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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 (478 )
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Performance
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  •  
    brewherns 04-17-15
    brewherns 04-17-15 Member Since 2014
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    "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
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    "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
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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
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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
  •  
    Nicole west vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 02-13-15
    Nicole west vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 02-13-15 Member Since 2012
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    "PONTIFICATING GAS BAG"
    What disappointed you about Walt Disney?

    The authors negative focus turned me off within 15 minutes ...


    What could Neal Gabler have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    ...


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Arthur Morey?

    Narration was not the issue.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    ...


    Any additional comments?

    ...

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mama Bethany Washington State 01-20-15
    Mama Bethany Washington State 01-20-15 Member Since 2014

    Mama Bethany

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    "Enjoyable but a bit dry, not my favorite"
    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    All of the detail shared regarding the production of Snow White and especially details about how the characters were designed and the scenes animated.


    Any additional comments?

    A lot of research and care went into this book -- and I appreciate that.
    I like the parts about Walt Disney's early life and as he started being successful.
    Seems like the last half of the book went more into the business aspect of the Walt Disney company and not so much of the Disney magic.
    This book is a 31 hour listen -- it didn't keep my interest. If it was a hard copy I would have skipped large sections and only read the parts I was interested in. As it was, I took long breaks where I listened to other stuff in between. I think I finished this in about 2 months.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 01-07-15
    Tim United States 01-07-15 Member Since 2011

    Putting books on the back burner.

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    "Disappointing Ride"

    The biography on "Walt Disney" by Neal Gabler is tedious, dull, and boring. I was expecting more of Mr. Disney's life and the magic kingdom, but too much detail on the business, going broke, and the making of Snow White. I almost couldn't finish this book because there were too many footnotes after footnotes. I bought the wrong book because I learned nothing on the creator, other than being a tyrant. It was like waiting in line and being disappointed with the ride.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda Colon 08-28-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book and so well written!"
    Would you listen to Walt Disney again? Why?

    I loved listening to this book! It chronicles the life of Walt Disney beginning with his parents and ends with his death and how Disney would continue thereafter. The book described the good times and the bad times, Walt's strengths and weaknesses through each new stage of his life and career. He even explains the new inventions in animation and what Walt's competition was developing at the same time. Throughout the whole book, he sites legit references. The author's use of vocabulary is excellent. A great book for any one interested in how all that is Disney came to be.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This is a biography about the life of Walt Disney.


    What does Arthur Morey bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Arthur Morey is so easy to listen to and does a great job using the inflections in his voice while reading out loud.


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

    No, I listened to this book on average 4- 6 hours a week and it took me about 2-3 months. But I was only listening during my 1 hr commute to work, each time I worked and occasionally more at home while cleaning, doing laundry, etc. So convenient.


    Any additional comments?

    No, I think I said it all above.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    daniel s edwards portland, me United States 08-12-14
    daniel s edwards portland, me United States 08-12-14 Member Since 2013
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    "BIASED AND FACTUALLY IMPERFECT, BUT DETAILED"
    Would you try another book from Neal Gabler and/or Arthur Morey?

    I feel they had a bit of an agenda in writing this book - Gabler kept reiterating that Walt had a tough upbringing that made him a control freak who sought escape into a dream world. This is too speculative to me. While Walt clearly was a stern taskmaster and a perfectionist, could it be his goal was simply to produce great work? While I appreciate the research that went into this book (despite the long list of inaccuracies fellow historian Michael Barrier has posted online), I could have done without the armchair psychology.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate 06-02-14
    Nate 06-02-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Life Lessons as well as a Biography"
    Where does Walt Disney rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is the best audiobook I have listened to, it is an extremely well written book and narrated very well. I retain information better if I hear it and with all the information in this book I remember it a lot more than when I read the book a few years ago.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is full of life lessons of perseverance, triumph, success, and inspiration. It is a must read for any Disney fan as well as a must read for anyone considering starting their own business. Walt Disney's life was full of trials and success and is an inspiration for anyone.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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