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on July 6, 2003
I thumbed through this book in a bookstore and by the time I got home, I realized I had to own it and I was online ordering my own copy. This book is more than just a rehash of the first two seasons. We are treated to a real behind-the-scenes tour of what goes into filming the show. Talk about your West Wing trivia!
The asides from the actors on the characters they play are filled with gems of inside information. For instance, what do Brad Whitford and Janel Moloney think the roles of Josh and Donna are all about; how does Martin Sheen get the cast to treat him like the President and why is this adulation so important; and why is Allison Janney everyone's favorite? We are treated to a tour of the West Wing to fully understand the layout of the staff's offices and the dynamics of the characters in relationship to each other. Then, the decorations in the offices are explained, and nothing is so minor to be included by chance.
Sorkin claims he doesn't have a political agenda. He asks his staff to write a pro-con memo on each episode, and he is most comfortable when two people disagree. If the points are good, he incorporates them into the show's dialogue. You have to be a West Wing fan, and a pretty serious one at that, to fully appreciate this Official Companion, which brings to light the fine points of all that went into creating the first two seasons of this amazingly written and performed show.
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HALL OF FAMEon April 21, 2003
I know that there is a collection of scripts from the first two season of "The West Wing," including the the Emmy Award-winning episode "In Excelsis Deo," but that only offers up a half dozen scripts. This volume is "The Official Companion" to the television series created by Aaron Sorkin and covers the first two seasons of the series in a rather interesting way. Each episode is given, on average, six pages, in which the episode is described in narrative format with choices quotations and exchanges of dialogue included. I have to admit I like this approach, because it saves fans of the show from going through dozens of pages of scripts to find their favorites lines (e.g., Sam's "This is bad on so many levels" from the Pilot episode).

These 44 episode summaries are enhanced in various ways throughout this volume. There are comments from Sorkin, the cast, and even a few real former West Wing staffers highlighted in the margins, usually talking specifically about the scene they appear next to on the page. You will also find references to alternate scenes that students of the show will find fascinating. There are even footnotes: Barlet might spare his senior staff list listing all fourteen of the punctuation marks in standard English grammar, but here they get named (along with the point that Toby only knew the last seven in the list). In between episodes at various points in the volume you will find profiles of the eight principle actors and insights into the show's creation and a photo tour of the West Wing. Consequently, "The West Wing" provides both a walk down memory lane and insights into the stories, characters, and actors.
"The West Wing" is a show where having all the scripts available in print might be a good thing, but it is not likely to happen. It took six volumes to put into print all of the scripts from the first two seasons of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and that was with 10 less episodes than on "The West Wing." The series will probably end up in syndication on cable channels for eternity so we might never get it released on DVD either. A series of volumes covering all of the episodes in this manner, printed in two season increments, would be an acceptable substitute.
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on January 4, 2002
They say that one should read the book first, then see the movie. Well, this time its the book that's living up to the show. This book is absolutely phenomenal. There are indepth recaps for each episode of Season 1 and 2. Highlights on each of the regular actors and some behind the scenes info, including a "tour" of the White House. Although I've seen each of these episodes more than once I enjoyed reading the recaps, I even found some scenes even more humurous and/or touching by reading them rather than watching them. The quotes from the Actors, Consultants, Aaron Sorkin, Tommy Schlamme, John Wells and Lewellyn Wells are fantastic - they give a great insight into the behind the scense of the show and how they feel about working with each other. The pictures are phenomenal too - there are many of them, some of onscreen footage others off screen, and not just the NBC/WB promo pictures either. I can't recommend this book enough. Its a definitely must have for all who enjoy the show.
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on January 3, 2002
I can not recommend enough that fans get a copy of this book! After reading 'Inside the West Wing', I was a little skeptical about getting this book. I didn't want to get another book that said the same thing.
BUT OH, MY. This is such a great book! :) Absolutely filled to the brim with beautiful color pictures, interviews( original, not rehashed clips from previous interviews) with cast and crew, cast/character bios (great!), alternate/cut scenes, episode summaries (not half page summaries either. three or more pages that walk you through the episode and are fill up with quotes. Also, you can tell the person who wrote these summaries actually WATCHED the episodes!), a tour of the White House with GREAT pictures, and little facts not even the most die-hard fan knows!
There is so much in here! An alternate scene with POTUS and Donna that'll make you smile; a great quote from Emily Proctor that will make the Sam/Ainsley shippers out there cheer; banter between Richard and Allison that'll make you laugh out loud; John Spencer's take on his relationship with Margaret, and a million and one other things that'll you'll just have to see for yourself!
Get this book. I consider it a must have for any Wingnut!
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on January 3, 2002
Buy this book.
Buy two copies of this book, come to think of it; you'll want to cannibalize one just for the photographs.
This time they got it right. This is as flawless a book as Challen's monstrosity was dismal. Buy one for your friends. Buy one for every Wingnut you know. Buy one for people who never heard of the show, it'll hook 'em. The introduction (by Martin Sheen) is a superb lead-in and almost worth the price of admission in itself.

