"When You Wish Upon a Star", "Whistle While You Work", "The Happiest Place on Earth", these are lyrics indelibly linked to Disney, one of the most admired and best-known companies in the world. So when Roy Disney, chairman of Walt Disney Animation and nephew of founder Walt Disney, abruptly resigned in November 2003 and declared war on chairman and chief executive Michael Eisner, he sent shock waves through the entertainment industry, corporate boardrooms, theme parks, and living rooms around the world, everywhere that Disney does business and its products are cherished.
DisneyWar is the breathtaking, dramatic inside story of what drove America's best-known entertainment company to civil war, told by one of our most acclaimed writers and reporters.
Here, too, is the creative process that lies at the heart of Disney, from the making of The Lion King to Pirates of the Caribbean. Even as the executive suite has been engulfed in turmoil, Disney has worked, and sometimes clashed, with a glittering array of stars, directors, designers, artists, and producers, many of whom tell their stories here for the first time.
Stewart describes how Eisner lost his chairmanship and why he felt obliged to resign as CEO, effective 2006. No other book so thoroughly penetrates the secretive world of the corporate boardroom. DisneyWar is an enthralling tale of one of America's most powerful media and entertainment companies, the people who control it, and those trying to overthrow them.
DisneyWar is an epic achievement. In its sudden twists, its vivid, larger-than-life characters, and its thrilling climax, it tells a story that might itself have been the subject of a Disney animated classic, except that it's all true.
©2005 James B. Stewart; (P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Stewart has an astonishing story to tell. His notable accomplishment is that he tells it so well. The book is hypnotically absorbing." (Publishers Weekly)
This is less about a war at Disney than it is a detailed (and exhaustively documented) history of Michael Eisner's time as the head of Disney, and the changes to the company and its culture that he oversaw. As an employee of the entertainment industry, I found this book very interesting, and the insider information, especially as much of it occurs in recent memory, is entertaining without being titillating. This is strictly an insider's view of the inner workings of Disney, however; what is missing is the context to put the events depicted in comparison to the workings of other entertainment companies. Fans of Disney may find this book interesting, since it explores what makes the Disney experience so distinct, and questions whether Eisner has improved that experience or not. The narration was good but not great; Lawlor's voice was more informal than I would have liked, and he seemed a bit rushed to get through the pages.
Compelling from the start till the end. Grabs you right away. A fascinating look at the behind the boardroom politics at one of the largest entertainment companies in the world....with egos to match.There were a few snafu's in the editing and performance, but they in no way took away from the story or pace.
Getting an insight in to the corporate culture.
The board meetings.
No. This was spread out during my commute to and from work.
This is good book, but it can get a little dry. You certainly start rooting for the bad guy to get his.
I loved the story and the the narrator did a great job, but the production was terrible- did no one proof this before it went out? There are numerous instances when a selection is repeated, sometimes with completely different inflection. I have never heard such a shoddy product from Audible before. It's clearly not the narrator's fault- unless, of course, he is supposed to proof this audio. As for the actual story, I have always been an admirer of Michael Eisner, but after this book, I wouldn't let him run a lemonade stand.
I would recommend this book to a Disney stock holder or a person thinking of purchasing stock. I think they need to know how crazy this good company was once run.
He isn't the best and I wouldn't listen to a book because he was reading it but it wouldn't stop me from purchasing.
An interesting story that not only delved into the history of the company, but intersected with other stories (like the Pixar elements that overlapped with the recent Steve Jobs biography). It was a captivating story that left me wanting more beyond the timeframe when the book was published in 2004.
The depiction of Michael Eisner and the believable delivery of the author when quoting him.
He sounded a lot like the real Michael Eisner and was really able to bring the hostility that was presented by the author.
No. The author dramatizes too much to which he could not have been privy and states his conclusions without attributing his sources, or justifying his opinions with unbiased information - this is not non-fiction, it's a fictionalization.
Only in as much as I will be avoiding this narrator and he does seem to be cast for quite a bit of non-fiction.
I found his accent and timbre a little too strident to be comfortable to listen to for long, but that's possibly subject. What isn't subjective is Lawlor's raging case of 'tag lag' - when a narrator allows the emotion of dialogue to continue into the tag so, " "Oh no!" she said." becomes " "Oh no," she said!" It's not a problem on occasion (though a good director aims not to let any slip through) but it's constant in this book (and probably made worse when the listener is already annoyed by the dramatization anyway.)
It would only be a MOTW and no.
I hate to say this (as someone who directed audio books for many years) but I think this book probably suffered for being made into audio :( I might have to get a print copy out of the library to see if it works better on the page than in audio - perhaps Stewart used footnotes to attribute/explain the liberties he took with dramatizations (though it should be in the main text.)
Excellent reader. I found a few facts to be inaccurate. Overall it would have been good but I kept being distracted by all of the production errors. It is as if they skipped the editing step when producing the audio.??
Yes. One of the best readers.
Stewart did his research when writting this book it definitely has a fly on the wall feel, However, the fly on the wall feel gets a bit exhausting after long blocks of bickering; who hates who; and who said what to whom; and summaries of board governances and movements within the organization and board. Also I found it hard to keep track of all the players and their movement within the organization (if you go to the Amazon website for the book and 'Look Inside' you can get a full cast list on the first pages but even that did not help my confusion).
That in mind this book as a whole is a real fun listen about the history of Disney under Eisner's reign from the early 80's to mid 2000's. There are some great anecdotes about the operations of the company (the real strength of the book), production stories, and the decison making (good and bad) that goes on behind the scenes of one fo the largest media companies in the world.
The centre of the story is Micheal Eisner Disney CEO for 20 years who Stewart gives almost a Charles Foster Kane type treatment. The reader is also treated to a parade of other interesting characters and egos like Mike Ovitz, Jeffery Katzenburg (that little midget as Eisner calls him).
The naration is good but I sometimes was confused if he was talking about Eisner or Iger (another major player in ths book).
Disney War is one of the most thought provoking and insightful looks inside the company that has transformed American imagination. The investigative journalistic style brought to life by Stewart takes you on a thrill ride over the 20 year reign of Michael Eisner. Some of the industry giants such as Katzenberg, Roy E Disney, and Igar surfaced during this history lesson of the Walt Disney Company.
Make sure your seat belts are fastened as you travel through history with a look back at Disney's humble beginnings, and then fashioned itself into a movie-making powerhouse that saw hits like The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Lost while losing out on some TV hits like Survivor, CSI and The Apprentice.
This rare look inside the Disney Corporation was eye-opening and a wonderful read. I would highly recommend this read to anyone who would love to peer inside what made Disney tick or didn't.
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