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DisneyWar | [James B. Stewart]

DisneyWar

Once upon a time, one man ruled America's greatest entertainment company. This is the untold story of his triumphs and failures, and of the revolt that cost him his kingdom.
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Publisher's Summary

Once upon a time, one man ruled America's greatest entertainment company. This is the untold story of his triumphs and failures, and of the revolt that cost him his kingdom.

"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

What the Critics Say

"Stewart has an astonishing story to tell. His notable accomplishment is that he tells it so well. The book is hypnotically absorbing." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    P Mt. Pleasant, SC, United States 05-13-13
    P Mt. Pleasant, SC, United States 05-13-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "Great story, awful production"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael P. Markley 03-27-13
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    "The Insanity"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    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.


    What other book might you compare DisneyWar to and why?

    None other.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Patrick Lawlor?

    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.


    If you could give DisneyWar a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The Insanity


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA, United States 03-25-13
    J FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Corporate Politics of the Happiest Place on Earth"
    What made the experience of listening to DisneyWar the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of DisneyWar?

    The depiction of Michael Eisner and the believable delivery of the author when quoting him.


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

    He sounded a lot like the real Michael Eisner and was really able to bring the hostility that was presented by the author.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DarcyB Melbourne, Australia 07-20-12
    DarcyB Melbourne, Australia 07-20-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Too much dramatization, poorly produced"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    Has DisneyWar turned you off from other books in this genre?

    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.


    What aspect of Patrick Lawlor’s performance would you have changed?

    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.)


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    It would only be a MOTW and no.


    Any additional comments?

    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.)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. Adlfinger 06-02-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Horrible Production"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    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.??


    Would you be willing to try another one of Patrick Lawlor???s performances?

    Yes. One of the best readers.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Surrey, BC, Canada 05-23-12
    Robert Surrey, BC, Canada 05-23-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A fun book that gets slightly weighed down . . ."

    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).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Anthold Porter Ranch, CA, United States 11-21-11
    Dave Anthold Porter Ranch, CA, United States 11-21-11 Member Since 2013
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    "Behind the Disney Magic"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kurt 10-20-11
    kurt 10-20-11
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    "A Disney fan "must listen""

    I had read this book in hardcover when it came out and thoroughly enjoyed it. I listened to it recently and enjoyed it all over again like it was the first time. If you are a person that has grown up with Disney and a follower of the company, this book is an absolute must to listen to.

    The narrator actually did a great job being Michael Eisner throughout the audio. Listen to the book “Walt Disney” by Neal Gabler first because “DisneyWar” seems to practically slides right in where Neal’s left off.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 10-07-11
    Ryan SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 10-07-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Very interesting and surprising look at Disney"

    As others have mentioned, the editing on audiobook is not perfect, with a handful of places where the narrator restarts at random and a couple of errors, but it doesn't detract from a very interesting and engaging story. It certainly puts the Eisner years of Disney into new perspective. It seems Eisner was both a blessing and a curse for the Disney company. Who knew a company that people treasure for family values was home to high levels of corporate backstabbing and high drama. It certainly puts the DVD and Blu-Ray retrospectives on the animated movies from the era in a whole new perspective. I enjoyed the book, it was a rollercoaster of a story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Smith 10-06-11
    A. Smith 10-06-11
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    "This Hooks You"

    Although it starts so slowly you might want to not listen at all, keep going. It is very timely especially with Steve Jobs' death. Not to use a movie metaphor, but this book gives us a peek, heck, not a peek, it yanks the curtain down. I always thought Katzenberg & Ovitz were 1) "bad guy" and 2) "the dummy", but that was just the spin. You'll also read in detail about Eisenberg's relationship with Jobs, well, I don't want to give it away, but Steve is quite emotional about M. Eisenberg. If you watched TV, went shopping in a mall, visited D-land or Orlando or watched any blockbuster movies, you will want to read (aka listen) this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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