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Team Rodent : How Disney Devours the World Paperback – Unabridged, May 5, 1998

139 customer reviews

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Team Rodent : How Disney Devours the World + Dance of the Reptiles: Rampaging Tourists, Marauding Pythons, Larcenous Legislators, Crazed Celebrities, and Tar-Balled Beaches: Selected Columns (Vintage Original) + Skink--No Surrender
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Editorial Reviews Review

Let's get one thing straight: Carl Hiaasen doesn't like the Walt Disney Company. Whenever the giant entertainment conglomerate stumbles, as it did with its proposed Civil War theme park in Virginia, Hiaasen cheers. When a rhinoceros mysteriously dies at Disney's new theme park, Animal Kingdom, Hiaasen secretly hopes for the worst, because, as he writes, "no scandal is so delectable as a Disney scandal."

A native of Florida, author of such thrillers as Lucky You and Strip Tease, and a journalist for the Miami Herald, Hiaasen comes by his dislike for Disney honestly. He has witnessed the relentless success of the Disney machine firsthand with the development of Disney World and other properties around Orlando. In Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World, Hiaasen paints a witty and sarcastic portrait in this nonfiction account of a company who can control the press, manipulate local governments, and because it's Disney, get away with it. Team Rodent is a quick, entertaining read that even the most loyal Disney shareholder (except maybe Michael Eisner) will find enlightening and amusing. --Harry C. Edwards


After opening with an overbilious screed against the company's signature blandness, the author settles down and rakes good muck. -- Entertainment Weekly, Troy Patterson

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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Contemporary Thought
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (May 5, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345422805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345422804
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #214,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in Florida, where he still lives with his incredibly tolerant family and numerous personal demons.

A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 he joined The Miami Herald as a general assignment reporter and went on to work for the paper's weekly magazine and later its prize-winning investigations team. Since 1985 Hiaasen has been writing a regular column, which at one time or another has pissed off just about everybody in South Florida, including his own bosses. He has outlasted almost all of them, and his column still appears on most Sundays in The Herald's opinion-and-editorial section. It may be viewed online at or in the actual printed edition of the newspaper, which, miraculously, is still being published.

For his journalism and commentary, Hiaasen has received numerous state and national honors, including the Damon Runyon Award from the Denver Press Club. His work has also appeared in many well-known magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Time, Life, Esquire and, most improbably, Gourmet.

In the early 1980s, Hiaasen began writing novels with his good friend and distinguished journalist, the late William D. Montalbano. Together they produced three mystery thrillers -- Powder Burn, Trap Line and Double Whammy -- which borrowed heavily from their own reporting experiences.

Tourist Season, published in 1986, was Hiaasen's first solo novel. GQ magazine called it "one of the 10 best destination reads of all time," although it failed to frighten a single tourist away from Florida, as Hiaasen had hoped it might. His next effort, Double Whammy, was the first (and possibly the only) novel about sex, murder and corruption on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Since then, Hiaasen has published nine others -- Skin Tight, Native Tongue, Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Lucky You, Sick Puppy, Basket Case, Skinny Dip, The Downhill Lie and Nature Girl. Hiaasen made his children's book debut with Hoot (2002), which was awarded a Newbery Honor and spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller lists. For young readers he went on to write the bestselling Flush (2005) and, most recently Scat (January 2009). The film version of Hoot was released in 2006, directed by Wil Shriner and produced by Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall. ("Hoot" is now available on DVD).

Hiaasen is also responsible for Team Rodent (1998), a wry but unsparing rant against the Disney empire and its creeping grip on the American entertainment culture. In 2008, Hiaasen came back to nonfiction with The Downhill Lie: A Hacker's Return to a Ruinous Sport. The book chronicles his harrowing and ill-advised reacquaintance with golf after a peaceful, 32-year absence.

Together, Hiaasen's novels have been published in 34 languages, which is 33 more than he is able to read or write. Still, he has reason to believe that all the foreign translations are brilliantly faithful to the original work. The London Observer has called him "America's finest satirical novelist," while Janet Maslin of the New York Times has compared him to Preston Sturges, Woody Allen and S.J. Perelman. Hiaasen re-reads those particular reviews no more than eight or nine times a day.

To prove that he doesn't just make up all the sick stuff in his fiction, Hiaasen has also published two collections of his newspaper columns, Kick A** and Paradise Screwed, both courageously edited by Diane Stevenson and faithfully kept in print by the University Press of Florida.

