How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise Hardcover – September 30, 2014
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Simon Pegg, actor and Star Wars fan
George Lucas didn't only create an iconic film franchise, but also a mind-virus that's infected the imaginations of billions of people around the world. Chris Taylor delivers an exuberant forensic analysis of the phenomenon in How Star Wars Conquered the Universea must-read for any fan, film buff, or student of modern culture.”
Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
Every Star Wars fan should pick up a copy of How Star Wars Conquered the Universe.... Taylor's extensive exploration of the history of Star Wars and the impact it has had on popular culture makes for an eye-opening and entertaining read.... This book remains a necessary item for any bookshelf.”
The Wookiee Gunner
[A] tour de force.... Taylor's research is staggering, and even fans who believe they know all there is to know about the film franchise will find much to learnand savor.”
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.”
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
This is the best nonfiction Star Wars book I've read and it will appeal to more than just the Star Wars super fan.”
Chris Taylor not only manages to put a fresh spin on an old story, but also takes readers on a memorable trip through the past, present, and future of Star Wars fandom I don't know of any other book that takes such a comprehensive and in-depth look at fandom.”
Far Far Away Radio
Even if you're a Star Wars savant, it's a fun read.... Hell, give it to your friends and family who are casual fans they'll be sure to get a kick out of it as well.”
Chris Taylor's How Star Wars Conquered the Universe is the definitive guide to the first forty years of the Star Wars galaxy. Part biography, part history, part fanboy gossip, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe is an accessible, fun read for any lover of Star Wars.”
Ian Doescher, author of the William Shakespeare's Star Wars trilogy
This is a wildly entertaining book, and if it's not the definitive history of the making of Star Wars, I don't know what is. But it's more than that: it tells a rollicking good story about storytelling itself, about the intersection between art and commerce, and paints surely the most complete and deeply felt portrait of George Lucas to date.”
Dave Eggers, author of The Circle and A Hologram for the King
Chris Taylor's colorful biography of Star Wars, the franchise that shaped modern culture, is more than just a geek's delight. It is a creativity manualand shows how the relationship between films and fans can stimulate innovation.”
Walter Isaacson, author of The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution and Steve Jobs
Smart. Eloquent. Definitive. This is the book you're looking for.”
Lev Grossman, author of the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy
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.”
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.”
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)
A smart, engaging book...welcome reading for fans of Star Warsor, for that matter, of THX 1138.”
[A] terrific new book ”
Here, finally, is a book that, in its very title, separates the tough from the wusses when it comes to exactly the kind of pop-culture consumption, digestion, regurgitation and entrail-reading that behan with George Lucas's space fairy tale. The amusingly hyperbolic (but serious) title, with its cheerily fevered (but serious) assumption of agreement with the premise and delightfully blinkered (but serious) conviction in the importance of the topic, distills everything one needs to know about the kind of insanely microresearched and breezily written book this is.”
New York Times Book Review
Exhaustive... [a] thorough account... those of us more casually in tune with the Force will find more than a few tasty nuggets.”
Wall Street Journal
At its heart, How Star Wars Conquered the Universe is a love letter to a franchise that has become entrenched in contemporary culture in more ways than we could possibly count.... A history of the Star Wars franchise packed with trivia and anecdotes that will delight any fan.”
Shelf Awareness for Readers
An immensely readable look at the worldwide impact of the Star Wars saga over the decades.”
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.6 pounds
- Hardcover : 488 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0465089984
- ISBN-13 : 978-0465089987
- Product Dimensions : 6.5 x 1.25 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : Basic Books; 0th Edition (September 30, 2014)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What I enjoyed the most about this book was that it became an immersive experience, because as soon as I started reading about the Star Wars universe, I had to re-watch all of the movies. Though it was occasionally bogged down with the minutiae of every detail of George Lucas, his creative process, franchising, filming, his various companies, finances, et al, there were more interesting tidbits that I found intriguing. Example: “Elvis Presley… was in the process of securing a Star Wars print to screen for himself and Lisa Marie at Graceland the day before he died.”
I was most interested in how the story and the films evolved, first in Lucas’s brain, then to a more tangible thing. One of my favorite quotes pretty well defined Lucas’s attitude concerning his creation:
“I was afraid science fiction buffs would say things like ‘you know there’s no sound in space,’” Lucas said in 1977. “I just wanted to forget science.” In space, everyone can hear you go pew pew.
Of course, the influence Lucas had on pop-culture, science fiction movies (Aliens, Blade Runner, James Cameron, Tron, etc), and special effects is immense. “Alien is to Star Wars what the Rolling Stones were to The Beatles.” It’s fascinating how this one man had an idea, turned it into a vast collaborative empire, and made himself a billionaire through his creativity and ambition.
The first chapters are a bit difficult to get through because the author really steps far back in time and away from the movies to give backstory. But plow your way through it to reach the stuff you really want to read about.
This is detail on the level of what J.W. Rinzler puts into his "Making of" books about the original trilogy.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
...where is the music?? Taylor gives only cursory acknowledgement to John Williams' music which seems odd as the general theme of the book is the cultural impact SW has had and the impact of the music has been enormous, with Williams' SW score virtually re-inventing symphonic film music. SW is recognisable all over the planet by its music and I think it deserves more prominence here. Try thinking of SW without hearing the main theme or the Imperial Death March, or the force theme in your head, it's impossible. My all time favourite... the love theme playing over the final scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars is the music and the music is Star Wars...
I loved reading all the facts about stories about all of the people involved. Every little anecdote and name-drop gave me an excitable little thrill; don't read this book in public if you don't want people to stare at your foolishly grinning face. So many wonderful, creative minds behind these films that I love so much, but lots of moments where you see how it could have gone another way, which of course gives another little thrill of excitement.
The highlight of the book for me is Taylor's careful description of the first reel of A New Hope, the first ten minutes of the film. As he describes how each minute beautifully creates the universe of Star Wars and establishes what is to come, you experience it as if you're watching again for the first time.
The one criticism I have is that the book ends at the wrong time. Clearly Taylor wanted to get it out in time to coincide with Force Awakens, so he ends with a tense description of the teaser for the movie and people's reactions to it. It would have been better I think, made the whole thing come full circle in a more satisfying way, if he had ended with himself queueing outside the cinema to see the movie. Those last few months of anticipation feel as if they're missing.
Having said that, if you love Star Wars buy this book. Or buy it for someone who does. You won't regret it. The force is strong with this one...
1,2and 3 did not enhance the legend of 4,5 and 6 , but with the new Disney financed films ,now back on song .
This is from an from someone who was 22 when the original films came out. Brilliant to introduce my 2 boys now men to these legendary films.
Lucas will never be considered in the same group as Spielberg, Coppola, Scott, Nolan, Jackson, Eastwood, etc in my view but hey he did give us Darth Vader and Indiana Jones.
The tone of the book is very easy to dip in and out of or to get immersed in if you have more time.
Highly recommended for the Star Wars fan in your life as a Christmas present or just a "Happy Tuesday" gift if you're feeling kind. There's a very good chance they'll be very grateful either way.