‘Mission’ revives ‘Trek’ tales; travel book charms

Associated Press

‘The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years’

by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman

(Thomas Dunne Books)

Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman have compiled hundreds of interviews to create “The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years.”

The saga of a failed TV show growing in popularity after it was canceled in 1969 is the stuff of fairy tales. Conventions featuring the stars of the show were followed by movies, other TV shows, novels and fan-made films.

The authors of this oral history have interviewed people directly involved with the franchise, including the actors, producers, writers and even famous fans of the series. The result is a compelling and fascinating timeline.

Fans of the show might worry that this book is nothing more than regurgitated material that has been revealed in earlier works. But “Fifty-Year Mission” gives everyone the freedom to express an opinion without fear of reprisal, creating an honest and eye-opening history.

The layout of the book covers the first 25 years of the original series franchise, skipping the creation of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which will be covered in the second volume, scheduled for publication in August and bringing the story up to the present.

Revealing insight and honesty showcase the stories of the original series, the creation of the animated series and the feature films up to “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

Gross and Altman do a fine job letting the people speak for themselves while also providing pertinent details to provide background.

— Jeff Ayers

The cover image of “The Wonder Trail, True Stories from Los Angeles to the end of the World” by Steve Hely.

‘The Wonder Trail’

by Steve Hely


Steve Hely’s plan is vague: travel south and make lots of stops along the way until he reaches the end of the world. And so begins “The Wonder Trail,” Hely’s account of everything from the history of the Panama Railway to the best sandwiches in South America.

After leaving Los Angeles, Hely first stops in Mexico and here gives readers a blueprint for the remainder of the book: rapid-fire, bite-sized parcels of history including tales of explorers, natives, battles, victories and, on occasion, someone being burned alive as a human sacrifice; plus book recommendations, tips on what to see and what to skip, and a handful of notes on the people he encounters along the way.

The traveler’s observations remain charming and ever hopeful. While he acknowledges the horrors of a country’s past, he always lands on the pleasant, nearly convincing readers that maybe the histories of violence and corruption, plus a few coups are worth this beachside hut that serves decent spaghetti and cold beer.

— Christina Ledbetter


Week ending June 19.

Hardcover fiction

1. “End of Watch” by Stephen King (Scribner)

2. “Tom Clancy Duty and Honor” by Grant Blackwood (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

3. “Foreign Agent” by Brad Thor (Atria/Emily Bestler Books)

4. “Here’s to Us” by Elin Hilderbrand (Little, Brown)

5. “The Girls” by Emma Cline (Random House)

6. “After You” by Jojo Moyes (Viking Dorman)

7. “The Emperor’s Revenge” by Clive Cussler and Boyd Morrison (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

8. “The Last Mile” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

9. “Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley (Grand Central Publishing)

10. “The House of Secrets” by Brad Meltzer and Tod Goldberg (Grand Central Publishing)

— Publishers Weekly