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Star Wars and History

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3.65  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  27 reviews
At last--an analysis of the historical patterns that influenced the creation and storyline of the "Star War"s saga. "Star Wars" took place long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but its epic stories are based on our own history. From Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire to the French Revolution and the Vietnam War, "Star Wars and History" explores the major historical turning p ...more
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Wiley (first published January 13th 2012)
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John Stinebaugh
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was enlightning and challenging at the same time. I feel like it was a good refresher for some moments in history and a good learning experience for many others. While some of the Star Wars connections are tenuous, and some of the information contained may not be entirely Star Wars accurate I still enjoyed it quite a bit. The only thing that could've been better with specific commentary from George Lucas himself one particular elements that influenced Star Wars.
Gaylin Walli
Dec 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love it when a book makes a serious effort to make pop culture accessible to historians and vice versa. Janice Liedl has done a fabulous job with Nancy Reagin to bring the geeky history of Star Wars into the geeky world of real history for obsessive readers like myself. Hats off to you both, ladies. This one goes on many a keeper shelf, I'm sure. I, for one, plan to use it as secret ammunition when I'm with my regular Star Wars roleplaying gamer friends.
Chris
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I think that this book does a good job of introducing the various themes found in Star Wars that directly connect and are alluded to history. It is fairly easy to read and not too history dense and it is also well sourced for someone interested in learning more. I would recommend this book to Star Wars fans everywhere.
Sesana
Jan 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: star-wars, nonfiction
There's some pretty interesting stuff in here.
Megan
May 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, star-wars
I was initially extremely excited to find this sitting on the New shelf at the local library. The publisher's description starts with, "At last--an analysis of the historical patterns that influenced the creation and storyline of the 'Star Wars' saga. 'Star Wars' took place long ago in a galaxy far, far away, but its epic stories are based on our own history." This is true, and "at last" is a pretty accurate summary of feelings; who hasn't wanted to explore the parallels between Star Wars and my ...more
Lindsey
Feb 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Because this is a multi-author compilation, it's probably best to review the sections individually:

**Chapter 1 was overly simplistic & tried to hard to make reality fit a metaphor. 2 stars.
**Chapter 2 was better. A few examples of women in war I didn't know of. 4 stars.
**Chapter 3 was the best chapter yet on warrior-monks. This was what I was expecting out of this book. 4.5 stars.
**Chapter 4 was an interesting comparison of Star Wars and the American Civil War. Authors stretch the point a bi
...more
Jason Tiearney
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2013
When I first heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. The concept combines two of my favorite things: Star Wars and History! Unfortunately, the book did not entirely live up to my expectations. I still enjoyed several of the articles, but my main criticism is that the book tried to do two very different things and did neither with great skill.

First, the book seemed to be channeling the coffee table book genre. Lots of pictures with articles to go along with them. Unfortunately, this faile
...more
Marcin
May 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, 2b-2bs, world
Every writer uses his own way of life, his views and knowledge when creating his worlds and his charactrs. Star Wars is no different... The whole saga resembles our history, though it is placed far far away. The heroines are not that dissimilar to humane history women of valor, the imperial rise and fall happened on Earth again and again. Heroes who stand to the overwhelming forces of evil power-holders were present in our history and in the Skywalker's galaxy chronologies. Rebels and their acti ...more
Alun Salt
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
A mixed bag. Tony Keen's chapter comparing the rise of Augustus with Napoleon, Hitler and Palpatine is sane as modern leaders have often explicitly presented themselves as the heirs to Rome, and Star Wars clearly has Roman influences. Crucially, because this isn't nailing a wafer thin metaphor to a historical idea, he's able to contrast as well as compare Star Wars to history.

