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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
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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)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By M. S. Cohen on 11-12-13

Best biography I've listened to in a long time

From the first sentence, this book hooked me in.

Disney's life and struggle to succeed is fascinating.

What I really appreciated was reading how he ran his company. He pushed his employees, artists and animators, to do more than they thought they could do.

He also started the company with pool tables, fun events, and other diversions.

I was surprised at this. In so many descriptions of how he ran the company, it sounded like the genius and drive of Steve Jobs combined with the fun of Google's offices.

It made me realize that today's pioneers sometimes ride down the same road already paved in the past.

Get the book. Listen to it. You'll never look at "the mouse" the same way again.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Amanda on 02-15-13

Diane Disney

"A monstrous piece of libelous junk. My parents were not the people he creates in this book, and I cannot understand why all of you who aided and abetted Gabler in writing this book, and who praise it and promote it, can do so without suffering serious qualms." - Diane Disney Miller, Walt's oldest daughter.

It's unfortunate that Neal Gabler made so many errors in this book. A partial list of errors can be found online.

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90 of 105 people found this review helpful

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