'The Rise and Fall of the Galactic Empire' examines Star Wars' sinister Imperial reign

a book cover with the text "rise and fall of the galactic empire" in front of a starry background
Cover for "The Rise and Fall of the Galactic Empire." (Image credit: Penguin Random House/Getty Images/Natapong Supalertsophon)

The iron-fisted rule and cruel tyranny of "Star Wars'" evil Galactic Empire has been a source of intense interest ever since that epic opening shot of the Rebel Blockade Runner being reeled in by a Star Destroyer's tractor beam, then boarded by the black-robed Lord Darth Vader in 1977's "Star Wars: A New Hope."

Now, a comprehensive new book from DK Publishing titled "The Rise and Fall of the Galactic Empire" dissects the formation of this harsh bureaucratic regime in a galaxy far, far away and follows its indomitable march of control spreading fear and merciless governance to all known systems. 

Arriving on July 9, 2024, this historical interpretation will serve as the definitive account of the Empire's maneuvers, and the mistakes that ultimately led to its demise. Check out this early peek at the cover for "The Rise and Fall of the Galactic Empire."

Related: 'Star Wars' movies in order: Chronological and release

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This is the story of how a tyrannical regime rose from the ashes of democracy, ruled the galaxy with an iron fist, and then collapsed into dust. It is a story of war and heroes, of the power of propaganda and the dangers of complacency. But most of all, it is a story of normal people trying to live their lives in the face of a brutal dictatorship.

Cover for "The Rise and Fall of the Galactic Empire." (Image credit: DK Publishing)

Here's the official description: 

"So this is how liberty dies — with thunderous applause."

— Senator Padmé Amidala

"When Palpatine declared the birth of his new Empire, he expected it would stand for millennia. Instead, it lasted only 24 years. This is the story of how a tyrannical regime rose from the ashes of democracy, ruled the galaxy with an iron fist, and then collapsed into dust.

"It is a story of war and heroes, of the power of propaganda and the dangers of complacency. But most of all, it is a story of normal people trying to live their lives in the face of a brutal dictatorship. From the ruthlessness of Darth Vader's campaigns to the horrors of the Tarkin Initiative, this book offers fresh new insights into the dark entity at the core of 'Star Wars.'"

Recent "Star Wars" TV series like Disney+'s "Andor" have steered stories toward the complex inner workings and psychological weapons employed by the Empire, which has created more curiosity as to how this multi-headed monster acquired so much so quickly, only to lose it all. 

Promotional material for "The Rise and Fall of the Galactic Empire." (Image credit: DK Publishing)

"So much of how we think about 'Star Wars' is based around what we see of the rebels. But that leaves a big empty space for the Empire," Kempshall told StarWars.com. "What was their experience of ruling the galaxy and fighting the war? What would people think about the Empire once it was gone?

"I’ve always found the Empire utterly fascinating both as a fan and then as a historian. Working on 'Star Wars: Battles that Changed the Galaxy' helped me think really long and hard about what in-universe historians might say about the Empire, but it only gave me a taste. I — much like Anakin — wanted more!

"That's what this book has been for me and Beaumont Kin. The chance to fully and deeply explore the realities of the Empire and to show all of you what it looks like up close. This is my first solo 'Star Wars,' book but it’s one I’ve wanted to write for most of my life."

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Jeff Spry
Contributing Writer

Jeff Spry is an award-winning screenwriter and veteran freelance journalist covering TV, movies, video games, books, and comics. His work has appeared at SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, Bleeding Cool and elsewhere. Jeff lives in beautiful Bend, Oregon amid the ponderosa pines, classic muscle cars, a crypt of collector horror comics, and two loyal English Setters.