"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)
Some reviews focused on issues with the editing, but I found any errors to be very minor and not at all distracting. The book itself was incredibly interesting and very well laid out. Furthermore, the narrator did an excellent job. After 16 hours of listening I began to dread the that only 8 hours remained. What makes this story so fascinating is the amazing behind the scenes view which caused my repeated astonishment at the way these executives behave. The story is often uplifting as you hear early brainstorming sessions about potential movies such as The Lion King and The Sixth Sense. However, this is outdone by the descriptions of boardroom struggles, executive infighting and the vast sums of money that seem to fly around.
There are seven indisputable technical errors in this audiobook: two in the first download; two in the second; and three in the third. However, they happen so fast and are so quickly corrected that you won't even linger on them. I resisted downloading this book for a week because of the previous reviews, but I have to say now that I'm so glad I bought it. It is, quite simply, a remarkable work, one that will grab you by the guts and drag you along. To say that there are "50" errors, as a previous reviewer stated, is hyperbole. The reader does pause occasionally, but none of those pauses lasts for more than three seconds, and they certainly don't affect the experience. If you download DisneyWar, you won't be disappointed.
An amazing tale of the rise and fall of Disney during the Eisner era. A lot of detail here, including full blow-by-blow accounts of the Katzenberg and Ovitz fiascos.
It's largely critical of Eisner, but it does give him credit for much of the incredible success of the 80s. It essentially divides the Eisner years into two eras: during Wells' tenure as President, when everything Eisner touched turned to gold, and after Wells' death, when everything Eisner touched turned to lead. Makes you wonder where Disney would have been if Wells hadn't died so tragically.
The narrator is excellent. Overall, highly recommended for anyone who is interested in Disney and/or corporate politics.
I would love to give James B. Stewart's Disney War a five star rating. His work in compiling this important document is impeccable and I respected his effort and the final product. HOWEVER, the editing and narration of this book were nightmarish. Mispronunciations galore, but even worse we were subjected to passages repeated many times. Obviously the narrator was doing a couple of takes on certain sections and the editor left them all in for us to ponder. What a disgrace to an author's work. This audiobook is ludicrous.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in corporate America and/or the Walt Disney Co. in particular. After reading the initial reviews of this book from other listeners I almost didn't buy it. While there are some minor, very minor, problems with the audio book they are more than made up for by the dynamic reading this book has received.
The authors writing style is completely captivating and I found myself wanting the book to continue on even after the nearly 26 hours I had devoted to its reading.
This is a must-read!
If Disney's movies and tv efforts were as fascinating as this book, they'd be back at number one in the entertainment field. This is so well written and researched that it holds you captive till the end, waiting to see what happens next like a great mystery. Great choice, even for those who are not usually interested in corporate non-fiction.
I enjoyed Mr. Stewart's startling portrait of Michael Eisner's tumultuous reign at Disney very much. However, this is easily the most error-filled audiobook I've yet encountered. While I didn't keep track, I'd guess there were 50 mistakes that were evident to me, all things that should be caught in editing and proofing: repeated phrases, repeated words, long silences, mis-spoken names (Eiger when it should be Eisner, ABC when it should be CBS, etc.) Proofing a 25-hour audio book is no doubt a tedious task, but releasing the audiobook in this ragged form seems rather disrespectful of the listener, and a shame for such a quality work.
I love the book, but the editing was horrendous. Repeated phrases, mispoken words, "corrected" words from the speaker without removing the "incorrect" words. In many spots, it was like a rough cut directly from the recording studio, without final editing. Absolutely no attention was paid to the editing of this product. Very disappointing.
The only reason I am not giving this book five stars is because of the technical problems. I found myself comparing The Disney Companies to companies for which I have worked and the people to those with whom I have worked. I am coming away with a little more understanding of the frustrations and personalities of the higher ups in the organizations. I have worked with a few Eisners and it "ain't fun".
By an incredible coincidence of timing, the author was given access to the inner workings of a corporate giant during a time when corporate leadership was unravelling. This is a great text for anyone interested in the evolution and tranformation of Disney, OR, the workings of leadership vs power between a CEO and a company's board, OR a great treatise on why governance rules and regulations have had to change in the last 5 years above and beyond the exploits of Enron. If ALL THREE interest you, this book is a grand slam. This book is almost a novelization of the corporate history of Disney and specifically Eisner, and reads more like a story than a business text. But the lessons are there for all to learn from, if nothing else as a shareholder to consider when making votes in an annual proxy. Good reading.
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