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5 out of 5
Walt Disney’s life story is something that has always interested me since I was very young. I grew up on all the Disney classics and even wanted to be a Disney animator at a young age. I went as far as sending a letter to Disney Studios asking what their requirements were… I believe I was around 13 years old at this point. It’s easy to say that I was the quintessential Disney kid that later turned into the adult that I am today. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without “Uncle Walt”.
Neal Gabler is an American journalist who has contributed to numerous publications which include: The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Esquire, New York Magazine and many others. But forget about all of those highly distinguished publications - because Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination is his best work yet.
Since Neal was the first writer to gain complete access to the Disney archives and this book is available in Disneyland itself … you would think that this would be a one sided book glorifying Walt’s life, actions and contributions… well, it’s not. The nice thing about this book is that it’s not written as if Walt Disney were a saint. You see his ups and downs – his emotional outbursts - his chain smoking - and it even dabbles into the anti-Semitic claims that have clouded his reputation for many years. Although those stories were few and far between - it does show us that the Walt Disney that I loved as a kid was the same Walt Disney we all saw on television during the run of Walt Disney’ Wonderful World of Color. The kind of guy anyone would love to be around. No, he wasn’t perfect… but he perfected what he did. This book intensified my respect and admiration for Walter Elias Disney.
Follow along as you learn more about Walt’s past: Growing up with an abusive and strict father… creating (and losing the rights to) Oswald the lucky rabbit… the origin behind Mickey Mouse (originally named “Mortimer Mouse” and modeled after Charlie Chaplin)… the nervous breakdown he suffered in 1931… and much much more. Everything you wanted to know about Walt Disney is in this book. No detail is ignored – and better yet… no detail is boring.
I highly recommend picking up this book (or listening to the audio book) even if you aren’t a Disney fan.