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Star Wars: Battles That Changed The Galaxy and Star Wars: Year By Year: A Visual History- New Edition Book Reviews

Two new Star Wars books from DK.

For those interested in the Wars part of Star Wars, “Star Wars: Battles That Changed The Galaxy” has you covered. Authors Jason Fry, Cole Horton, Chris Kempshall and Amy Ratcliffe cover battles from all 11 films. I’m also happy to report the book also includes battles from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Star Wars Rebels,” “Star Wars Resistance,” “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” along with comics and video games. The book is divided into 4 eras- Battle of the Republic, Rebellion, Galactic Civil War and First Order-Resistance War. Each era is accompanied by an intro with a galaxy map, timeline, and a brief summary of each conflict. Each battle (such Battle of Mon Cala, Battle of Hoth, Battle of Endor to name a few) include a date, location, combatants, outcome, movie or series stills, key combatants or weapons, commanders, an overview of the battle, casualties, and sometimes a spotlight on artillery or key moments. Maps for certains locations (an example being Jakku) are also included throughout. Expect to see side sections about such topics as hyperspace, armies, spies, military uniforms and so forth. I don’t want to spoil everything!

“Star Wars: Battles That Changed The Galaxy” has something for everyone. If you’re only familiar with the films, you’ll learn a lot about the battles that took place in other parts of canon such as the Cymoon 1 battle or the Malastar-Zillo beast Incident. If you’re caught up on everything Star Wars, there’s not a lot of new material here. However, the book still serves as a wonderful reference guide. Not only do you get succinct descriptions and details about each battle, but I was particularly fond of seeing maps of where the battles took place in a certain section of space along with handy dandy timelines of the eras. Naturally, the bigger the battle the more pages they get (such as the Battle of Scarif from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”), but even smaller battles get their own page or pages.

Note: This book includes a foreword by ILM Visual Effect Supervisor Roger Guyett.

“Star Wars: Year By Year: A Visual History- New Edition” covers a timeline of events from before “Star Wars” was released in 1977 to this year (2021). Before the release of “Star Wars,” we learn about the life of George Lucas along with his passions, inspirations, friends and collaborators such as Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola. Lucas and Star Wars aren’t the only thing touched upon here as ‘Year’ also covers big moments in history and pop culture. Granted, most of them have some sort of tie-in with Lucas, SW, or sci-fi ala Disneyland’s opening, the moon landing, and the premieres of pivotal movies like “2001: A Space Odyssey.” As 1977 approaches, the content begins to focus more on SW pre-production (treatments, concept art, etc.). Once 1977 hits, we see what SW centric releases come out on a yearly basis be it movies, comics, books, merchandise, video games, conventions, and home video releases. SW references, the passing of cast and crew members, other Lucas productions like the Indiana Jones franchise are also touched upon. Each year is accompanied by photos and captions and blurbs of each listing. The book concludes with an index, credits and acknowledgments.

Now this is a cool hardcover book. As someone that grew up on Star Wars at a young age, it’s hard not to get emotional pouring over these pages. Each page brought a flood of memories of all the Star Wars stuff I watched, read or played along with historical moments and other movies I treasure (“Sky Captain And The World Tomorrow” represent!). It’s very much a time capsule of life experiences to an extent as the time spanned here traces through childhood and adulthood. You can’t help but get nostalgic thinking about the buildup to “Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace,” the “Shadows of the Empire” multi-media event and the moment Star Wars returned with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

In addition to all the memories, I learned a ton of facts I never knew before such as “Grease” director Randal Kleiser being George Lucas’s college roommate, Mark Hamill doing “The Elephant Man” on Broadway, the first convention exclusive action figure at Jedi-Con in 2001, and the Star Tours milk. It’s a blast to see things one may have missed over the years and it’s equally pleasing to see obscure little moments like #HotKallus being mentioned. The book really does cover so much SW history to an almost overwhelming degree. That’s why it’s so rewarding.

December 5, 2021 - Posted by | Book review | , , , ,

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