William Shatner, a Transformed Man, by Dennis William Hauck

William Shatner, a Transformed Man, by Dennis William Hauck book coverGenre: Nonfiction Biography
Publisher:  Athanor Books
Published: 2017
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer: David L. Felts

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Like it or not (and it seems Shatner mostly railed against it), Captain James T. Kirk is a global, cultural icon. In William Shatner, a Transformed Man, Hauck exposes some of the man behind the myth. It’s not alway a pretty picture, but it is an honest, insightful, and interesting one.

It’s no secret that he was universally disliked by the actors who served with him on the Enterprise, and that he has an overbearing and intense personality. Age might have mellowed him a bit, and he seems to have buried the hatchet with the majority of his opponents. And although his stint with Starfleet remains first and foremost in the mind of anyone who hears the name “William Shatner”, there remains much more to the man, both before and after he perched in the captain’s chair on the bridge of the Enterprise.

From a claimed spiritual encounter in the California desert to the strained relationships he had with, well, almost everyone, Hauck delves deep into the man behind the myth.

Hauck did his research, have me with all the cast members over the years, and mining fifty years of records, archives, and interviews. In the end, this isn’t a book for Star Trek fans; it’s a book for people who want to know more about William Shatner, warts and all. Driven, egocentric, callous, yet also kind, considerate and giving, Shatner was a man of many contradictions. Hauck goes deep for a behind-the-scenes look at his career and personal life.

The main trust of the book is Shatner’s drive to become an actor and his path to the Enterprise and beyond. Ultimately, I ended the book feeling as though Shatner was disappointed in the circumstances surrounding his renown. He wanted to be know for his acting, not for a singular character that he portrayed, and he tried hard to break the tether that bound him to Star Trek to no avail.

Although it does make mention of other people in his life, for the most part the whole work is Shatner-centric. Family and cast mates earn a mention, primarily to confirm Shatner’s foibles, but details aren’t given.

In the end, Hauck gets well beyond the myth to the man. This makes the book interesting to anyone who likes to read about the life and struggled of “larger than life” individuals.

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