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Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind "Star Trek"
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Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind "Star Trek"

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  68 ratings  ·  13 reviews
A no-holds-barred look at the complex and driven visionary who created Star Trek gives a backstage portrait based on inside sources that reveals the whole man, alcoholic, self-promoting, womanizing, yet intensely creative.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Hyperion (first published June 1st 1994)
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Carol Storm
Apr 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The other day someone literally dumped this at our public library so I brought it home and read it. I'm so glad I did!

This is the true story of STAR TREK creator Gene Roddenberry, and it's brutal. Not only was he a drunken lecher who exploited and demeaned women, (both in his imaginary worlds and in real life) but he was a mediocre writer who tended to steal ideas from comrades and pass them off as his own. In Star Trek terms, he was like a trailer park version of James T. Kirk, liberally mixed
Don Incognito
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
If I recall, I learned about this book on, the Star Dreck geeks' vanity library; and I eventually determined to read it. It provided a plethora of evidence and support for the conclusions I (an ex-Star Dreck fan who left fandom eighteen years ago) had already started to draw in the last few years about Gene Roddenberry: that several key parts of the mythology promulgated by Roddenberry surrounding his creation of the original Star Dreck are untrue or heavily distorted; and ...more
Dank Wit
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Yeah, G-rod was an asshole. After reading the oral histories earlier this year this was quite evident; reading this so soon afterwards was about as redundant as reading two books that at least partially focused on Warren Beatty after getting the gist of the story from Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. Was hoping for more quotables like Tracy Torme's "waves and waves" anecdote on pages 245-246 to disillusion fellow adult trekkies with, but considering how toxic working with roddenberry almost universall ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies, sci-fy
I am between 4 and 4.5. I will start off with stating that this is my 2nd Gene Roddenberry (GR) biography, the first was an authorized one. I wanted to give this information, so that you may understand that I come at this book review with a foundation and might compare previous works with this one.

With this stated, Joel Engel's book was a complete 180 from the other book. "Over the years a lot of people have swallowed the line that GR was the sole creator of Star Trek...GR's real accomplishments
Clint Hall
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I was real young and Star Trek TNG was the greatest show on television, I have to admit, I believed all the hype about the man. Roddenberry was the one and only person who changed television history by solely creating the greatest television franchise of all time; as a Star Trek fan in the '90s, this was fact. But I've been around the block a bit in the past 30 years, and know that there is a certain type of personality--almost Trump-like--that exists at the apex of successful businesses. G ...more
Aug 26, 2014 added it
Shelves: biography
In the 1970s, Star Trek fans were unwilling to see Star Trek as just a television show and Gene Roddenberry as just a writer/producer. Instead, in their eyes, Star Trek was a wondrous template for humanity's future, and Roddenberry was the bold, creative visionary who fought tooth and nail to get his ideas to the screen for the benefit of everyone.

This view persists somewhat today; it's not hard to find material referring to Roddenberry's vision for the future and so forth.

The truth about Rodd
Jul 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
This book is myth busting. If you are of the mind that Gene Roddenberry was a genius saint who created several fantasic shows and movies, don't read this book. If you want the truth, then read this book with caution. Some things in this book I belive may have been slanted to the authors opinion, but it does not gush either as many fan books might. The facts on how StarTrek made it's way to the airwaves and big screen are all here, with a few bio-facts thrown in. I thought it was a good book, but ...more
Todd R
Jul 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: inspired
I enjoyed the book overall. It gives the impression that Star Trek was never really the sole creation of Gene, but a landscape molded by many hands despite Gene's inept over management.
The author paints a pretty gross picture of Gene, and its difficult to know where sensationalism ends and truth begins. None of us live lives of perfection and I tend to think that Engel's thesis was fairly well conceived before pen hit paper.
Sep 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Sadly eye opening but it makes me appreciate Leonard Nimoy all the more. It's important to remember that no one is infallible. Considering writers like Moffat and Gatiss who have shows with cult followings, but harsh comments from a group of fans who highlight their shortcomings, I wonder what it would be like if Star Trek had premiered in today's world of the Internet. ...more
Roger Buck
Aug 07, 2014 rated it did not like it
Horrible, mean-spirited character assassination.

I read it in my youth, because I felt haunted, just haunted by the SOUL of Gene Roddenberry and those episodes which bore his name, particularly.

But o Gene, as I recall all this now writing from Ireland, I cannot help wonder what happened to your Irish forebears. What if … If only …
Katya Epstein
A fun read, though kind of horrifying: Roddenberry comes across as a royal prick. Engel's few efforts to see things from Roddenberry's point of view come across as condescending. Particularly offensive and simplistic was Engel's attribution of Roddenberry's weaknesses to his atheism. ...more
Pierre A Renaud
To keep in mind before reading: and David Gerrold's letter about Roddenberry, Engel and Alexander ...more
I picked this book up on a whim, not being a total die-hard fan. I was surprised most by what it revealed about practices in the television industry, and the unsavory behaviors of Roddenberry.
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Joel Engel authored or co-authored more than 15 books (including a New York Times bestseller)—narrative nonfiction, essays, sports, satire, pop culture, biography, and autobiography. As a journalist for the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among other papers and periodicals, Engel reported on everything from politics to hot-air ballooning, pregnancy to cancer research, pop culture to business ...more

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