The First 150 Years doesn't just tread old ground; two chapters in particular are a real joy to read, as they cover the Earth-Romulan War and the early days of the Federation. I've been dying to learn more about the Earth-Romulan War and this book delivered. The author expounds upon the few facts given in the TOS episode “Balance of Terror” and what Enterprise gave us to tell a great war narrative and one of the most important events leading up to the founding of the Federation. After reading this, I want these stories to be told on TV or on the big screen even more!
In addition to the history text, the book includes excerpts from many historical documents such as the Federation Constitution, the Earth-Romulan Treaty, and the detailed reports of the Klingons' “war” with the Tribbles. These documents add a lot of flair and context to the rest of the text, and they look great. Now, I don't read Vulcan, Klingon, or Romulan, but the “original texts” look well detailed, and I loved the added touches, like seeing another species sign a document, otherwise written in English, in their native language.
The artwork inside the book is gorgeous. These paintings depict many famous scenes, such as those from the previously mentioned Earth-Romulan War. There's no quick pasting of a screenshot from one of the TV shows here. Even scenes that could have easily been done this way have been rendered in pencils and inks, giving the book a consistent feel. The starship pieces are easily my favorite. I'd really like a desktop wallpaper of the “Starfleet's Greatest Vessels” piece.
Now, I read this digitally and didn't have access to all of the removables, so I can't say anything about the cool pedestal the book comes on, except it's supposed to include an introduction by George Takei as Hikaru Sulu, which can only be a good thing. The other removables include items like a blueprint of the NCC-1701 Enterprise, diagrams showing the anatomy of a Trill with symbiont, and handwritten documents from the likes of Jim Kirk and Zefram Cochrane. All of these are produced with the same love and care as the interior pieces and would make great decorations or props for a Star Trek RPG.
Overall, this is a pretty cool book, perfect for the Trekkie/Trekker who has always wanted some more details about the early years of the Federation or an easy-to-consult guide on the early Trek calendar. Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years is set to release on December 4th and is available only through Amazon.com.