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Publisher's Summary

Seven years in the making and meticulously researched - Gabler is the first writer to be given complete access to the Disney archives - this is the full story of a man whose work left an ineradicable brand on our culture but whose life has largely been enshrouded in myth.

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

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Possibly best read yet...

I've read a lot of entrepreneurial books of late but this was so comprehensive and well written. Something every leader should read.

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what an incredible story.

great narration. super interesting and inspiring. As a fan of Disney this is a must read. I just finished I might read again for a second time

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Great book!

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.

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Extensive research

If you could sum up Walt Disney in three words, what would they be?

Very well put

What other book might you compare Walt Disney to and why?

The Illusion of Life. Sums up Disney's work.

What about Arthur Morey’s performance did you like?

Very much. Very fluid, not monotone.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The introduction quote from William Blake and cryogenic story.

Any additional comments?

Very long, but very interesting.

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A Delightful Surprise

I did not expect this book to be so engaging. Well written, well researched, excellent reading (it's better at 1.25 speed).

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Very thorough.

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.

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In depth look at Disney's life

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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inspiring

great book, great man, enough said. a a a a a a a a a a 20 word minimum

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What a story! 40 hours and wish it was longer.

If you are a Disney fan, this is a must read. I grew up going to Disney World and was amazed at the level of detail that went into the operation. Years later, I dropped out of college as an entrepreneur major and went to Disney World to learn how one man could bring so many ideas to fruition. A decision that truly taught me so much more than I could have ever learned on a college campus. I always admired Walt for his entrepreneurial spirit. Despite experiencing Disney Traditions, Disney University and working as a cast member for many years, I learned many things I did not know about this man and all of his accomplishments. For someone who thought they knew all there was to know... I really learned a lot.

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Remarkable

This is a long listen but worth every minute. You realize that Disney was the precursor of Steve Jobs but perhaps even more visionary.