Review: The Haynes Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual

Death Star manualLet’s just get this out of the way. The Haynes Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual by Ryder Windham, Chris Reif, and Chris Trevas continues right where the Millennium Falcon manual left off. Suffice to say, if you enjoyed that book, you’re going to enjoy this one just as much.

The text is a fun in-universe affair. It should be said that this book isn’t exactly the sort of oil-stained Haynes manual your father kept in the garage to do self-repairs on the old Datsun pickup truck that he just refuses to get rid of. This is less of a book of diagrams and more of a history text and reference book. You’re not going to find out how to repair a deactivated tractor beam (though there is a nifty labeled diagram), but you will learn a great deal about the key minds behind the Death Star and just what all those little details on the surface of the station are.

Some of the neater sections are memos and letters from characters in the Star Wars universe discussing the Death Star. In particular are the Personal Data Journal Entries from Grand Moff Tarkin that discuss various key elements of the battle station. You gain insight into his mindset and why he wanted specific things. More interesting, they detail why his specific needs for the Death Star wound up being its downfall.

There’s a host of new artwork within the pages of this reference book. Personally one of my favorite illustrations was the Death Star cross section early on in the book. It really gives scale on just how massive that superlaser was. Throughout there are a multitude of cutaways, diagrams, and new illustrations that shed a lot of light on just how the Death Star operated and functioned.

The end of the book looks briefly into the second Death Star. Once again, the art is incredible. I would gladly pay for a print of the comparison chart showing the size differences between a Star Destroyer, a Super Star Destroyer, the first Death Star, and the Second Death Star. For that matter, there’s a lot of art in this book I’d love to get as a print. The Death Star Cutaway in particular would look great in any geeky office or bedroom.

At 122 pages, there’s a whole lot to sink your teeth into. It’s the perfect size and the perfect material to make a great geeky coffee table reader. For a casual fan, there’s all sorts of neat trivia that will keep anyone’s attention. For a fleet junkie, the book is a huge wealth of knowledge that you’ll come back to scan again and again. The Haynes Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual is a fun and brilliant read. Go pick it up.

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