This approach works wonders for the story of Star Wars. The book presents the making of the franchise in deeply human terms. The authors rip aside the mythology surrounding George Lucas and his creation in favour of something much more intimate and honest ... Gross and Altman also have a real knack for choosing the right quotes and arranging them in a logical, interesting sequence. Reading Secrets of the Force is always interesting; none of the interview subjects wear out their welcome or go on too long. Most importantly, the authors imbue their book with a clear narrative flow. It is an incredibly enjoyable reading experience ... starts a bit slow...For the long-time fan, this introductory section can be a bit of a slog. Once Gross and Altman rev up their narrative, however, the book begins to shine ... Gross and Altman manage to present something new and interesting even to the most die-hard Star Wars fans ... a clear winner.
There’s no disputing the thoroughness of research done by Gross and Altman; the contents of this book have been pulled from a nigh-uncountable trove of resources. These are words taken directly from the horse’s mouth (you know, if George Lucas was a horse); the book is packed with thoughtful insights regarding the birth and growth of what would become the global phenomenon ... It should be noted that the heavy reliance on already extant sources means that for many hardcore fans, much of this information will prove already familiar. However, when I say 'hardcore,' I mean HARDCORE – casual and even avid fans are likely to learn all manner of new things about the beloved franchise as they make their way through ... As someone with an affinity for the Star Wars universe, but without the deep-seated obsession that many carry for it, I was engaged by Secrets of the Force. There was lot there that I didn’t know, and the deep dive into the development of the first film and the fallout from its explosive success was both informative and entertaining. But I’ll admit that I lost steam after that initial engagement – a feeling that I’d wager was shared by the authors. The post-original trilogy chapters are … fine, but not much more than that. The driving energy seems to dissipate once those first three films have been addressed ... Fans will likely find plenty to like, but don’t expect too much depth beyond the original trilogy.
... engaging ... there's enough material here for even diehard fans to learn something new ... Even if fans already know everything, Secrets of the Force will likely inspire them to rewatch the films and revisit the magic.
While the bulk of the content focuses on the movies and television shows, the books, comics, and games of the Expanded Universe are also covered. By presenting quotes in the format of a group interview, the authors juxtapose different perspectives. The work is comprehensive, although occasionally repetitive. It doesn’t break any new ground; rather, the value lies in gathering so much information in one place. It’s sure to be in demand with Star Wars fans.
Altman and Gross consult with some of the principal players, from first to last, and if the business side of the enterprise occupies too much space, the best parts of the book are when the actors and writers reflect on their work ... A trove for hardcore fans. If you’re obsessive about the films, there’s no end to the fun.