Friday, October 2, 2015

"The Autobiography of James T. Kirk" - A Book Review

This look into the life of one of this galaxy's greatest futuristic heroes, for the most part, are the memories of that hero as reported to author David A. Goodman. Shortly before Kirk's death while inspecting the virginal launch into the cosmos of the NCC 1701 U.S.S. Enterprise-B, captained by the very young and inexperienced Captain John Harriman, Kirk met with Goodman over a period of several months and recounted to him the events of his life from early childhood to his final retirement from Starfleet. This photo-op aboard the new Excelsior-class Enterprise was to be this icon's final journey into that final frontier. Little did anyone realize how final it would be for the famous captain.

Before getting into some of what Goodman related a little about him is important to relate. Kirk picked him to put in writing the gist of his life because he, like Kirk, was no second-rate scribe. David A. Goodman is a well known author and screenwriter who has been responsible for such landmark television series such as "The Golden Girls," "Futurama," "Star Trek: Enterprise," and most notably one of the main producers and writers for the animated hit series created by Seth MAcFarlane, "Family Guy." Goodman has also written several tomes including "Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years."

"The Autobiography of James T. Kirk" is a wonderful addition to the stories of the fabled captain who sat in that center seat aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise for longer than any other leader in Starfleet history. His storied career is well known, feared and respected by millions across the expanse of this galaxy and this autobiography doesn't attempt to retell that narrative. However, what it does do is fill in many of the gaps left untold from the perspective of the man himself, James Tiberius Kirk.

While everyone who has followed his life for the last five or six decades knows the big picture of his life ... some of the details of his cadet days and early postings, as well as his time as Enterprise captain in its first five year mission after refit post the Captain Pike years; what hasn't been told was how Kirk himself actually felt and thought about those periods of his life. What it actually meant for him to lose the friendship of such a long and trusted ally like Ben Finney, or the depths of the guilt and agony he endured over the loss of his mentor Captain Garrovick, the deaths of Edith Keeler and his son David, as well as the emotional hole left in his heart during those early years in Riverside, Iowa when he was being raised on that Iowa farm by his father while his mother was off on Tarsus IV doing her scientific thing. All these, and so many other events helped to form and mold him, the renowned captain-admiral-captain, into the person we have all come to think we knew and certainly loved and admired.

"The Autobiography of James T. Kirk" gives the reader just enough of a peek into the life of this man. His heroism, flaws, faults, strengths, and yes, his weaknesses. With Goodman's editing of the material the reader is left with a more realistic and well rounded picture of the human called Kirk who literally helped shape the galaxy of the 23rd Century.

Those not familiar with the story of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the famous crew of the Enterprise under their tutelage may not follow the story as well as those who do so I recommend watching the episodes of the original series and the first six films in the Star Trek franchise. Once done this book will remain as an important companion piece to what has already been presented about the life and times of Captain James T. Kirk (2233-2371).

I give "The Autobiography of James T. Kirk" * * * 1/2 stars out of 5.

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