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Walt Disney: An American Original (Disney Editions Deluxe) Paperback – Abridged, April 15, 1994
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Top Customer Reviews
This book checks all the boxes a biography should while also managing to remain interesting and entertaining. Anyone can read it -- high schoolers, college students, an adult looking for something to read on a long car trip. The entire course of Walt's life is covered -- the history of his family in America, his childhood, his time in World War I, his marriage and family life, and his tumultuous journey into the world of film and animation, culminating in Disneyland and the ever-famous Walt Disney World. Bob Thomas was aided in creating this litany of Walt's experiences by the willing cooperation of the Disney family, which gave Thomas an amazing source of information. This ranges from letters and telegrams written by Walt to personal photographs and humorous anecdotes involving Walt (when Walt said that he would look down on the company after death, Disney's nurse tartly remarked that he may be using a periscope instead). It is this attention to detail, the little stories and experiences in Disney's day-to-day life, which helps the reader feel as if he or she truly understands Disney. I'm not a fan of five star reviews, particularly for biographies, but try as I might, I cannot find something to criticize. Therefore, it is with both reluctance and excitement that I award this book five stars, as it cannot be denied that this may just be the best biography which it has ever been my pleasure to read.
Basically, if you want to know the secret behind the Disney company, you have to understand the founder. And if you want to understand the founder, the man, the genius Walter E. Disney himself, you should read this book.
Looking Through the Eyes of Walt Disney
When many of us think of the name Walt Disney we think of a man who was a prominent figure within the american animation industry; the one who created the cartoon character Mickey Mouse. With this legacy aside we take a step back into the early years of Walter Elias Disney’s life and realize how his life had many struggles and hardships.
The biography An American Original- Walt Disney, by Bob Thomas, takes us back to a part in Walt’s life that most people aren’t familiar with. Disney was a young boy who worked for his dad’s, Elias Disney, a newspaper delivery business. Walt went to school like all the other kids but most of the time he found himself in the art school just down the street from his house. As he grew up he often found himself thinking about what his future looked like. Against his dad’s will he attended art school and learned how to make basic cartoon character and how to animate them. Walt’s imagination went wild and he soon made Mickey Mouse and other animated characters such as Clarabelle Cow and Donald Duck would follow. Later on he created Disneyland, the most magical place on earth. Not long after he imagined Disney World but wasn't able to see his vision completed before he passed away.
In An American Original- Walt Disney, the theme is determination. When something may seem so hard you can’t overcome it something good will always come out of, it even if you don’t know what it is. Many times when Walt Disney would go to deliver papers in the snow he would find it was so high it went over his head. Occasionally he would find himself just waking up because he passed out. Then he would have to go to school and start all over in the evening. Even though it may have seemed tough and not worth it Walt brought home money for his family and was able to provide food and eventually he went to art school.
This biography is put together very well. I loved the part where they went into his childhood and told us about his life. Bob Thomas also included many of Walt’s early cartoons that many of us forget about. I also liked how they included pictures of Disney and his family. There were also things that I did not like about this book. It was a long book and I felt that some stories went into too much detail. I also felt like some things repeated and Thomas could have just focused on Walt Disney more than his father who was mentioned a lot.
A person should read this book if they are interested in history and anything Disney. If a reader enjoyed this book I would recommend reading Disney's Art of Animation #2: From Mickey Mouse to Hercules or Walt Disney: Magician of the Movies. I would give this book four and a half stars because it was lengthy but the information was incredible. This book kept me wanting to read more.