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)
A truly engaging biography. When Walt was going through rough patches, facing criticism or potential bankruptcy (quite often, as it turns out) I'd be hanging on every word, as if what I were reading was fiction and I was waiting for the moment where the hero pulls through. The episodic way in which the story is told not necessarily chronologically, but by project, works hugely in its favor.
I tried following along with cartoons, features and live action projects as I whizzed through this one, and while I ultimately couldn't keep up (I got through 1946's 'Make Mine Music' by the end) I'd highly recommend doing the same while you read this.
I love the attention to detail that's expressed in this book without, like in some historical or biographical works, making it seem dry or unfocused- everything is in the service of the narrative and emotional core of the piece. Longest audiobook I've read to date by far, yet it feels like it's been one of the fastest to go by. An absolutely incredible read.
Audible narrator is excellent. I wouldn't change a thing about his performance.
This is all about Disney the man. It shows his highs and lows. If you're looking for a story about the company and it's cultural impact, this is not the one. If you're curious about learning what was going on with Walt Disney during different points in time, this is the book for you.
This first half of the book leading up to World War II is excellent. The second half of the book seemed to drag on.
What I liked the best about Walt Disney was his never ending efforts to achieve perfection.
What I liked the least about Walt Disney was his self-centered nature and callous attitude towards others.
The ending wasn't surprising, since you can read all about his life online, but it was sad. Listening to the significance of the ending of that era for Disney was a little heavy.
The narration did a good job to match the pace of the story. The first part of it is a little slow,but it picks up.
Definitely. I'd love to see a biopic on Walt Disney.
This book starts out a little dry and slow, but if you are interested in Disney and the history of the industry, it's worth finishing.
This biography provides is both an educational depiction of life in the US during the early to mid fifties, as well as a book filled with timeless examples of leadership and management issues in business.
The most enjoyable thing about listening to this book, is gaining the insight of Mr. Walt Disney. Learning how he developed throughout his life, how he had perseverance, and the struggle that he was against.
This audio book was very detailed, and it allowed me to relate to all the small events that took place is Disney's life. This is a must read for entrepreneur and business like minded people
Absolutely! Although the book was much longer and thicker than I thought, it took me about a month and a half to get through, it was very insightful.
He "sounded" like Walt, like I am imagining Walt talking and Mr. Morey played the part perfectly! Also, he was consistent the entire time throughout the book! Which is a feat considering it was 70 hours long.
The beginning intro, relating Disney to American culture and life was written beautifully.
When Walt created his first company....and failed....and his constant "girt" throughout his life to never stop moving.
And the ending...in which it was very sad and emotional.
In my opinion...the book was very long. Not bad, but I lost interest in many spots. It tends to go on rants about different parties and issues regarding Walt, rather than just getting to the point.
Else then that, it was a perfect book
His passion for creating Snow White. The people/workers who double crossed him. How his mom died. How he knew his time was coming to an end and would often get sentimental.
Very inspiring book. Walt Disney did so much in a time when the world was at war and America was just coming into it's own. The book is very long 33 + hours but well worth it. You learn about everything from his childhood, first jobs, failures, how Mickey Mouse was created, Snow White, Bambi, Mickey Mouse club, DisneyLand etc... Recommended!
Mom of 2 boys ... originally from Brooklyn, NY now living in beautiful Nevada!
I couldnt get thru the whole book the beginning was soooo long and deatiled about his childhood it just was way too much detail.
Very Talent and unique
listening to how they made Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the book.
The Story behind Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book which were his last to films before his death in 1966.
I seen the book in my local bookstore and after hearing that American Experience on PBS was doing a documentary about him that would premiere in the Fall of 2015. It made me want to read the book before the documentary air on PBS.
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