Maybe We Need a Letter from God: The Star Trek Stamp

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9780615806884: Maybe We Need a Letter from God: The Star Trek Stamp
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The drive to honor Star Trek on a U.S. postage stamp is unique. Maybe We Need a Letter from God: The Star Trek Stamp traces an old-fashioned grassroots movement, long before easy access to the speed of the Internet, that involved a strategy of signed petitions, endorsement letters and media exposure.Fueled by the spontaneous combustion of fan fervor, the Star Trek Stamp Committee embarked on a journey that took over a decade to complete. A dubious Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee, a bureaucratic “force field,” thwarted the Star Trek Stamp Committee's efforts for 13 years.The book includes over eighty endorsement letters from some of the most renowned individuals in the worlds of science, science fiction and government, along with documentation from some of the nation's leading newspapers such as USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun Times, and Time Magazine.

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From the Inside Flap:

Book recalls history of Star Trek stamp: (review) "Perhaps you think that in 1998 the U.S. Postal Service issued the 33-cent Star Trek stamp on a whim. "Actually, that stamp, an illustration of the Enterprise with the Starfleet emblem illuminating the background, was almost 13 years in the making."'Maybe We Need A Letter From God, The Star Trek Stamp,' by Bill Kraft, a native of Strasburg, tells how the Star Trek stamp developed from an idea from Kraft and other Trekkies. "Kraft didn't become a Trekkie until 1979 after seeing the movie, 'Star Trek, The Motion Picture' which he loved because, 'It promotes peaceful, humane exploration of space.' In 1985, Kraft organized the Star Trek Stamp Committee, made up of other Trekkies who felt as he did about getting a stamp issued commemorating the Star Ship Enterprise from Star Trek and also possibly incorporating the Space Shuttle Enterprise. "The group soon discovered that the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee, which approved recommendations for stamps and submitted them to the postmaster general for consideration, was not easily persuaded. "But Kraft's group was as equally tenacious in their endeavor. A letter-writing campaign to the committee began in earnest. Some influential people wrote letters supporting the Star Trek stamp. James Manning, planetarium director at the Museum of the Rockies, Montana State University wrote: 'The Space Shuttle Enterprise represents the best of our technology; the Star Ship Enterprise, the best of our hopes and dreams.' "Science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, who Kraft tracked down in Sri Lanka, sent a letter to the committee with an endorsement for the stamp. "Letter endorsements came from governors, members of Congress, space science educators, NASA, high-profile science fiction writers, and even Clyde W. Tombaugh, the discoverer of the ninth planet of Pluto in 1930, wrote giving his support."And still, the committee said no. Kraft's response was 'Maybe we need a letter from God.' "By a stroke of luck, or perhaps as a way of getting Kraft off of their backs, in 1998 the Postal Service sponsored a 'Celebrate the Century' ballot as a way of determining the 'peoples' choice' in choosing new stamps. With several categories represented, Star Trek had made the cut in the arts and entertainment category. A total of 15 stamps were chosen, with Star Trek being one of those with 257,000 votes. "'Maybe We Need a Letter from God' is a Trekkie's dream book, a story of believing in your dreams and persevering until they become a reality." — Maralee Kalianoff, Bismarck Tribune November 3, 2013 More than a blast from the past: (review) "My first impression on reading this book was nostalgia: it carried me back to the days when people communicated primarily by postal mail rather than email, by telephone rather than Skype, in printed newspapers and broadcast radio rather than Internet news sites. In that sense, it's a valuable historical account of a campaign waged the old-fashioned way."But it's much more. I remember writing the letter I submitted to the Post Office in support of the Enterprise stamp. I gave it my best; as a young philosophy instructor, I poured my best logical argumentation into it along with my heartfelt belief in the value of the project. But I kept in mind that old saying about trying to overcome (even unreasonable) regulations: 'You can't fight City Hall.' "I didn't actually believe that the Post Office would ever change its mind. AND THEN IT DID."And there, I think, lies the true value of this book. It's about a grassroots effort that took on a quasi-government entity and won. It's about people's beliefs and convictions overturning bureaucratic rigidity. It reminds each of us that we CAN make a difference."Bill Kraft's campaign for the Enterprise stamp didn't just give us a stamp. It gave us hope in the democratic process, hope in the input of the everyday citizen--in short, hope in the future." — Dr. Anne Collins Smith, Amazon Review, September 3, 2013

About the Author:

Bill Kraft, the youngest of eleven children, is a native of Strasburg, North Dakota, and an alumnus of St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota. He taught high school English in Pipestone, Minnesota and St. Cloud Cathedral High School and spent ten years with the Central Minnesota Libraries Exchange at St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud Minnesota. He is an aficionado of authors Ray Bradbury, Thomas Wolfe and Washington Irving. In 2012 he fulfilled a life-long dream with a pilgrimage to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial and gravesite in Asheville, North Carolina. That pilgrimage was preceded by another in 2008 to Sleepy Hollow, New York, and the former Washington Irving residence on the banks of the Hudson River. Meeting Ray Bradbury at St. Cloud State University in 2000 remains a milestone event. Bill has a special passion for the music of Franz Schubert and Ralph Vaughan Williams. A bit of a cinephile, too, he reveres Lawrence of Arabia as the Mount Rushmore of movies. He and his wife live in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota.

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