There are some other good chapters Kevin S. Decker is also able to usefully find ancient parallels and differences. Lori
...more
Aaron
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of essays that take various aspects of the Star Wars universe and does a side-by-side comparison between various elements of our own history. This includes looks at slavery, revolutionaries, civil war, the leadership roles of women, economic organizations, piracy, cities, and religion. I thought each of the essays was well constructed providing a clear definition of the historical elements being presented so the reader gets a good understanding while being compared with simi ...more
Samanta
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
"The Star Wars saga may appear to be just entertainment - great storytelling, stunning visual effects, and terrific adventure on an epic scale. Yet the galaxy we see there also reflects humanity's real history of conflict and economic exploitation more than many fans may realize."
As a long time, shamelessly adoring fan of the said Saga, I find this an accurate description of what it means to me. I can spend hours talking about all the intricacies of this world and possible (conspiracy) theories
...more
Carolina
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
While the book could have used of more comparisons and I think it spend too much on the first chapter on drawing comparisons from the Vietnam War which granted Lucas has officially stated he did draw inspiration from (also WWII) for the Original Trilogy (IV,V,VI); and the American Revolution. The book excelled in drawing comparisons between the figures and the society George Lucas and others involved in the continuity of SW universe, have created to our own history and sometimes even to our own ...more
Diana
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
There are two things in life that I will always love: the first is history, mainly due to the fact that my grandfather was a history professor and let me read his books at a young age. My other deep abiding love is for Star Wars and its expanded universe, so imagine my delight when I discovered a book that combined the two of them.

Star Wars and History is a collection of essays focusing on different probable historical influences for things ranging from the Jedi Knights to women in rebellion to
...more
Aaron
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: history buffs, Star Wars fans
I wish there was a 2.5 star option. 2 stars just seems sort of low, because the history portions of this book are really good. And several of the chapters are better than others. Plus, what makes this book really good is that these are academics who are attempting to bring some history credibility to science fiction, which is really cool. Unfortunately, the parallels are mostly tenuous and the writing reflects that. There's a superficiality to the whole process. I suppose, if you're attempting t ...more
Michael Alexander Henke
This is a fun and interesting read. The book is a series of articles on varying subjects that show the parallels in world history and that of the Star Wars Universe. Articles with titles like; "I, Sidious: Historical Dictators and Senator Palpatine's Rise to Power", "Fear is the Path to the Dark Side: Nuclear Weapons and the Death Star", and "Part of the Rebel Alliance and a Traitor" Women in War and Resistance".
Some articles are better than others, I especially enjoyed the one which showed the
...more
Erika
An interesting look at the parallels between the Star Wars trilogies and events in world history. Each section is authored by a different expert, and while some of the connections seem legitimate (the Trade Federation as compared to the Dutch and English East India Companies, for one), a few seem to be stretching (Padme as Cleopatra).

All in all, it puts the series in new historical contexts, and could be useful as a means to spark interest in history among young Star Wars fans. The book never sa
...more
Killer of Dreams
This book had some interesting analogies and some dull and far fetched ones. The analogies of the Republic with earth governments was interesting to read while other chapters felt to general and thin. This book points out two topics in that 1) the Star Wars films borrowed a lot of Earth's history and 2) a myriad amount of analogies can be made between the Star Wars universe and Earth. He latter topic becomes redundant to read. Being a history buff, much of this book was dull and boring to read.
Evan Micheals
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Described themes from human history that might have inspired Star Wars. An interesting juxtaposition in the way these themes are played out time and again. It looks at disease, urban planning, international trade, smuggling, atomic weaponry, sexual slavery, general slavery, how a revolution occurs, dictatorship, spiritual warriors, amongst other topics.

Relatively light and entertaining, yet still informative.
Gerald Matzke
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting premise but became a bit dull after the first couple of chapters. Perhaps if I were more knowledgeable about all things Star Wars I would have appreciated it more. Every aspect of war is examined and then the authors show how those themes are incorporated into the Star Wars saga.
Derelict Space Sheep
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: star-wars
42 WORD REVIEW:

This collection of academic articles, ostensibly undertaken in close collaboration with George Lucas, purports to show the manner and extent to which Star Wars draws on real history. In truth it clutches at loose parallels, showing little or no evidence of causation.
Graham Tomlinson
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Found out a lot of interesting historical stuff and it had Star Wars too. A pretty good read
Scott Nelson
Ho-hum.
Kathie
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was ok
OK, love Star Wars, but the pairing with history was a bit too much. Interesting in places, but a big stretch in others. Could have been better done, in my opinion.
Dana
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
An excellent look at how the Star Wars universe parallels what has happened in our own history, a great way to learn more about our own history in the context of science fiction.
Kurt Olausen
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew that Emperor Palpatine was modeled after Richard Nixon?
Christa Maurice
Jul 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
How in heaven's name do you write a book about Star Wars and history and make it boring?
Phoebe Roach
rated it did not like it
Aug 01, 2015
Kassiah Waddell
rated it liked it
Jul 12, 2015
Lois
rated it liked it
Dec 20, 2016
Christopher Yépez
rated it liked it
Sep 04, 2016
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