The Secret History of Star Wars by Michael Kaminski is a non-fiction book chronicling the creative process behind the six-movie saga. This is a well-researched, well-written and interesting book not only for Star Wars fans, but anyone who is interested in the creative process.
The book is divided into eight chapters which help the reader understand director George Lucas. The story starts from Lucas’s humble beginnings in Modesto, California, introducing us to his family and start in the filmmaking business. The book then goes to analyze each of the Star Wars films and the creative process (not the technicalities of movie making) which created the much beloved stories and characters.
At the end there are eight appendices which make as interesting reading as the main part of the book. They, however, are not concerned as much with the creative process, but are still worth reading to the curious fan.
The Secret History of Star Wars is a rare breed: a readable, dense page-turner, an easy to follow non-fiction book. Mr. Kaminski writes about the expanding universe of Star Wars from the beginning, ignoring all the marketing and publicity propaganda which fans have been fed over the years.
I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, but I like the movies (even though I’ve seen better), love the stories (even though I've heard better), but I think that the imagination and creativity behind the saga are second to none. I’ve recently been reintroduced to the movies lately because my son (5) has gotten into the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series and simply had to see where it all began. To be honest, I like the animated series much better than the material that spawned the program.
The process of making movies has always fascinated me, if I had any inkling of talent doing anything which might resemble “art” (painting, writing, photography, etc.) I would have loved to join the industry. Of course from my understanding a thick skin is also useful, as well as being able to be in the same room/building/town/state with the likes of Ari Gold. But I digress.
This amazing book follows the George Lucas’ creative process used to create a generational saga which spans decades, families, and universes. The glimpse into the mind’s eye of George Lucas is already worth the price of admission.
That being said, the book is not only long, but dense. That doesn’t mean it is uninteresting--quite the opposite--but it is not a fast read, albeit an easy one. The narrative flows and the author must have been aware of the density during the time the book was written, reminding the reader every now and then about aspects which have already been covered previously. I found this aspect of the book to be helpful especially to someone like me who is not very familiar, but not intimately familiar, with the Star Wars universe.