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
"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)
Great narrative about a creative focused visionary
I was already a Walt Disney fan but to hear his story from youth to legend was very interesting.
I enjoyed hearing all the stories I have heard about the early days of Disney (plus some others) put together in a coherent whole.
That it's real.
It makes me truly glad that I never met Walt Disney himself to let him ruin my appreciation for his work.
There is a tremendous amount of pop psychology in this book. There's nothing that Walt Disney ever did that Gabler can't come up with some dark psychological reason for, as opposed to just letting the reader/listener figure out motivations for themselves. Sometimes we just need to accept that people do things because it seems like the right thing at the time.
Overall, a really good book that details the life of Walter Elias Disney is great detail. The only hangup is the performance delivered by the voiceover. He's extremely bland and monotone in his delivery. The storyline itself is exciting but the Voiceover performance bored me and I fell asleep a few times.
Very well put
The Illusion of Life. Sums up Disney's work.
Very much. Very fluid, not monotone.
The introduction quote from William Blake and cryogenic story.
Very long, but very interesting.
Maybe too thorough? This biography changed my preception of both the man and his works. A very informative and personal look into Walt Disney's life. Highly recommended.
This was a VERY long book about Disney's life and the everlasting impact he made on his family, the public, USA society, USA politics and the entire world. There is lot of historical information and some side info I could have done without but all in all I am grateful to Disney for the change he brought to our world and that I got to listen to some of his life's events! I'm also glad I finally finished the book! lol
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