Review: William Shatner’s ‘Boldly Go’ Takes You On A Journey Filled With His Unique Wit And Wisdom

Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder by William Shatner - TrekMovie review

William Shatner has some things to say.

In his new book, Boldy Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder, the 91-year-old Star Trek legend goes beyond memoir for a series of essays on topics he’s passionate about—and more than that, he’s passionate about making sure the rest of us care about them too. And who can blame him? In this short, read-it-in-a-weekend book, you can almost feel his urgency to share his—there’s no better word for—learnings with the rest of us, not because he’s running out of time, but because he’s so darned enthusiastic about it. And you will be too.

Part memoir, part musing

There’s an element of memoir in here, of course; it’s William Shatner, and he knows his audience. (If you’ve ever seen him completely own the room at a convention, you know this.) In between his thoughtful musings on adventure, taking chances, the environment, animals, the nature of music, family, spirituality, and more are occasional dips into Star Trek episodes (with titles and details supplied by co-author Joshua Brandon, I assume) and memories of Star Trek costars. Shatner isn’t afraid to open old wounds: He talks about learning (from Nichelle Nichols) about the other actors’ dislike for him, the tragedy of his wife Nerine’s death (and his discovery of her body), and his distress over Leonard Nimoy’s refusal to speak to him in the last few years of his life. Yes, he has talked about these things before, but here he looks at them with fresh eyes, speculating about what went wrong and looking inward to find the source.

Shatner’s writing, like the man himself, is utterly engaging. His sense of wonder is infectious. His self-deprecating comments will make you laugh out loud, and his deeper moments of emotional exploration might even make you cry, as they did to this reviewer. The subjects he writes about are important ones, and will resonate with readers whether he’s talking about his happiest moments or dark, deep grief.

I am fortunate that in my life I have lived through some of the greatest triumphs one can imagine. And yet, along with these best moments, I have encountered some of the absolute worst.

He also, delightfully, devotes some of the book to his game show days (other ‘70s kids will remember him as a staple on Match Game, Tattletales The Hollywood Squares, and more), getting into the weeds on what exactly was going on during his “berserk” appearance on Pyramid when he cost his contestant partner $20,000. He also reminisces about his music performance on The Tonight Show that baffled Johnny Carson, filming a nude scene with Angie Dickinson, and more.

And a good dose of philosophy

He talks about what music means to him (with musings on its nature from Ben Folds), why you should be with your pets when they die, growing up lonely, growing up Jewish, learning better ways to raise kids, the nature of grief, the beauty of life, and yes, his convention staples like going up into space (which filled him with sadness) and swimming with sharks (which filled him with awe). He’s intrigued by the world around him and writes with equal fascination about the importance of familial bonds and the fixing of a broken toilet. He has moments that are quite profound as he tries to make sense of what connects us all as well as what divides us. No matter what he’s talking about, his zest for life pervades all, as does his sense of humor, which, despite the image he has in the press, can be wonderfully self-deprecating.

As I got above the surface and safely out of reach—my derriere the last piece of me to disappear out of the water—I could have sworn I heard one of the sharks say to another, “Get a load of that asshole.”

Shatner is, as always, intelligent, articulate, and awestruck, fascinated by what he’s already learned and what he knows is still out there waiting for him to explore. After I read the book, I found myself in a number of fascinating discussions inspired by it. If you’re a Shatner fan, you’ll eat this book up like it’s a five-star meal. If you’re just a student of life, stumbling your way through, trying to soak up the experience and learn what you can from someone who’s seen a great deal of it, this could just become your handbook.

Humans are such a delicious mystery to me: We are so multifaceted and contradictory, each one of us with our foibles and eccentricities. I often wonder why we are the way we are, why we are each programmed in such different ways, cursed or blessed with different gifts.

Same, Bill. Same.

On sale now

To Boldy Go was released on October 4, 2022 by Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. You can pick it up at Amazon in hardcover for $18.69 or Kindle e-book for $14.99.

Boldly Go: Reflections on a Life of Awe and Wonder by William Shatner

Also available as audiobook

You can also get the audiobook (read by William Shatner, of course) for $22.67.  Listen to an excerpt below:


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I’ve enjoyed some of the Shatner Star Trek books, both fictional and of his factual experiences. His Star Trek memories books were a great read.

Movie Memories is my favourite of his books,

Yep read that book too when it came out at the time. It was the only book I read of his but I really liked it and learned so much about the movies. It was also the first time I heard about the infamous Roddenberry sequel idea where the Enterprise goes back in time and Spock kills President Kennedy lol. So happy to see it referenced on Lower Decks.

The image of Spock hunkered down on the grassy knoll with a phaser rifle will never cease to fascinate.. Who knew the assassin was Donald Sutherlands Body Snatcher costar!?

But yeah I really loved that book (along with the Altman/Gross Making of the Trek Films and the supplement Making of Trek VI) so much I even bought the revised pb edition with extra Generations info., the previous TOS Memories was also great but I’ve always been more interested in the movies

A phaser rifle does kinda put a whole new spin on the magic bullet theory doesn’t it?

What’s funny about the Kennedy movie idea was according to Shatner’s book Roddenberry was still trying to pitch it through Star Trek 5 I think lol. Maybe just through TVH but he never gave up on the idea even when it was clear no one wanted it but him.

I really loved the book too. I actually bought it at the time because Generations was coming out and I think the book was published earlier that year. I also knew Generations was also discussed and motivated me to read it before it came out.