"The West Wing" is basically an episode guide to the first two seasons of the best show on television. It is a visual delight; glossy paper and a practically limitless supply of amazingly gorgeous photographs. Each episode is summarized -- *not* reviewed, but summarized -- with snippets of dialogue thrown in, and bits of interview with everyone from the Executive Producers to the Director of Photography to the recurring bit players to the costumer. Occasionally a synopsis of a scene that never made it into the final edit is supplied, and some of those are very surprising.
The other major piece of this book are features on each of the lead actors for the second season (Lowe, Hill, Janney, Moloney, Schiff, Spencer, Whitford, and Sheen) and their characters, with just enough new information to tantalize.
If we'd had this book last month I know a hundred thousand Christmases would have been happier.
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on January 11, 2002
This book is the long-awaited one in my opinion. With full color pictures, detailed info on each episode from the first two seasons, character bios and so much more. It is the one I had hoped for over a year ago. It is so much better than the poor attempt by Challen's book that came out earlier. Challen's book dealt too much on clickish fan clubs with webmasters hiding their identities under pseudonyms.
I couldn't agree more with one reviewer of this book! You will want more than one. One to cut and paste those wonderful pics and the other to preserve!
Amazon's price is so reasonable so it is definitely worth the price and in the long run will be worth so much more.
The authors of this book should be proud. What a great addition to anyone who enjoys the show!
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on August 28, 2011
This book is a wonderful look back on the first two years of a most interesting and enjoyable series.

We bought the complete series of the seven years of West Wing on DVD and over the past 4 years, have watched it NINE TIMES !

I am sure that over the next few years we will read this book before we watch the series again and again.

Truly a wonderful find. Thank you Amazon and Awesome Books for your assistance in finding this treasure for our library.

Sincerely, Bunny and David Fraser
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on February 17, 2004
I have seen the "West Wing" books that feature scripts from selected episodes. But this book includes every episode from the first two seasons, told in story form. Plus chapters on each of the actors and their characters, the background on the making of the show -- if you're a fan, this is a "must have". I just hope that there will be, at some point, additional volumes to cover the third, fourth and fifth seasons -- and so on.
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on June 5, 2002
If you are in front of your tv every Wed. at 9 then either you have no life or are obsessed with the West Wing. Anyone who claims to be a West Wing fan must have this book. It is full of information that you may have missed or didn't even know. It covers the first and second I would hope that soon there will be a second volume...this book is a must have!!
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on December 27, 2002
This book is fantastic! It is beautifully set out and it has really clear pictures of the cast and the sets. I especially love the quotes that it has on each page from either the cast or crew. You learn a lot! It's also cool how they have a description of each episode intertwined with the best quotes. Really well done - I definitely recommend it!
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