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Beyond Uhura

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  525 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
For nearly 30 years, Nichelle Nichols has been a part of the Star Trek mythos: Lieutenant Uhura, communications officer of the starship Enterprise, the first African-American woman to have a major continuing role in television. Now Nichols, with her candid and insightful autobiography, takes readers where no book has gone before. 40 photos.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published 1994 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
The lovely Nichelle Nichols is one of my idols, since I was a kid.



I grew up on watching reruns of Star Trek and then of course going to see all the Star Trek movies. I wanted to be her. How cool was she... VERY! I absolutely loved this book and am now purchasing it to have my own copy. :)
Wendy
This is an excellent example of fame going to a person's head, making them feel as though they are more intelligent than they actually are. Ms. Nichols gives off the unfortunate (and hopefully unintentional) impression that she thinks she is always right and always in the right, except perhaps where her relationship with her mother and her romantic relationships are concerned. She doesn't recount experiences where she was wrong, or even where she was embarrassed, unless she was embarrassed becau ...more
Sue
Sep 24, 2012 rated it liked it
While I agree with Wendy's review somewhat - mostly that this book is self-indulgent, disjointed, and maybe even egotistical - I feel those issues arise in many autobiographies, especially from people in the entertainment industry. You have to know what you're getting into. I decided to pick this up after seeing Ms. Nichols relate some of her stories at Dragon*Con 2012, and there can be no argument that she and Uhura have been great inspirations to people of many races, genders, and generations. ...more
Bev
In Beyond Uhura, Nichelle Nichols tells her story from the beginnings growing up in a socially progressive family through her teen years as a young singer/dancer who had already been praised by Josephine Baker and worked with Duke Ellington. She got her first job at the age of fourteen working in a cast at the Sherman House Hotel which portrayed many of the tremendous acts which had been staged at the Sherman House's College Inn supper club in the twenties: Fred and Adele Astaire, Duke Ellington ...more
Lindsay Stares
Mar 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an awesome memoir.

The Trek stories were fun of course, but it was really the span of Nichols' career and interests that intrigued me most. She was often in the right place at the right time to meet important directors and performers, and it's always enjoyable to get new perspectives on important movements in theater and dance.

[Image] I feel a little silly saying it, but it is more affecting to have some stories told by someone you feel like you know – even if you only 'know' them from b
...more
Emily Saaen
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Trekkers
This one could have been named "The world revolves around ME". In this book Ms. Nichols comes across as a very self-indulgent person. Hard-working, no doubt, but too ideal and all winged-haloed, beautiful, faultless, fierce, independent, strong, loving, insert_anything_positive_here. Even when she speaks about someone else - it screams "Look, how good it is of ME to value this other person!" Probably, it's not her fault, but her editors and co-authors could have done a better job, should they tr ...more
Stephen Collins
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Uruha The famous Black kiss the woman who infused females to become top NASA scientists like other books from Star Trek stars this is lot more than just Trek
Unlike Bill who admitted he couldn't rember his time as Kirk all other stars could
Mel
I am very glad I read Nichelle Nichols' autobiography. She had me in tears so many times reading this. The amount of racism that she had to deal with was just staggering. I think most people who like Star Trek have heard her tell the story of how she was going to quit after the first season but Martin Luther King told her how important it was that she stay. Now she says that she was quiting because she wanted to return to musical theatre, or because her part was too small. But in the book it is ...more
Chibineko
My review is more from the memory of reading this book years ago than from any current readings. The short & sweet of this autobiography is that Nichelle writes about her life before, during, & after Star Trek. Rather than go the same route as other ST alumi, she tries her hardest to avoid badmouthing the Shatner (even though he makes it VERY hard for her to stay neutral) which she mostly succeeds at.

Miss Nichols has lead an amazing life. She not only starred in one of the most popular
...more
Mallory
Mar 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's face it, who doesn't love Nichelle Nichols? She's had an amazing career in entertainment, rubbed elbows with some of the most influential people of our time and she inspired millions of little girls to strive to get on to their own Enterprise, whatever it may be. I thought her book was brilliant and honest. As far as I'm concerned, she's royalty, Hollywood or otherwise.
Kerry
Apr 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a well-written story about a fascinating life. I think the most impressive thing about the book is the readability: it is absorbing and so positive. It is usually the negative that makes a good story, yet Ms. Nichols maintains her positive outlook throughout the book and still holds your attention. Well done!
Judy
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nichelle reveals the Hollywood shuffle game and tells us of conservative suits behind the scenes.
Star Trek- big ideas, big egos, and big legends...
AJ
This was an overall adequate autobiography. I love Star Trek, but must admit that the first series is a bit too dated for me. I grew up with TNG, DS9 and Voyager and those are my true loves. However, I have always been interested in and root for women who go against the grain, and Nichelle Nichols is one of those women. Obviously not being alive at the time of TOS, it is hard for me to appreciate just how big of a deal it was to have a character like Uhura on a TV show, so maybe one of her great ...more
Peter Hofstra
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the behind the scenes on Star Trek. I read one review where they found her biography to be very self-indulgent. I disagree. I think she gave us so much of who she is as Nichelle Nichols other than Uhura. Understanding that give me deeper insight into her love and affinity for Star Trek, and for the enduring power of the Star Trek universe.
Two things I did not know, one was a relationship with Gene Roddenberry, The other far more personally intriguing was her conversation with Martin Luther
...more
Nicole
Nichelle Nichols did it her way and is still doing it her way. Head strong as a child, she made decisions fully aware that she was ready for whatever consequences came from those decisions. From her "freedom" marriage while already pregnant to man many years her senior to her fateful meeting and romance with Gene Roddenberry (the Great Bird of the Galaxy) to always keeping music and dance in her life in some form even when doing contracted work with NASA, Nichols was more than what most know abo ...more
Michael Burhans
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs-bios
This was a fun book for me. Ms Nichols has been someone I have loved since I was a child. My ideal of what a woman should be contains a lot of her, smart, powerful, kind, creative, and always classy.

While there was a lot about Star Trek and those in it as one would expect, there was so much more too. A real insight into a young Black Actress trying to make it before and during the civil rights era and what she faced, and how she faced it. A sparkling wit drives the narrative and makes it fun
...more
Bj Hoover
Feb 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book written in 1994 is a really interesting autobiography of a talented intelligent woman. It not only gives us Trekkers real insight into the history and making of Star Trek, but a peek into the life of a black American woman coming into her own through very difficult times. If you do not have great admiration for Nichelle Nichols by the time you finish this book, you need to reread it with your heart.
Joseph
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book, well written and entertaining as well. Ms. Nichols has lead a fascinating life as a singer, an activist, a mother and of course acting on Star Trek. The behind the scenes from the series and films were fun and interesting, and admittedly my motivation for reading the book, but the story of her life was equally involving. An excellant read!
SouthWestZippy
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Nichelle Nichols is very open and honest about how she grew up, knew what she wanted and went after it. She is known for her role as Uhura on Star Trek but is so much more she is also a Singer, Dancer, educator, activist, futurist, friend and Mother.
The book at times does lose focus and becomes confusing but overall a four star book.
Thomas
I admire Nichelle Nichols for what she has done. She is an inspiration to many, and has done much on-screen and off to further our exploration beyond our atmosphere.

Her retelling of her life rings a bit hollow. She rarely has any lessons learned or shows herself in a poor light. Not that everyone has to have deep, dark secrets to reveal, but that where there would in most recounting a a moment of self-reflection and growth, she is already awesome and moving on. In addition, the bit at the end ab
...more
Emily Kimball
Apr 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Certainly one reason Star Trek drew so many young people, especially high school and college students, was that it addressed the problems they faced: the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights struggle, and the seemingly interminable Cold War. The fight for equal rights and protection still has a long way to go, but it's stunning to review some of the major events in recent history: the fall of the Communist bloc, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the free elections in South Africa. In 1968 no one eve ...more
Aletha
May 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book so much. I'm probably biased because I love Nichelle Nichols so much. Uhura was one of my first role models growing up. What is not to love about a woman surrounded by a bunch of men on the bridge of a Starship but still holds her own??

