud about 5 times while reading it, though there were some heart-breaking parts. I highly recommend this bio. So many autobiographies are sugar-coated (Ann Margaret's comes to mind) where they tell their life story and it is so sugar coated that you know they left many truths out, wanted people to only read the good and not the human side, but Shatner's was excellent!!! He deserves all the health, wealth and happiness he obtains.
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Up Till Now: The Autobiography
Up Till Now: The Autobiography by William Shatner (Hardcover - May 13, 2008)
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