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The Secret History of Star Wars Paperback – November 18, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael Kaminski lives and works in Toronto as a camera technician in the film and television industry. A graduate of Vancouver Film School, he is a member of the International Cinematographers Guild. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 626 pages
  • Publisher: Legacy Books Press; First edition edition (November 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978465237
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978465230
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Bongiorno on December 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Kaminsky's rock-solid work unquestionably belongs alongside Rinzler's The Making of Star Wars, as both a companion piece and an in-depth exploration of the creation of the six-film saga, as it actually unfolded.

The very point of this book is to cut through all the marketing, publicity and years of contravention to show the expanding genesis of the Star Wars story from the original drafts to the "Star Wars" standalone film that was "from the Adventures of Luke Skywalker" to the mythically deeper "Star Wars Trilogy: Episodes IV to VI" to the thematic reconstruction of the "Star Wars Saga: The Tragedy of Darth Vader: Episodes I to VI".

In so doing, author Michael Kaminsky provides not only reasonable deductive examinations, but actual facts via published interviews that go back to the earliest sources and the circumstances surrounding the creation of each film, demonstrating in full how important story elements came to be. And how others were dropped. We see how Lucas' personal life impacted and was impacted by the making of the films (Particularly sad is Lucas' obsession with the construction of Skywalker Ranch that not only hampered the creative integrity of Return of the Jedi, but cost him his wife and half his fortune).

Beyond the fascinating unveiling of the true story behind the development of Darth Vader from a mere mustachio-twirling henchman to the greatest villain in movie history to the tragic figure that emerged in Revenge of the Sith, The Secret History of Star Wars is a chronicle of the genius and imperfection of George Lucas. In this, the author remains ever impartial, never stooping to fanboyish complaining, but neither sugarcoating less pleasant facts.
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Format: Paperback
The Secret History of Star Wars qualifies as a truely groundbreaking study of the Star Wars franchise as a storytelling process in history. The author (Michael Kaminski) has examined a vast, vast sum of archival, obscure and well known sources, read through every single screenplay draft and little personal note Lucas made, and arrived with this exhaustive survey of how little Georgie Lucas stumbled into the film history in the late 1960s and eventually decided to make an adaptation of Flash Gordon--and how that eventually turned into 1977's Star Wars, and how the story of that film was expanded, twisted upside down, and eventually given back to us thirty years and six films later as the six-episode Star Wars Saga of our present times.

As far as I know, this is the first work to not only treat the franchise seriously from the standpoint of scholastic analysis and independent historical overview, but it also might be the first work to consider the films as both the six-episode "Saga" that was only recently completed as well as the various intermidiaries as it went through the process of transforming from Star Wars, The Movie to The Star Wars Trilogy. The book is absolutely loaded with info, much of it I hadn't known (and I consider myself well read on the series and its history). Most impressive is its challenge of the many "myths" surrounding the series--it seems everything about this franchise gets written by Lucasfilm itself and just repeats about how Star Wars was the "little engine that could" and that Lucas had brilliantly schemed up the entire plot to the series in the 1970s. The truth is much more complicated--and interesting!
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Format: Paperback
I found "The Secret History of Star Wars" to be a very fascinating read, however, I had to knock 2 stars off of the review because it appears that this book was never seen by an editor. The book could easily have been about 1/4 or 1/3 the size, because Kaminski makes his points over and over and over and over and over again, often times using the exact same words and, at times, inside of the exact same paragraph. It seems that Kaminski doesn't think his readers are going to be able to grasp his concepts by just telling you once. And that's sad because the points he makes and the theories he has are quite interesting, but I found myself dying to get to the next chapter because I couldn't take the repetitiveness. So, I definitely suggest this book for Star Wars fans, but be prepared to jump ahead to the next chapter once you realize that he's already made his point for this chapter and isn't going to add any new information.
6 Comments 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
All I can really say is that if you're a fan of the saga and you can be objective about it, this is the book for you. The research is exhaustive and the data is all there, warts and all. The book is unauthorized but it's no hack job; basically the author presents all the available data and lets us draw our own conclusions. Authorized Star Wars books usually just talk about what a genius George Lucas is and rarely bring anything new to the table, but this one is chock full of info you'll never get from an authorized Star Wars book (because it actually dares to be critical now and then).

The Secret History of Star Wars is quite simply the most comprehensive work in regards to the Star Wars saga that's ever been written. It's a far, far cry from official books, which are pretty much just extended press releases for Lucasfilm. This book tells the whole story, the story that George Lucas only seems to like parts of (and the rest of which he just pretends doesn't exist).

Between this book and an authorized Star Wars book, there's really no contest. This one is the winner, hands down.
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