To The Stars
To the Stars by George Takei
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Star Trek (June 25, 2007)
From Publishers Weekly
Asian-American actor Takei attributes his success to his role as Mr. Sulu on the Star Trek TV series and in six full-length motion pictures (1966-1991). Starting with his Japanese-American family's internment in a WWII high-security camp in northern California, this lively memoir reveals the author's upbeat but pragmatic nature. The boy's early fascination with the theater, abetted by supportive parents and a B.A. and M.A. in theater from UCLA, led to his discovery when he was 27 by Gene Roddenberry, creator/producer of Star Trek. While Takei's film credits include Ice Palace, Green Berets and [Return from the River Kwai], most of the book, of major interest to Star Trek fans, deals with behind-the-scenes accounts of the series' filming and production.
A friend of mine, who doesn't normally suggests books for me to read, had told me that although she doesn't read a lot of autobiographies, that she found George Takei's book really good.
When I was able to find a used hardback copy for fairly cheap I sent for it, figuring "one day I'll read it", but I was in no hurry.
Then came Nicholas Meyers book "A View from the Bridge" and I devoured the book so fast I felt I wanted more.. and so I decided to read George's book.
That's it.. just wow.
I thought it would be like other autobiographies with emphases on his Star Trek years. And I guess that's exactly what it was.. but..
This book was very surprising to me. No, George did not surprise me by "coming out" in this book (not that it would have been a surprise to me anyway) George was silent on his love life, but he certainly didn't gloss over anything he did talk about.
I am ashamed to say I never thought real hard on the before lives of the Star Trek People, and George.. well George and his family were Japanese. George was but a few years old when the war broke out and all the Japanese people living in America were sent to internment camps, where George and his family lived for a number of years.
I never realized that. So it follows that I never really looked at things through George's eyes.
At some point George went from a kid growing up in an internment camp, to getting deeply involved in politics. I think I can safely say that George never forgot his early years and how he and his family were treated.. and I don't blame him in the least.
But George and his family continually pushed forward, and eventually George got to live his dream of becoming an actor.
I did love his recollections of becoming Sulu and working with the cast from Star Trek. He doesn't go so deep into the everyday thing that you ever feel George was obsessed to write this book and "tell all".. but instead he really did have a story to tell.
This book was very interesting. I don't know if George had a ghost writer helping him or not but it was beautifully written, and kept your attention at all times. Simply said, I remember thinking many times as I was reading the book, "gosh, this book is well written"... and it is!
Although I have held an interest in all the people who did Star Trek, I can't say that something I ever wanted to do was to read all their autobiographies and memories of Star Trek.. I don't know why, maybe because I felt each one would be repetitious when it came to the memories of working on Star Trek.. but even there I was wrong.
I can say I appreciate George Takei much more having read this book, and for anyone who even thinks they might want to read it.. do it, you won't be disappointed.
And so, I leave you with a quote from George's book that I found profound ...
quote: pg 187.. ( George says:)
I gained friends and insights that led me to a deeper understanding of this ever-changing, ever-developing new breed of humans called Americans. As a people, we may have varied histories tracing back to the Mayflower or to slave ships, to split-rail corrals or to barbed wire fences. But, whatever our histories, however tortured and adversarial they may have been, our destinies are bound inextricably together. We have a common future. Our challenge lies not in carrying the weight of our pasts like anchors, but in working in concert to build the common tomorrow.