Neal Gabler is the author of five books: An Empire of Their
Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood, Winchell: Gossip, Power and
the Culture of Celebrity, Life the Movie: How Entertainment
Conquered Reality, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American
Imagination, and, most recently, Barbra Streisand:
Redefining Beauty, Femininity and Power for the Yale Jewish
Lives series. His essays and articles have appeared in numerous
newspapers and magazines, including The Atlantic, Vanity Fair,
Esquire, Playboy, Newsweek, and Vogue, and he has been
the recipient of two Los Angeles Times Book Prizes,
Time magazine's nonfiction book of the year, USA
Today's biography of the year, a National Book Critics Circle
nomination, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Public Policy Scholarship at
the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Shorenstein Fellowship at the Harvard
Kennedy School, and a Patrick Henry Fellowship at Washington
College's C.V. Starr Center. He has also served as the chief
nonfiction judge of the National Book Awards. Gabler is currently a
professor for the MFA program at Stonybrook Southampton.
The celebrated biographer of Walter Winchell, Gabler spent seven years plundering the Disney archives to craft this biography of Walt Disney, who's shown to be less than the cheery mouseketeer we imagine. With an 11-city tour. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Few men could be said to have as pervasive an influence on American culture as Walt Disney, and Gabler (Winchell) scours the historical record for as thorough an explanation of that influence as any biographer could muster. Every period of Disney's life is depicted in exacting detail, from the suffering endured on a childhood paper route to the making of Mary Poppins. The core of Gabler's story, though, is clearly in the early years of Disney's studio, from the creation of Mickey Mouse to the hands-on management of early hits like Fantasia and Pinocchio. "Even though Walt could neither animate, nor write, nor direct," Gabler notes, "he was the undisputed power at the studio." Yet there was significant disgruntlement within the ranks of Disney's employees, and Gabler traces the day-to-day resentments that eventually led to a bitter strike against the studio in 1941. That dispute helped harden Disney's anticommunism, which led to rumors of anti-Semitism, which are effectively debunked here. At times, Gabler lays on a bit thick the psychological interpretation of Disney as control freak, but his portrait is so engrossing that it's hard to picture the entertainment mogul playing with his toy trains and not imagine him building Disneyland in his head. 32 pages of photos. 100,000 first printing. (Nov. 6) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Mesmerizing. . . . There's nothing Mickey Mouse about this
terrific biography. . . . The definitive portrait of Walt Disney,
-Washington Post Book World
"Gabler's restless eye invigorates each page. . . . Part of the author's formidable achievement is to take the intricacies of Disney's devoted artistry and intertwine them with [his] life."
-Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Far outshines any previous Disney bio, both in scope and in specificity. The domestic details are revelatory. . . . Walt Disney is looking at us-seemingly for the first time."
"Illuminating. . . . Engrossing. . . . Gabler paints a vivid portrait."
-The New York Times Book Review