After I read that one, I had planned to read TOS Memories as well but never got around to it.

I remember reading in either Movie Memories or somewhere else, after IVs huge success Gene was saying ‘see I told them to do time travel!’ and was kind of trying to take some of the credit for its success lol (actually he had a point!)..

One wonders what he would’ve made of the Oliver Stone JFK out the same year/month as Trek VI

Now I remember about Movie Memories coming out way before Generations (at least in uk) and being hyped at the new photos from the movie

Yeah Roddenberry was a complete kook lol. Made a great show but had some issues to say the least.

I went and looked when was the book was released here and it was actually November 1993. I think I got my copy in the summer of 94.

Actor/LeadingMan, Singer, Author, Astronaut, Legend

Shatner never ceases to fill us all full of awe and wonder

I really enjoyed his book Til Now. This review was so good and got me so intrigued, I’m going to pick it up next time I go to B&N.

The best Sci-Fi Author.

Even though Shatner doesn’t actually write the books with his name on the cover (his Star Trek books were written by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, Believe was written by Michael Tobias, the Tek books were written by Ron Goulart, and so forth), he chooses his ghost authors well. I might give this one a shot.

I really liked his Ashes of Eden novel and thought the DC comic adaptation was great and just looked and felt like an adaptation of ‘proper’ Trek VII had it been made in 1993. The follow up The Return initially looked amazing , like the natural sequel to Generations but beyond the first few chapters just couldn’t get through it, idk why I even tried again recently but couldn’t make it past about quarter of the way..its like it was too steeped in the TNG/DS9 era lore or something. Reading it I was thinking how could Shatner know all this deep dive stuff about DS9 etc lol

Yes he has it flaws, but this sounds like a great read – I’m getting it on Audible.

Look forward to listening to this on audible. Thanks for the review.

I wish that modern Trek could find a way to give us one more great appearance by William Shatner, whether he was playing a Kirk or someone (or something) else.

I still hold out hope we will somehow see him one final time as Kirk in the next film, especially as the 60th anniversary is nearing (correcting the mistake the 50th made)

S3 of Picard is in the can. I’m acquainted with a few people who claim to have seen the eps.
They are gushing about them, calling it TNG season 8. Now, I DON’T KNOW any real details or plot points. I have not seen the episodes. From the brief story outline I was told, (think the old TV guide, giving a brief description of what the Trek ep was about) I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Shatner as Kirk, one more time. I’m guessing this because of the high praise I’ve heard from the people who claim to have seen it. Also from the story outline I was told, there is an organic way to bring Kirk back. The fan boy in me hopes this turns out to be true.

Robert Meyer Burnett has seen the Picard season 3 series and is raving about it in his podcasts and Youtube videos. He said that it is like a great Star Trek novel. He hinted that several TNG characters are coming back and in context hinted that Shelby from “Best of Both Worlds” and Captain Jellico may be among those characters. I’ve not heard any rumors about Kirk coming back in there, but who knows.

I dont understand how RMB has seen Picard s3, I mean HATES new Trek with a passion. Why would Paramount want him to see it. Did one of his insider mates smuggle him into a screening? Or ripped the blurays for him?

He is friends with Terry Matalas it sounds like, and Matalas has been sharing it with him. And he makes the observation also that he has hated Picard up until what he has seen of season 3.

While I would love to see the real James T Kirk one more time, I don’t trust anyone can do the character justice. And that’s not a dig at Kurtzman, et al.. I seriously am not sure given Paramount’s budget, Shatner’s requirements, and whatever writers/directors/producers they pick, that this could ever be done properly. I hated the way he died in Generations. But the one thing I can say is that he died a hero, saving the crew of the Enterprise, and he died alone as he was always meant too. Just lets leave things be.

I don’t care if Shatner is playing Kirk. He could play anything. I just want to see him have a valedictory appearance in Trek like Nimoy got with the Abrams movie.

For the record, I didn’t hate Generations. It was not a great send-off for Kirk, but it was adequate for what it was.

Yes, Tom Baker had a great cameo in the DW 50th and the other Doctors just had some great ones in the most recent episode, and there will be no doubt more for the 60th anniversary next year . So getting Shatner in Trek film or show for the 60th anniversary is kind of a must, even if its ‘just’ a cameo (which he’s said he wouldn’t want to do.. but probably would providing its decent enough)

I remember watching an episode of the $10,000 pyramid where Shatner tried to solo the last round, both giving and receiving clues, and somehow still failed. That one still gives me a big laugh to this day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGUA6OWxEoM

I’ve never seen this! Brilliant. Thanks for sharing!

I hate to be a contrarian, but all of his books are pretty much the same now. I’ve read them all. They are ghost-written and self-aggrandizing. His “hook” is to always close with a “life-lesson” or “new revelation” that is usually partially or wholly disingenuous and contradictory in terms of the realty of his actual personal history.

That being said, I respect his unending drive to stay relevant and present in the public consciousness at his age.

Agreed!

Shatner has been such a fixture of my life, so much so that I can’t quite conceive of what it will be like when he is gone. Ever since I was a child he’s been there. Equally, it must be strange for him to look back on a lifetime of so many moments.

I feel the exact same way. The day that news comes down is going to be a very strange, sad day.

Well it will likely be a long time away still. That’s a guy who can easily push 100 years old.

91 = 71 in Shatner Years

“occasional dips into Star Trek episodes (with titles and details supplied by co-author Joshua Brandon, I assume)”

Heh.