Customer Reviews for

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Tons of information, very scholarly

This is the most in-depth account of Walt Disney I could ever imagine reading. In some cases too detailed. The author did his homework and then some! Not all of the repoted information was essential to knowing Disney. Still, a good book. One other issue, I consider mys...
This is the most in-depth account of Walt Disney I could ever imagine reading. In some cases too detailed. The author did his homework and then some! Not all of the repoted information was essential to knowing Disney. Still, a good book. One other issue, I consider myself to have a good vocabulary yet often had to look up words for their meanings. The author wore out his thesaurus I fear. I think he could have made the same points with more common wording.

posted by 8059185 on September 6, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

18 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

Well researched Ridiculous conclusions

This may be among the best researched books ever written about Walt Disney. Unfortunately, it proves to be one of the most conflicted when it comes to an author's conclusions. While the author demonstrates an outstanding knowledge of the facts surrounding Disney's li...
This may be among the best researched books ever written about Walt Disney. Unfortunately, it proves to be one of the most conflicted when it comes to an author's conclusions. While the author demonstrates an outstanding knowledge of the facts surrounding Disney's life, there is a marked change in tone when summarizing the impact of Walt Disney upon twentieth century culture. Common stories of separation and the hopeful longing for reconnection between children and parents are turned into far-fetched nightmares of unforgivable cruelty. In casting Walt Disney's career as resulting from his reaction to psychological abuse at the hands of his father, Gabler capably demonstrates that he did not talk to anyone who truly understood the complicated dynamic between these two men. In fact, the humanity of both men is diminished in the retelling of this particular episode. In addition, though Gabler faithfully reconstructs the story of Mickey Mouse's creation, he takes reason to the far side of imagination when he proposes that Mickey's 'deep and abiding popularity' was due in part to his 'sexual suggestiveness.' (p. 155) As with several less popular essays and biographies about Walt Disney that have been released in recent years, it seems that too many contemporary authors simply must reduce Walt Disney's success to the most crude levels imaginable. Since the book's release, the resulting critiques in the national press give testimony to the fact that a majority of reviewers have savored the opportunity to splash mud at the name of Walt Disney in the hope that such muckracking will sell more papers more books more magazines more advertising. 'Take a good shot at Walt! Only $25!' Students of Disney history will find plenty to appreciate in this text. However, even getting past the author's 'Introduction' was a chore. Never has one who was given such unprecedented access to the treasure of information found in the Walt Disney Archives summarized conclusions that were so bent. It is as if Gabler has two separate and distinct personalities each writing from platforms in complete opposition to one another. Which corporate genius at Disney gave away their rights to editorial control? How did the Walt Disney Company benefit from giving Gabler such unlimited access? How could anyone top Marc Eliot's ridiculous tale of the 'Dark Prince?' It appears that the impossible has been achieved. Layer upon layer, the life and story of Walt Disney is retold with the able mastery of one thoroughly acquainted with his subject. Even so, the conclusions which are reached seem to be viewed through a prism bending every truth into the outcome that the author had intended all along. If Gabler intended to retell Walt's story as only the author could have imagined it... well, he may have succeeded. Never let the truth get in the way of a writer's preconceived notions! Some of the more unique statements proposed by Gabler include: ** 'Disney was a protean.' ** Disney 'had Platonic templates in his head.' ** Disney's 'artistic status had plummeted' by the end of his life. ** Disney was 'transmogrified into aesthetic demagoguery and vulgarization.' ** Disney was 'widely identified with cultural degradation...' Maybe these things were perceived as true for a narrow slice of academically isolated intellectuals, but it is shameful to characterize such viewpoints as being common perspectives on the influence of Walt Disney. These were views not shared by the overwhelming majority of human beings inhabiting this planet during the twentieth century. This supposedly masterful biography on Walt Disney was crafted to begin with the examination of a myth which claimed that Walt Disney 'had been cryogenically preserved.' While he cannot state how such a ridiculous tale began, the author repeats a modern 'journalistic' approach and states with certainty that the source of the rumor 'may have been a tabloid...' Readers are supposed to ta