One of Hiaasen's previous novels, Strip Tease, became a major motion-picture in 1996 starring Demi Moore, and directed by Andrew Bergman. Despite what some critics said, Hiaasen continues to insist that the scene featuring Burt Reynolds slathered from his neck to his toes with Vaseline is one of the high points in modern American cinema.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on June 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
First of all I must admit that if I heard that Carl Hiaasen had edited the Dubuque, Iowa telephone book, I would rush out and buy it. I enjoy him because I love his humor, and because I share his environmental concerns. As a retired senior executive of a large corporation, I also have no illusions about the goals of business. We need gadflies, and Carl's buzzing about can only bring issues to the surface to be thought about and discussed. Disagree with him you may, but I see nothing wrong in presenting facts about the power and plasticity of the Disney world. Many folks want their big brother provided sanitized entertainment, and will evidently brook no criticism of the source of their pleasure. For myself I am interested to find out how yet another big business manipulates local governments and the press. It's fascinating to read how devoted fans will pay 25 to 40% more for a home because its built by Mickey and his friends, while disregarding the fact that the same guys built substandard housing in Miami. The way people are mesmerized by the fantastic plastic world of Disney sometimes scares me. Its like some dystopic future world from a science fiction novel.
I will agree that $8.95 is a lot to pay for 83 pages, but it sure is good quality Hiaasen.
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63 of 72 people found the following review helpful By J Michael on September 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having grown up in Pinellas county Florida in the 60s it was easy to hate and be militant toward the obvious developers such as Hunt Corp., etc. In "Team Rodent", Carl Hiaasen provided me with the much-needed jolt to get over the quasi-hypnosis caused by a bunch of cuddly cartoon characters. Disney is nothing more than a corporate conglomerate that is wreaking far-reaching havoc on the environment under the guise of good family fun. Hiaasen's humor is not only welcome, it is necessary as it enabled me to get through the material that otherwise would have had me throwing up. I read this entire book on one flight and couldn't help but laugh out loud when reading about his scenario of the bull alligators in Bay Lake. People around me were giving me funny looks. It's not often a book causes me to lose control to that extent. There is a glimmer of hope offered when reading how the people in Virginia were able to thwart Disney's plans near Manassas. Unfortunately for Florida it's too little, too late. The only negative I could come up with in the book is the reference to orcas as "killer whales". A similar expose' needs to be done on Sea World. And by the way Carl: Let me know if you need any assistance with those bull alligators.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By "aznchew" on December 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Only Hiaasen could turn Disney into the vile and soulless entity presented in "Team Rodent" and still make you chuckle. I suspect that most lucid people have had the occasional flickering thought that perhaps the Disney Corporation seemed a bit too omnipresent and omnipotent to be so wonderful, and here Hiaasen explains exactly why that is the case. To be fair, this book isn't just a roasting of the mouse, it is also a roasting of the American culture that so embraces the overcleansed Disney ideal. Hiaasen's writing, as usual, is witty and clever, and sometimes snort-milk-out-your-nose funny. Humor aside, I found the book deeply troubling because I saw so many parallels between the way that Disney and Big Tobacco run their businesses and buy off their enemies. This book will certainly make you laugh, but hopefully it will also make you think.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
As someone who witnessed, firsthand, the attempts by Disney to force feed their American history theme park down the throats of the good people of Northern Virginia, I can say that every word, comma, period and exclamation point in Carl Hiaasen's polemic rings clear and true. Also, sad but true, I have witnessed what Disney has done to Florida, as Hiaasen's so eloquently details in Team Rodent. In my and my collaborator Parke Puterbaugh's book, Florida Beaches (Foghorn), we detected the Disney fallout on nearly every beachhead on the Atlantic coast, and anyone who loves the Panhandle beaches better get ready to be disgusted because Disney (under the guise of a holding company) is getting ready to do to that area what it did to Orlando. I can say, from experience, that Disney is deceptive, sneaky, arrogant, bullying and they also lie regularly, when it behooves them. It would not surprise me in the least that the people who rated this book one star were hired by the company...or are stockholders.
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71 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Paul Frandano on April 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
I adore Carl Hiassen. I share his concerns. I join in his delight at the comeuppances that from time to time sock Disney in the jaw. (As a resident of Northern Virginia, I was quietly pleased at our qualified victory in beating back Disney's America project.) So let me say first that I'd recommend Team Rodent as sheer, exuberant Hiassen, with its "Peep Land," "Insane Clown Michael," odious black buzzards and other hilarious locales and characters.
Still, this is a slender book that wants you to believe it's much longer, better developed, and more convincing. It's Hiassen stretching everything he's got for as much as he can get (he's very good at this). He has an an anecdote or two for each short chapter, which he inflates--via the high-pressure air hose of Hiassenian hyperbole and prose--to the bursting point. What we're left with is the story of a large, powerful corporation in Florida behaving like--surprise!--a large, powerful corporation in Florida. That has convinced the broad masses to shovel money into its coffers in alarmingly large quantities. Surely, however, as a muckraker and satirist, Hiassen has divined something sinister, some fundamental filaments of rot eating through the Disney empire.
For better or worse, intellectuals are the guilty consciences of their times, and Hiassen performs this necessary service. His are the useful ravings of the "anti-developmentals," who serve as salutary societal T-cells and, consequently, as needed brakes on hyperdevelopment. (It worked in Northern Virginia!) Hiassen behaves here, however, as though he had much more to work with and as though he didn't have to expend much effort to clinch his case--the "preaching to the choir syndrome"?
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