Is too much of a good thing bad? Not when it’s Star Trek.



The oral history of the Star Trek franchise boldly continues.

Writer and producer Altman and Gross (Voices from Krypton: Superman on Film and in Comics, 2015, etc.), who did a terrific job in their first volume, have once again meticulously selected and chronologically arranged a massive number of comments from more than 200 people involved in the TV shows and movies. This book takes us through the many iterations of Star Trek since The Next Generation premiered in 1987. When Gene Roddenberry was approached to do it, “I turned them down….I really feared doing it until I got angry enough to try.” When producer Robert Justman said he wanted Patrick Stewart to play the captain, Roddenberry responded, “Jesus Christ, Bob, I don’t want a bald man.” He later changed his mind and was glad he did; as Justman noted, Stewart was everything “a captain ought to be.” The tenth ST movie, Nemesis, with The Next Generation crew, was a huge failure. Actress Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) said director Stuart Baird “was an idiot.” There was trepidation about ever trying a ST movie again, but J.J. Abrams, who was not a huge ST fan in the beginning, was approached to do another film. His thinking was, “you would have to do it in such a way that it would bring it to life in a way that never had been done before.” He felt the characters of Kirk and Spock were the keys: get them right and it could work. It did. His second try, Into Darkness, went “further than the first movie in every way.” Trekkies’ appetite for all things ST will be sated this summer with Star Trek: Beyond, directed by Justin Lin (The Fast and the Furious). Actor Chris Pine (Kirk) says it’s a “close-up look” at the crew. A new TV series launches in 2017.

Is too much of a good thing bad? Not when it’s Star Trek.

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-08946-5

Page Count: 864

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

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The former first lady opens up about her early life, her journey to the White House, and the eight history-making years that followed.

It’s not surprising that Obama grew up a rambunctious kid with a stubborn streak and an “I’ll show you” attitude. After all, it takes a special kind of moxie to survive being the first African-American FLOTUS—and not only survive, but thrive. For eight years, we witnessed the adversity the first family had to face, and now we get to read what it was really like growing up in a working-class family on Chicago’s South Side and ending up at the world’s most famous address. As the author amply shows, her can-do attitude was daunted at times by racism, leaving her wondering if she was good enough. Nevertheless, she persisted, graduating from Chicago’s first magnet high school, Princeton, and Harvard Law School, and pursuing careers in law and the nonprofit world. With her characteristic candor and dry wit, she recounts the story of her fateful meeting with her future husband. Once they were officially a couple, her feelings for him turned into a “toppling blast of lust, gratitude, fulfillment, wonder.” But for someone with a “natural resistance to chaos,” being the wife of an ambitious politician was no small feat, and becoming a mother along the way added another layer of complexity. Throw a presidential campaign into the mix, and even the most assured woman could begin to crack under the pressure. Later, adjusting to life in the White House was a formidable challenge for the self-described “control freak”—not to mention the difficulty of sparing their daughters the ugly side of politics and preserving their privacy as much as possible. Through it all, Obama remained determined to serve with grace and help others through initiatives like the White House garden and her campaign to fight childhood obesity. And even though she deems herself “not a political person,” she shares frank thoughts about the 2016 election.

An engrossing memoir as well as a lively treatise on what extraordinary grace under extraordinary pressure looks like.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6313-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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