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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book
I just finished reading this book and thought it was absolutely fantastic. It takes you through the life of Walt and his associates as he/they make 'Disney' a household name. The author speaks of the struggles and triumphs along the way. It was interesting to read how many failures he had before becoming successful. This book traces the origins of Mickey Mouse, many of...
Published on Feb. 14 2004

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Walt Disney an American
Disney might have done more to win World War 2 than any other general, president, or any otherworld leader combined. His company was teaming with life while on the verge of bankruptcy. Through his cleverly perceived ideas, he was able to capture the essence of American patriotism and spirit all while rallying Americans to pay their taxes and send their sons to war in the...
Published on May 20 2004 by Carlos


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book, Feb. 14 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
I just finished reading this book and thought it was absolutely fantastic. It takes you through the life of Walt and his associates as he/they make 'Disney' a household name. The author speaks of the struggles and triumphs along the way. It was interesting to read how many failures he had before becoming successful. This book traces the origins of Mickey Mouse, many of the GREAT Disney films, and, of course, Disneyland. There's a lot of personal stuff. It starts with his father's birth and works it's way to that sad day when Walt passed away. I found the Disneyland part to be some of the most interesting. Honestly, I found this book to be so entertaining that I read it in a few days. After reading, you will understand why Walt Disney is/was such a great man. This book doesn't sugar-coat the truth. It's a great and interesting read. I highly recommend this one to all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Made Me Believe!, Jan. 20 2004
By 
Stacey Cochran (Raleigh, NC, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
This was the most inspiring biography I have ever read. I bought it while on vacation at Disneyworld in Orlando this past November with my girlfriend and family, and I couldn't stop reading it. I found the most interesting period of his life to be the years between 20-35, when no one would give him a chance. I am a fiction writer who has written seven novels in the past decade (my 20s), and each of them has been rejected so many times I don't even want to think about it. I can not tell you how difficult it is to put everything I am as a human being into something I believe in and to face as much disinterest from agents, publishers, editors, magazines, and universities as I have.
Many of Disney's friends gave up on him. Even his family began to think he was crazy.
To read that Walt Disney went through a very similar period in his life to what I'm currently going through was like giving me a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel. It made me hope. And when a book can do that, you know it is something special, man. Walt Disney truly was an American original; more than that, though he was a person who inspired dreams, goodness, and optimism even in the face of terrible adversity.
Stacey
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5.0 out of 5 stars In Depth Biography of a Magical Man, Jan. 28 2014
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This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
This is an excellent in depth biography, that captures the many facets that made up the man known as Walt Disney. Very readable and well researched, readers can expect to discover just who Walt Disney was; not just a name in entertainment but a complex visionary man who sought out to bring out the best in those he worked with and who was a true visionary ahead of his time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A true original, March 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
This was a thoroughly riveting and revealing insight to the great man and his dream.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good story, but not historical, Dec 21 2003
By 
John Gilmore (Saline, MI United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
Let me first say I am pro Disney. I read this book for personal interest and chose it after reading the comments listed below.
I enjoyed the story of Walt Disney, but was disappointed that it was one sided and not very historical. Yes, I learned about his life but the author was writing a very pro Disney book. For example, the author states in the preface that the original text never mentioned that one of Walt's daughters was adopted because he was asked to leave that out. What else was left out?
For a family that was always broke, Walt's dad always seemed to have money to move cross country and buy houses/businesses. Were they really broke all the time? What were the real issues with the strike against the studio in 1941?
For those desiring a nicely told story about Walt's life, this book is an entertaining read. For those wanting balance, this isn't the book to buy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Key to the Kingdom, Jan. 5 2003
By 
rareoopdvds (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
"Walt Disney: An American Original" professes to be the authorized biography of Walt Disney. Originally written in 1976, ten years after Walt's death, and then revised in 1994 for the Hyperion Press. The book is well written and told in almost story-like fashion tells the active life of one of the all-time greats of the 20th century: Walt Disney.
Author Bob Thomas nicely builds his life from his ancestral French relatives and how they came to settle in Small Town U.S.A. Giving a sturdy view of his grandparents and parents lives, we come to understand the lifestyle and times in which Walt was born under so we better appreciate his influences. I particularly found it interesting how Walt himself can recall his own childhood with such vividness from the smells, sights and events that went on around him. Seems such a curious child but always with a hopeful attitude.
