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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, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
18 out of 22 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, 2006Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.