posted by Anonymous on December 13, 2006

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2006

    Well researched Ridiculous conclusions

    This may be among the best researched books ever written about Walt Disney. Unfortunately, it proves to be one of the most conflicted when it comes to an author's conclusions. While the author demonstrates an outstanding knowledge of the facts surrounding Disney's life, there is a marked change in tone when summarizing the impact of Walt Disney upon twentieth century culture. Common stories of separation and the hopeful longing for reconnection between children and parents are turned into far-fetched nightmares of unforgivable cruelty. In casting Walt Disney's career as resulting from his reaction to psychological abuse at the hands of his father, Gabler capably demonstrates that he did not talk to anyone who truly understood the complicated dynamic between these two men. In fact, the humanity of both men is diminished in the retelling of this particular episode. In addition, though Gabler faithfully reconstructs the story of Mickey Mouse's creation, he takes reason to the far side of imagination when he proposes that Mickey's 'deep and abiding popularity' was due in part to his 'sexual suggestiveness.' (p. 155) As with several less popular essays and biographies about Walt Disney that have been released in recent years, it seems that too many contemporary authors simply must reduce Walt Disney's success to the most crude levels imaginable. Since the book's release, the resulting critiques in the national press give testimony to the fact that a majority of reviewers have savored the opportunity to splash mud at the name of Walt Disney in the hope that such muckracking will sell more papers more books more magazines more advertising. 'Take a good shot at Walt! Only $25!' Students of Disney history will find plenty to appreciate in this text. However, even getting past the author's 'Introduction' was a chore. Never has one who was given such unprecedented access to the treasure of information found in the Walt Disney Archives summarized conclusions that were so bent. It is as if Gabler has two separate and distinct personalities each writing from platforms in complete opposition to one another. Which corporate genius at Disney gave away their rights to editorial control? How did the Walt Disney Company benefit from giving Gabler such unlimited access? How could anyone top Marc Eliot's ridiculous tale of the 'Dark Prince?' It appears that the impossible has been achieved. Layer upon layer, the life and story of Walt Disney is retold with the able mastery of one thoroughly acquainted with his subject. Even so, the conclusions which are reached seem to be viewed through a prism bending every truth into the outcome that the author had intended all along. If Gabler intended to retell Walt's story as only the author could have imagined it... well, he may have succeeded. Never let the truth get in the way of a writer's preconceived notions! Some of the more unique statements proposed by Gabler include: ** 'Disney was a protean.' ** Disney 'had Platonic templates in his head.' ** Disney's 'artistic status had plummeted' by the end of his life. ** Disney was 'transmogrified into aesthetic demagoguery and vulgarization.' ** Disney was 'widely identified with cultural degradation...' Maybe these things were perceived as true for a narrow slice of academically isolated intellectuals, but it is shameful to characterize such viewpoints as being common perspectives on the influence of Walt Disney. These were views not shared by the overwhelming majority of human beings inhabiting this planet during the twentieth century. This supposedly masterful biography on Walt Disney was crafted to begin with the examination of a myth which claimed that Walt Disney 'had been cryogenically preserved.' While he cannot state how such a ridiculous tale began, the author repeats a modern 'journalistic' approach and states with certainty that the source of the rumor 'may have been a tabloid...' Readers are supposed to ta

    18 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Tons of information, very scholarly

    This is the most in-depth account of Walt Disney I could ever imagine reading. In some cases too detailed. The author did his homework and then some! Not all of the repoted information was essential to knowing Disney. Still, a good book. One other issue, I consider myself to have a good vocabulary yet often had to look up words for their meanings. The author wore out his thesaurus I fear. I think he could have made the same points with more common wording.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2007

    An American Icon

    Over 600 pages of very interesting material. Excellent book on Walt's life. Learned a lot here.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2007

    Absolutely Fascinating!

    Contrary to other reviews, Gabler actually let the reader draw his or her own conclusions about Walt. Walt wasn't God, but a man who had trial, troubles and successes just like anyone else. Sure he tortured himself and we all do to a point. But while Walt was a definite visionary, he couldn't see that larger picture of life. Others did take advantage of him and he couldn't understand why others didn't just naturally see his own vision. He was driven and realized that the rules of the world would only bring him down, he played by his own rules and you have to respect him for that and yet, pity him at the same time. What a truly fascinating person.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    Profound insight into the life of a driven man...

    It was wonderful to read the factual account of a driven genius with a quest for perfection so intense that he defined the term "workaholic" for future generations. I recall Walt Disney on "The Mickey Mouse Club" surrounded by his "Mouseketeers" and "The Wonderful World of Color" on Sunday evenings, but this fatherly, paternalistic image I held of Walt Disney was revised when I read the biography by Neal Grabler. Far from being a "kindly gentleman," Walt Disney was a complex man who did not suffer "fools" gladly. His life was a series of successes bracketed by crushing disappointments and an inability to grasp how the subtle, day to day, human interactions with his employees and attention to "the bottom line" [he constantly battled with his brother, Roy, about financial matters within his empire] impacted his success. He was a visionary, a complex man and a creative genius. This biography is a must for those who want to look more deeply into the mistique and Magic of The Magic Kingdom. All the pathos of Walt's post-studio-strike years is etched in sharp relief, and although we will never know why he was such a different soul afterward, Neal Grabler leaves us with the factual information that enables the reader to draw his own conclusions.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    Thums up!

    Disney and disney channel have come so far. Walt Disney is the reason why we have such great old movies, and why new ones are coming out. Although the newer stuff is not compared to Walt's work... we will never forget what he gave us.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2012

    Highly recommended for any Disney Fan

    I found this book to be a really interesting read. It is for anyone who loves Disney. I learned so much about his struggles and determination to bring his ideas to fruition. It is a must read for any Disney Fan.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2012

    Great read

    Very detailed book. I enjoyed it very much.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2011

    Chalked full of great information

    Clearly well researched, but were it not for the intrigue of Disney himself this book would be very dry. Additionally, Gabler seems to enjoy Disney but every few pages realizes that he has been too kind to Disney and proceeds to throw in some critiques of the man. Either way, it's a good book. It's worth noting that I'm reading the ebook version which is perfect; however, when I downloaded the sample, the formatting was completely gone and whole parts were repeated--this is not true for the full version.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    A good in depth look into Walt's life though i found that the bo

    A good in depth look into Walt's life though i found that the book
    jumped around a lot and often had me re reading sections to make sure I
    didn't miss anything. The writer presents both sides of Walt and offers
    interesting views of him and his company.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    To person who wrote on january 10

    I this book good for a nine year old

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 10, 2014

    This is a great book if you're a Walt Disney fan like I am. It s

    This is a great book if you're a Walt Disney fan like I am. It starts from his childhood and even a little bit of family history from before his birth. It is somewhat of a difficult read, there are a lot of BIG words used that I had to get the dictionary out for, otherwise I would have given it 5 stars. It's a wonderful book about a wonderful man. I would recommend to any Disney fan, young and old.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Tom cruise is playing you in a movie

    WHAT!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2013

    Amazing

    Niw i understand so things that u didnt before at Disneyland. Really goid book. High read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Amazing

    Great book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    His true biography

    Wow ok this is epic the real deal

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Great read!

    Walt was a very interesting man and a true genius and you learn things fro this book that reinforce that

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Great

    Awsome great book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    hav 2 do report

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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