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How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise Paperback – October 6, 2015
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"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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"Exhaustive.... those of us more casually in tune with the Force will find more than a few tasty nuggets."―Wall Street Journal
"Insanely microresearched and breezily written."―New York Times Book Review
"An excellent look at the genesis of Star Wars.... [Taylor's] put together a volume that's honest and interesting--and one that's completely reignited my passion for Star Wars."―io9
"An unconventional approach that serves to bring a spark of life that might otherwise go missing from a straightforward commercial or cinematic look at Star Wars."―Washington Post
"Even obsessives will likely find much that's news to them ... worthy of being savored ... amusing ... reveals what a huge role serendipity played in Star Wars."―New York Post
"Delivers a payload of information... you will find intense emotions in its observations of a battle for autonomy within corporate cinema, and to the public that swoons for Lucas' products."―San Francisco Chronicle
"An immensely readable look at the worldwide impact of the Star Wars saga over the decades."―McClatchy
"Taylor brings a genuine love of pop and nerd culture to this comprehensive retrospective on one of the 20th century's most popular film series.... Taylor has compiled an impressive collection of background research and insider info that any fan would be glad to own."―Publishers Weekly
"Taylor's fan-boy enthusiasm coupled with his inviting narrative style make this a fun and informative read for sf enthusiasts, media studies and marketing students, film industry professionals, and aspiring Jedi Knights."―Library Journal
"It's impossible to imagine a Star Wars fan who wouldn't love this book.... It really is hard to imagine a book about Star Wars being any more comprehensive than this one. It's full of information and insight and analysis, and it's so engagingly written that it's a pure joy to read.... There are plenty of books about Star Wars, but very few of them are essential reading. This one goes directly to the top of the pile."―Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Chris Taylor is the deputy editor of Mashable, one of the world's largest independent news websites. He has covered the intersection of business and culture for two decades as a writer and editor for Time, Business 2.0, Fortune Small Business, and Fast Company. He is a graduate of Merton College, Oxford and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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There were a handful of points at which the Star Wars fan in me went, "HEY! That's not precisely correct! Thrawn was 1.983 meters tall, not 1.893," and there are lots of small spelling errors, they hardly detracted enough from my enjoyment to merit taking off a star. Read it, enjoy it, buy a nice tent for Episode VII.
This book is well written. Its got a lot of background on the original movie that's cool and interesting. It has a lot of background on George Lucas which was interesting.
The book also goes into the fan base and the various fan clubs around the world.
Its an enjoyable book for a Star Wars fan.
Where it excels is as a relatively objective look at the SW phenomenon. Despite the author's admitted fannish love for SW, he rarely flinches from showing how badly written (and occasionally executed), the SW properties are. His chapter on denial, anger, rewriting, and other responses to the badly done prequels is perhaps the best part of the book. He doesn't let his fannish love get in the way of reality -- and that's the *best* fandom of all, a critical fandom that includes reality right in with the adoration.
I like that he shows how many facets there are to a big media concept like SW -- not simply the films but all the side projects, novels, cos-players, etc. And also the crazy, chancy world of movie production, where anything at all can get you greenlighted to conquer the world, or backburnered into oblivion. I like how Taylor shows the effects of this money-opoly on Lucas, and how increasingly driven Lucas was to write simply to earn more in order to have more control over his own work, which in turn drove him every more stressfully, which in turn affected the quality of the work, because he was increasingly the only one who he trusted to be in control.... wow. That really made me think about Mozart and Dickens and other great artists, writers and composers who ended up in the same potentially health- and soul-destroying spiral of having to churn out mediocre or half-baked work just to earn the money to try to work on something better.
Anyway, I bought this in part to share with a teenager who's never been a Star Wars fan, because reading this balanced view of the crazy mix of film, fandom, business, SF, and personalities involved in SW will give him a good critical stance on how to approach those media sensations he *is* a fan of, including Lord of the Rings and many video games.
Thus, my main recommendation for the book would be as a good model for the many avenues to explore, and angles to investigate, in ANY popular media fandom.