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Book Review: “Star Wars: Rebel Starfighters: Owners’ Workshop Manual”

Book Review: “Star Wars: Rebel Starfighters: Owners’ Workshop Manual”

Star Wars: Rebel Starfighters: Owners’ Workshop Manual written by Ryder Windham, with illustrations by Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas, is the latest in a series of Haynes Manuals about the various ships that populate the Star Wars universe. Recent installments include the YT-1300 Millennium Falcon: Owners’ Workshop Manual and the TIE Fighter: Owners’ Workshop Manual.

The Rebel Starfighters manual focuses on the ships used by the Republic during the time of the Clone Wars, but more commonly known as the ships employed by the Rebel Alliance during Imperial reign and later by the Resistance in their fight against the First Order. A-wings, Y-wings, X-wings, B-wings, and my favorite, the U-wing — and the different variations of those ships as they evolved over time to suit certain purposes, such as speed or maneuverability.

As with the Millennium Falcon and TIE Fighter manuals, the Rebel Starfighters manual reads as an in-world text. Each chapter begins with a communique from leaders such as Princess (Senator, General) Leia Organa, General Antoc Merrick, General Carlist Rieekan, to name a few, or selections from texts pertinent to the history of the Rebellion. These serve to ground the manual in the universe, and are fun little bits to read. You feel like you’re privy to the goings on of the heroes fighting for the freedom of the galaxy.

From there, each chapter covers a particular starfighter, providing its history, modifications made over time, and pretty much every technical specification you could hope to see, including:

  • Cockpit and flight controls
  • Weapons and defenses
  • Sublight engines
  • S-foils

Some of the more detailed specs includes manufacturer information, affiliation, measurements, maximum acceleration, hyperdrive, targeting systems, crew complement, passengers (mainly for the U-wing), consumables, and cost — in case you were in the market for a new ship.

Illustrations provided include cutaways (which always make me miss the Star Wars cross-section books!), diagrams, and schematics of the ships, as well as color photographs showing multiple angles of each ship. There’s also a really cool size comparison chart, which is pretty self-explanatory — How do these ships stack up against each other, or some of the larger capital ships of the Rebel Alliance?

The human element is also accounted for with close-up looks at the flight suits worn by pilots such as Luke Skywalker and Poe Dameron, and the starfighter bases and hangars found on Yavin 4 and D’Qar.

In-universe books like the Rebel Starfighters: Owners’ Workshop Manual are always great fun. They really do enrich your experience as a fan, and bring you into the world in a unique way. You could imagine a book like this being read by the likes of Luke Skywaker, Hera Syndulla (who does get a shout-out), Wedge Antilles, Cassian Andor, Poe Dameron, or any of the notable rebel pilots we’ve come to know and love during the 40+ year history of the Star Wars saga.

It’s a quick read, and a rewarding one if you’re at all interested in the story behind these legendary starfighters. You’ll likely find yourself coming back to it time and again. Enjoy!

You can purchase your copy of Star Wars: Rebel Starfighters: Owners’ Workshop Manual from Amazon today.

Thank you to Insight Editions for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.

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