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Book Review

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Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man (Hardback)


Author: William Shatner with David Fisher
Publisher: Sidgwick & Jackson
RRP: £18.99
ISBN: 978 0 28307 252 9
Publication Date: 25 February 2016

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner first crossed paths as actors on the set of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Little did they know that their next roles, in a new science-fiction television series called Star Trek, would shape their lives in ways no one could have anticipated. In seventy-nine television episodes and six feature films, they grew to know each other more than most friends could ever imagine. Over the course of half a century, Shatner and Nimoy saw each other through personal and professional highs and lows. In this powerfully emotional book, Shatner tells the story of a man who was his friend for five decades, recounting anecdotes and untold stories of their lives on and off set, as well as gathering stories from others who knew Nimoy well, to present a full picture of a rich life...

Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man by William Shatner (with David Fisher) is a look at Nimoy and Shatner's apparent 50 year friendship.

Now I don't know about anyone else, but I was under the impression that Shatner didn't really get along with most of the Trek cast (especially George Takei and Nimoy) and a quick Internet search seemed to back this up. But to read Shatner's memories you'd think they'd had a brother like closeness that can only be matched by family.

Okay, that's not strictly true. Shatner does point out the times when they didn't get along and puts his side across. But then no one on the planet ever thinks they are in the wrong - we all believe that our actions are justified and that we do things for the right reason.

What I did get from this was the need for Shatner to compare himself to Nimoy and always come out slightly better. He even throws in the occasional humble anecdote to make him seem a little foolish while his friend Nimoy comes over as much more professional. But there were a few occasions were I was thinking "I thought this was a book that focuses on Nimoy through Shatner's eyes, not a book about Shatner's achievements when compared to Nimoy's.

What the book does do is take us through some of Nimoy's human flaws. I wasn't aware of the extent of his battle with alcoholism or his fights with Gene Roddenberry and CBS. And it's in these segments that we get to really know the man a little better.

Shatner does a good job of turning a biography into something a little more personal than one written by an author whose done their research but never even met the subject matter.

There were a lot of reports at the time that Shatner stayed away from Nimoy's funeral and while Shatner does try and redeem himself as to why he didn't attend, I find it a little hard to swallow. A true friend would be there for Nimoy's family and loved ones, to show them that he honoured and respected his "best friend" and was there to say a final goodbye, not hog the headlines by being conspicuous by his absence.

At the end of the day this is an enlightening read, just be prepared to wade through a little bit of treacle.


Darren Rea

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