You may know your Star Wars history, but do you know how events in the real world helped form the one you saw on the movie screen? Star Wars And History is an in-depth look at how George Lucas drew on real people and events from history to create one of the most beloved franchises of all time.
Authors Nancy R. Reagin and Janice Liedl bring both a scholarly and fan-based point of view to this book. Reagin is Professor of History and Women’s & Gender studies at Pace University while Liedl is Associate Professor of History at Laurentian University. Both combine that scholarly background with an interest and active participation in Star Wars fandom.
There’s a careful balance to be struck in a book that tries to tie historical fact to any aspect of fandom. I love Star Wars and am interested in history, so the two are intriguing together, but I have no interest in reading a textbook. Reagin and Liedl manage to blend the two so the information never becomes dry or dull.
They show how the Death Star was inspired by atomic and hydrogen bombs and how the Jedi are modelled after the Templar Knights in a way that’s informative and entertaining. You do not need to be a historical scholar to find these connections interesting and will be drawn into the myriad examples of Star Wars history coming from our own.
Interspersed with the stories and parallels between science fiction and real history are dozens of images that reinforce the ideas presented within the book. There are full-color and black and white shots from the films mixed with pictures of real historical figures, painted portraits and images of wars and soldiers. You don’t just read about the parallels, you see them, too.
Fans of Star Wars will find this a fascinating read and may be surprised to learn just how much George Lucas drew from reality to craft his galaxy far, far away. Star Wars And History ($29.95) is now available in hardcover.
I received this book for review purposes.