Sunday, July 22, 2007

Book: Walt Disney/The Triumph of the American Imagination - July 22, 2007

I just finished reading Neal Gabler's Walt Disney/The Triumph of the American Imagination. This book takes the view that Walt Disney's work, from the animated cartoons through Disneyland, to Epcot, all stemmed from a desire to create a controlled and ordered world through his imagination.

Gabler talks about Disney's early life, and explores some of the embellishments that Walt added over the years. Gabler gives a good account of Walt's entry into animation and the ways in which Disney changed animation from a haphazard business to an art. More than other biographers, Gabler then examines the way in which Walt became disillusioned with animation after the strike and the war.

I enjoyed the way Gabler talked about Walt's obsession with his garden railroad, and then with Disneyland. I did notice a factual error about the source of the first two Disneyland locomotives, but that was the only error I could detect in the whole book.

Gabler addresses the issue of Disney's alleged anti-Semetism and refutes it. Disney associated with anti-Semites, but was not one himself.

The book is worth reading.

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