I had no idea what an amazing life she has had and how much work she did for NASA until I read this book.

For me the Star Trek memories were just an added bonus in this book. I am also glad she mentioned the "The thing's gotta have a tailpipe" li
...more
Joy
I normally don't read biographies but my cousin sent this in the mail.

I did not realize that Nichelle Nichols was originally a ballet dancer. The story of her early life is very interesting because it addresses the discrimination that blacks faced in that era and her failed marriage that left her a single mother. It was definitely a struggle for her until she landed the Star Trek role. Even then, the character of Uhura was never developed as much as she and Roddenberry wished because she was alw
...more
ScarlettMi
I picked this up as a young Trekkie on a mission to consume everything I could about Star Trek. This is one of the few books I picked up on those many trips to the book store that has really stayed with me ever since.

Nichelle Nichols led a fascinating life and she writes about it incredibly well.
Kate
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very refreshing! I mean that in that I often forget that Nichelle Nichols was the only female regular Star Trek cast member for the whole run. It was great to see her take on things as a woman and from the point of view of a woman of colour. She really was a trailblazer in all that she did, Star Trek and outside.
Lisa
Apr 25, 2008 rated it liked it
I've read all the original cast memoirs, and this one falls a little flat. It ocncentrates on Nichelle Nichols career after Star Trek -- spparently she had a bustling singing career, yet I never knew her as a singer at all. Interesting but after the hundredth diatribe about such and such concert --- that's about all there seems to have been.
Sara
LOVE.

I cried like four times reading this. Also I adored that it wasn't 90% Star Trek, but was instead 90% all of the other super interesting and important things Nichols has done. The whole end section about her work with NASA was fantastic.

Her Star Trek section was great, too, much more about the social impact of the show and the behind-the-scenes prank wars of the set.
Virginia Lee Boylan
This is a fascinating look into a world of which I have no experience. I have always found it hard to understand the way society segregates people based solely on their skin color. Nichols is a pioneer is so many ways, and we are all richer for her talent and courage.
rivka
Sep 23, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: startrek, non-fiction
Like any autobiography, some bias must be expected, and certain things should be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, an amusing and interesting look at the life of the actress who brought us Nyota Uhura.
Michelle
May 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really interesting book. Glad I read it. I just heard that George Takei was in Detroit this week - how cool!
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Nichelle Nichols (born Grace Nichols) is an American singer, actress, and voice actress. She sang with Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton before turning to acting. Her most famous role is that of communications officer Lieutenant Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise in the popular Star Trek television series, as well as the succeeding motion pictures, where her character was eventually promoted in Starf ...more
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“Some people view Gene as a man with a wild futuristic utopian fantasy, but that’s too simple. Star Trek did not promise that people would magically become inherently “better,” but that they would progress, always reaching for their highest potential and noblest goals, even if it took centuries of taking two steps forward and one step back. Ideally, humankind would be guided in its quest by reason and justice. The ultimate futility of armed conflict, terrorism, dictatorial rule, prejudice, disregard for the environment, and exercising power for its own sake was demonstrated time and again” 5 likes
“As I soon learned, this was the dream to which Gene had alluded so often in the past. Interestingly, though he’d said many times before that there might be something in this for me, that day I won a part that had yet to be created. It was only after I’d been brought on board, and Gene and I conceived and created her, that Uhura was born. Many times through the years I’ve referred to Uhura as my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter of the twenty-third century. Gene and I agreed that she would be a citizen of the United States of Africa. And her name, Uhura, is derived from Uhuru, which is Swahili for “freedom.” According to the “biography” Gene and I developed for my character, Uhura was far more than an intergalactic telephone operator. As head of Communications, she commanded a corps of largely unseen communications technicians, linguists, and other specialists who worked in the bowels of the Enterprise, in the “comm-center.” A linguistics scholar and a top graduate of Starfleet Academy, she was a protégée of Mr. Spock, whom she admired for his daring, his intelligence, his stoicism, and especially his logic. We even had outlined exactly where Uhura had grown up, who her parents were, and why she had been chosen over other candidates for the Enterprise’s five-year mission.” 0 likes
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