From the Inside Flap
Not so long ago, in our very own galaxy, George Lucas created the most successful and acclaimed film series of all time. The Star Wars saga transports us to exotic new worlds and the farthest reaches of space, where humans and hundreds of alien species fight for their freedom against the immensely powerful and heartless Galactic Empire. Star Wars delivers all of the ingredients that delight moviegoers—but another, less obvious, ingredient makes the stories both extremely compelling and, at times, oddly familiar: history.
From Ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire to the French Revolution and the Vietnam War, Star Wars and History explores the major turning points, heroes, and villains in human history that inspired the stories, cultures, and characters of the Star Wars galaxy. Written in close collaboration with George Lucas, Star Wars and History is the first book devoted to analyzing the actual historical events in our past that influenced the creation of his space fantasy saga.
This fascinating book reveals how Princess Leia's leadership in the Rebel Alliance parallels the daring work of intrepid women in the French Resistance during World War II and the Mexican Revolution, as well as the astounding exploits of Joan of Arc. It also points out historical connections between the Jedi Code and Bushido, along with distinct similarities between Jedi culture and those of the Knights Templar and other warrior monks.
Have you ever wondered whether the rebellion against the Empire bears any resemblance to the American Revolution or the Vietnam War? Has it occurred to you that such characters as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Emperor Palpatine, and other Star Wars favorites might have been inspired by actual historical figures? Could the Death Star be the ultimate extension of nuclear weapons?
You will also read about how our own civilization's civil wars, slavery, corporate empire-building, and teenage queens were transformed into epic Star Wars history, and you'll discover how Tatooine reflects the lawless seaports of the past and Coruscant embodies our more recent history of glittering, greedy capitalism.
Packed with stunning photos from the Lucasfilm Archives as well as historical illustrations and photos that demonstrate the parallels between film and historical reality, Star Wars and History is the perfect companion for Star Wars fans, history buffs, and anyone who wants to get the most out of every film in the Star Wars saga.
From the Back Cover
A fascinating tour through the true history that underlies the storyline of the Star Wars saga
"A timely, insightful collection that honors Star Wars fandom by acknowledging its intelligence. Even readers who've always assumed history is a dull, stale subject will be captivated by these scholarly meditations upon the links between our world and a galaxy far, far away . . ."
—Dr. Andrea Cremer, author of the New York Times bestselling Nightshade series
"A brilliant illumination of how the remembrance of things past shapes the popular representation of the future. This top-notch cast of scholars embarks on this mind-bending mission with all the requisite wit, erudition and, yes, courage."
—Dr. Mark C. Carnes, Professor of History, Barnard College, Columbia University, and author of Past Imperfect: History According to the Movies
"This is the way to become fascinated with history. Discover current analyses of major events and trends from the Roman and Meiji Empires to Vietnam and modern urban culture through the intergalactic adventures of queens, princesses, Ewoks, the Sith, and their heroic rivals, the Jedi Knights."
—Dr. Judith P. Zinsser, Professor Emerita of History, Miami University, Ohio
"Star Wars has been so successful precisely because it has spoken to myths, legends, and, above all, historical episodes and types familiar to its fans. The well-written and highly readable chapters cover everything from political intrigue and the role of women as leaders, to the ability of rebels to achieve victory against overwhelming odds, and the capacity of an individual to ride the forces of history—or in this case, the Force—to success."
—Dr. Daniel Woolf, Professor of History, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada
"Attention, Jedi warriors! The thrill lives on through this fascinating volume, packed with highly imaginative and distinguished scholarship, and boasting rareaccess to the filmmakers. Highly readable and richly illustrated, Star Wars and History will deepen the enjoyment of fans—and bring startling illumination to students of popular culture."
—Dr. Belinda Davis, Professor of History and Vice Chair for Graduate Education, Rutgers University
"Star Wars fans will love the way this book connects events in our world to those that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. History geeks will love the way this book makes the patterns of real-world history visible in the Star Wars universe, too. For those of us who are both, I can't imagine a more satisfying read. And as a history teacher, I can see how useful this book will be in supplementing more standard texts in world history classes."
—Dr. Anne Rubenstein, Associate Professor of History, York University, United Kingdom
"Star Wars and History isn't only a nod to the old adage 'history repeats itself'; rather, by examining such themes as political power and rebellion, diplomacy, slavery and civil rights, and more, this book reminds us that historical people and events have influenced how George Lucas fashioned those moments and how much Star Wars in turn has informed our understanding of these universal themes."
—Dr. Erica L. Fraser, Assistant Professor of History and Historic Preservation, Goucher College
"Crafted by diehard Star Wars fans with deep historical expertise, this book not only teases out the Nazi and Imperial Roman imagery of the Empire, but also draws out startling parallels between Jabba the Hutt's machinations and early modern pirates on the South China Seas. The dramatic historical images and film stills enhance nearly every page, and help readers see a beloved film epic in a whole new light."
—Dr. Krista O'Donnell, Associate Professor of History, William Paterson University
"This collection of engaging essays reveals the many historical models that inspired the culture and histories contained in the Star Wars galaxy. The similarities between Palpatine's seizure of power and the rise of Adolf Hitler are laid out in convincing detail, and the visual historical influences—shown in side-by-side images—are chilling."
—Dr. Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History, New York University, and author of Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany