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Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination | [Neal Gabler]

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

Seven years in the making and meticulously researched - Gabler is the first writer to be given complete access to the Disney archives - this is the full story of a man whose work left an ineradicable brand on our culture but whose life has largely been enshrouded in myth.
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Publisher's Summary

Seven years in the making and meticulously researched - Gabler is the first writer to be given complete access to the Disney archives - this is the full story of a man whose work left an ineradicable brand on our culture but whose life has largely been enshrouded in myth.

Gabler shows us the young Walt Disney breaking free of a heartland childhood of discipline and deprivation and making his way to Hollywood. We see the visionary, whose desire for escape honed an innate sense of what people wanted to see on the screen and, when combined with iron determination and obsessive perfectionism, led him to the reinvention of animation. It was Disney, first with Mickey Mouse and then with his feature films - most notably Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, and Bambi - who transformed animation from a novelty based on movement to an art form that presented an illusion of life.

The author also reveals a wounded, lonely, and often disappointed man, who, despite worldwide success, was plagued with financial problems, suffered a nervous breakdown, and at times retreated into pitiable seclusion in his workshop, making model trains. Gabler explores accusations that Disney was a red-baiter, an anti-Semite, and an embittered alcoholic. Yet whatever his personal failings, Disney appealed to millions by demonstrating the power of wish fulfillment and the triumph of the American imagination.

©2006 Neal Gabler; (P)2006 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Thorough...[and] engrossing." (Publishers Weekly)
"A balanced treatment of the man and his achievements, realistically assessing Disney's considerable impact and offering insight into the hidden, restless soul who constantly challenged himself." (Booklist)
"We've all been waiting for the perfect book on Walt Disney; it has finally arrived and Neal Gabler's done it. Wonderful!" (Ray Bradbury)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (517 )
5 star
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4.3 (352 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Gnorb Ft. Lauderdale, FL 06-28-15
    Gnorb Ft. Lauderdale, FL 06-28-15 Member Since 2013

    A customer

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    52
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Definitive."

    There is no way around this: this is the definitive biography on Walt Disney. The only issue that I had with it was getting mired in minutia. Nevertheless, after reading this you will have a full understanding of the man. The miss will melt away, and present itself not for the façade that some plain it is, but for the single part it plays in the life of a multifaceted person.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda 06-16-15
    Melinda 06-16-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "EXCELLENT TALE OF THE MASTER STORYTELLER"

    Growing up on Pinocchio, Davy Crockett, Lady & The Tramp, Peter Pan, The Mickey Mouse Club, etc, etc., I knew Walt Disney aka "Uncle Walt" was very special person but I had no idea of the devastating lows he had to soldier through on the road to his many stunning achievements A lesser person would have given up
    100 times!
    This is a careful and comprehensive study of Walt Disney's life from beginning to end. Well researched and well-written it shows Walt in all his facets. Neal Gabler is objective, not fawning or hypercritical, and his work makes for a fascinating story of a true American genius!

    PS: The narrator, Arthur Morey, was easy to listen to and his low key style did not get in the way of the words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew H. 05-31-15
    Drew H. 05-31-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    1
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    Story
    "Thorough biography but the recording is agonizing"
    What did you love best about Walt Disney?

    Very thorough - may bore some but I found the small details and records to be interesting.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The guy who read this book for 33 hours sounded like he hated every second of it and was a poor choice for a Walt Disney biography. I don't mind dry and emotionless reading as it can be nice to allow the listener to form their own opinion but this guy just sounded bitter and therefore made Walt Disney sound bitter.


    Any additional comments?

    Still worth listening to if you want a full and accurate account of Walt Disney's life you just have to get used to the recording.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie Kramer 05-26-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    12
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "This book is not about the destination, it's about the journey"

    I kept wondering how long this book could be, and when would it ever end. I dragged the last five hours of audio out for weeks, because at that point; I didn't want it to ever end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DBL07.CO Web Design Columbia SC Columbia, SC 05-21-15
    DBL07.CO Web Design Columbia SC Columbia, SC 05-21-15 Member Since 2015

    DBL07.co

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nice to See Walt was ADD like me :)"

    this is a very detailed great book that shows despite his dysfunction in life or obstacles his tenacity and drive propelled him to amazing Heights.
    Matthew Rings
    CEO &Founder DBL07
    DBL07.co

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cameron Hinkle Portland, OR 05-05-15
    Cameron Hinkle Portland, OR 05-05-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
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    "Perfect for Disney nerds"

    After watching several documentaries, I was looking for something that would give me some really detailed information about Walt and the Disney company. This was great. My only disappointment is that it ends when he dies (of course), so now I have to find a book about the Disney company after he passed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brewherns 04-17-15
    brewherns 04-17-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    7
    1
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    Story
    "An amazing Human being!!"

    Such an American Icon/Hero!! Such an inspiration. So glad I decided to listen to this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JustMyTake Seattle, WA 04-09-15
    JustMyTake Seattle, WA 04-09-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not all the magic you'd expect"
    What did you love best about Walt Disney?


    Who was your favorite character and why?


    What about Arthur Morey’s performance did you like?


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    This took about three weeks to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    Great book, disappointing to hear that Walt Disney was not the man we have all made him out to be. Interesting book nonetheless.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David A. Heckman 04-09-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Every entertaining"

    I am very much a Disneyfanatic. Ice work at Disneyland grew up on Disney own practically every Disney movie. I know a good part of the history and culture that is Walt Disney. This book gave me a deeper appreciation and knowledge in detail on more of his life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to others who love his lore.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Franks Texas! 03-25-15
    Ron Franks Texas! 03-25-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    6
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    "Definitive Disney: Warts and All"

    Loved this book. I'm a Disney-O-Phile, and it was in depth (30+ hours), detailed, and carefully researched, footnotes everywhere. I understand Walt's daughter doesn't like it, but I came away with a greater appreciation of the man. Well worth the admittedly long listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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