Walt Disney

Walt Disney

4.29 (2,703 ratings by Goodreads)
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Walt Disney is an American hero--the creator of Mickey Mouse, and a man who changed the face of American culture. After years of research, with the full cooperation of the Disney family and access to private papers and letters, Bob Thomas produced the definitive biography of the man behind the legend--the unschooled cartoonist from Kansas City who went bankrupt on his first movie venture but became the genius who produced unmatched works of animation. Complete with a rare collection of photographs, Bob Thomas' biography is a fascinating and inspirational work that captures the spirit of Walt Disney.show more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 156 x 233 x 31mm | 678g
  • Hyperion
  • Disney Editions
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • photographs on plates.
  • 0786860278
  • 9780786860272
  • 77,119

Review Text

The scenario sounds promising: Walt Diney's metamorphosis from a self-trained, second-rate, bankruptcy-prone cartoonist into the pioneering mastermind of mass entertainment. But Bob Thomas' biographies (Thalberg, Winchell and Selzniek, among others) sit on the brain the way a lifesaver sits on the tongue - sticky-sweet and long-lasting, with a big hole in the middle. Walt Disney is doubly hollow, devoid of either psychological portraiture or artistic evaluations. Instead the biographer serves up a pleasant, plodding what-Wait-did-next account, mercifully punctuated by choice excerpts from the `story meetings` that sparked Disney studio projects. More of those excerpts (and less about Walt's sons-in-law or his fondness for chili) might have conjured up the Disney gift for matching music with images or the Disney genius for comedy. Thomas concentrates rather on the Disney bank balances. The writing perks up noticeably when the miles of Disney red ink finally begin to turn very, very black. The strongest chapters celebrate the nativity of Disneyland; the weakest skim lightly over such masterpieces as `Fantasia` and `Bambi.` Controversial items (like Disney's McCarthy-era politics) are skirted, critical contributions (like Richard Schickers The Disney Version) are ignored, and an aura of folksy hagiography creeps in as Disney approaches senior citizenry. Yet his quoted words exude so much vitality that Bob Thomas's pallid but detail-crammed volume may supply some satisfaction. It's more likely; however, to justify its paper consumption by its usefulness to the biographer who someday connects the man with his legacies. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

2,703 ratings
4.29 out of 5 stars
5 49% (1,311)
4 36% (974)
3 13% (339)
2 2% (51)
1 1% (28)

Our customer reviews

Comprehensive and touching, highly engaging and it offers a really wonderful insight into the man behind the name and legacy. The author only recently passed away this March at a ripe age of ninety-something My only quibble is if it could've been longer and more detailed. This is the authorized biography also using the author (Bob Thomas's) interviews with the man himself and who was also able to access some part of the Disney Archives If you want a real, honest biography that is thoroughly engaging and does not do extensive psychoanalysis by an author who never met Mr. Walt Disney, nor is a psychologist nor even has an appreciation for animation (referring to them as 'animations') then don't get Neal Gabler's book, which Diane Disney Miller (who recently passed away, bless her soul) condemned it and was upset with the portrayal of her father If you want THE biography of Mr. Walt Disney, this is it. If you'd like more extensive notes, particularly on the production of those iconic feature animation films he made, Michael Barrier's book 'The Animated Man' is a great read too, but is more suited for the hardcore Disney fanatic.show more
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