Although the Disney studio was hailed as a dream factory, there was plenty of hard work and hard-nosed business deals behind the facade. Drawing on interviews and research from Disney archives, Watts shows how Disney and mid-America influenced each other, from the birth of the animation empire, through the "libertarian populism" of the Fifties film, TV, and theme-park efforts, to Walt's untimely death in 1966. Other topics include Disney's pioneering role in business "integration" (using one side of the business to promote another side), his idealization of small-town life, his contagious creative enthusiasm, and his growing conservatism and abiding contempt for unions. Whether selling World War II to an anxious home front, lifting spirits in the Depression, soothing America's Cold War fears, or catering to the new leisure and consumer society, Disney had a unique rapport with average Americans. Portrayed as neither devil nor saint, Disney emerges as a human and sometimes sympathetic figure. This lively, witty, and insightful study is likely to become a standard. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. [Two other Disney biographers in recent years have accused the Disney family of attempting to undermine criticisms of him; for a more critical appraisal see Marc Eliot's Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince, LJ 5/1/93.?Ed.]?Stephen Rees, Levittown Reg. Lib., Pa.
-?Stephen Rees, Levittown Reg. Lib., Pa.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Today's Disney entertainment empire might rephrase Watts' subtitle to read "Walt Disney IS the American Way of Life" as part of its seeming dedication to crafting sanitized versions of aspects of the American ideal and then selling the bejesus out of them. Watts' biography of the creator of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy examines Disney's role in the creation of American consumer culture and his and his company's successful commercial feeding of that culture's voracious entertainment appetites. The book, Watts says, exemplifies "something of a hybrid genre: part biography and part cultural analysis, an anatomy of Disney's productions as well as an anatomy of their consumption." Fully referenced and forcefully and cogently argued, it does an excellent job of tying together all the facets--artistic, commercial, and personal--of the Disney saga. "Walt Disney has been, arguably, the most influential American of the twentieth century," Watts concludes. This valuable, unique book about him will be greatly valued by fans, cynics, and semioticians alike. Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
A very thorough, detailed, well researched biography. For quite sometime, I have wanted to know the details of this man's life, a man who changed our entertainment culture and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dr.Stanley Toompas
This book reads like a Sociology Textbook on American culture. I doubt 10% of it is actual biographical material. I wound up skipping a massive number of pages.Published 12 months ago by C. Ray
I was personally surprised by the ease in reading this book. I purchased it for a course on Disney and at first was slightly disgruntled by having to read this book. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Katie K.
If you're looking for a page turner, this is not the book for you! This is the second biography on Walt Disney that I have read and got it to fill in any of the gaps that I have... Read morePublished on December 29, 2011 by Banks
Bought the book for class, it contains a lot of stuff I never new about the how Walt Disney built his empire. There are a few chapters that is a boring read. Read morePublished on March 31, 2010 by Fanny Wong
This book analyzes Disney's life and impact on American culture. He approaches it by not only looking at biographical sources, but also film critics and letters written by all the... Read morePublished on September 22, 2009 by eritak
This is an overall excellent book on the life and career of Walt Disney and his impact on American culture. Read morePublished on April 27, 2009 by Spilkman
If you want to take a trip down animated cartoon memory lane as well as look behind the scenes to find out how they were created, Watts' mistitled "The Magic Kingdom" is definitely... Read morePublished on May 30, 2008 by Kenneth E. Wright