Once he began working in the animation studio with Ub Iwerks, his longtime friend and extremely gifted animator as well, we can see Walt's career unfolding. The small nuances of the transitions between the Alice comedies and Oswald and Mickey always seemed vague to me, however, this book discussed those moments which became clearer. How Roy came aboard to help Walt is also better understood from this book.
When Walt finally broke ground with Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse became a household name, Bob Thomas began already looking towards the theme park as Disney's ultimatum in life. As Walt began preparing the actual construction for the theme park, the author leads us to believe that everything that pre-dated the idea was all for a theme park. From this he began to neglect the animation department and the films themselves. While it may be evident in the late 50's to his death that most of the live-action films that Disney Productions made do not have Disney's hand in them, but there is no mention of how they came about either. Disney oversaw everything that went on and it would have been nice to include Disney's thoughts on various projects.
If one reads "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation" one gets the sense that Walt was thoroughly involved in all of the animated film to the time of his death, yet this is not clearly implied in this book. "Walt Disney: An American Original" begins with a conversation with the author and Walt as they are driving through the undeveloped location of the future site of Disneyland in Anaheim. It seems, then, from an almost biased attempt to demonstrate that all of Walts works were towards the parks end. If one takes a little time to catch a glimpse of what it might be like to think like Walt based on this book, the park was not the end. Nor was Walt Disney World. Certainly not Tokyo nor EuroDisney. Backtracking in his life a bit, there were moments in Walts life when he was like a ball of fire where everthing he came in contact gave him ideas and inspirations. From the feature length film to television to merchandise live-action film of just about any subject to the theme park. Walt may have made distinctions about where he wanted to center most of his creative energy, but in the meantime he seemed as if he was willing to do just about anything. Yes, Walt was a man who admired experimentation and so new ideas were never put down.
So I find it unfortunate that the focus moved so heavily into the developement of the theme park and not to also include his workings with the animators in the later pictures of Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty and others which receieve only a cursory glance. Also, his life with his wife Lilly seemed remote until the final years of his life when she must have been around the studio more often. His home life is rarely described which leads me to believe he did not have much of a home outside his studio.
The other main focus of the book was Walt's relationship with Roy and their financial problems they had until the opening of Disneyland in 1955. Accoringly, they never made money of their own from the films they made due to many inconveniences such as the war, union strikes, labor costs, and dealing with the wrong people.
The book offers select photos of Walt in his life, but nothing that is striking or new to the usual Disney consumer. Only one photo of the picket line in front of the Disney Studios offers a larger context of times in which Disney grew out of.
It is obvious that The Walt Disney Company still exists, however, I heavily doubt it would be what Walt would have wanted provided he lived. What is most evident from this book is that Walt is a family man, and Disney is a family business. Ron Miller who married his daughter eventually came to be the CEO in the mid-eighties (the worst period in the Disney Studios history). Roy and his son Roy E. both were presidents at one point or another. Before Walt was an animator, before he was a producer and director of films and before he was a theme park entrepreneur, Walt was a storyteller first and foremost. While this is a great book and reads very well, it is certainly not a complete book. It may be said of someone like Walt that a complete biography could never be written in one book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, Oct. 30 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
I was reluctant to read this particularly biography of Walt Disney because of its apparently sponsorship by the Disney corporation . . . but I found it to be a surprisingly objective view of the man, going so far as to mention his nervous breakdowns, his trouble with unions, his chain smoking, and even quoting him in one instance as cursing (gasp!). Overall, however, it's a delightful portrait of a man who had a genius for creating, and the author's closeness to the Disney corporation obviously gave him access to sources that other biographers would not have been able to consult. An enjoyable, informative read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A look inside the man that is Walt Disney..., Feb. 27 2002
By 
J. Long (Dayton, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
I loved this book. I'm a Disney fan. When I say that, I don't mean that I'm a fan of the "Buy anything and everything" corporate God that is The Walt Disney Comapny. I like them and love Walt Disney World, but I'm more of a fan of the man himself and this book helped me to understand that man.
Tracing his life from birth to his first interests in cartooning, to Laugh-O-Grams, to Mickey Mouse and beyond, this book got inside the personality of Walt himself. It really gave me a sense of what kind of man he was: Hard working, loving, focused, motivated, and always willing to look ahead to tomorrow. You'll look at the Disney empire in a totally different way and feel like you know what Walt would and would not have done with the business had he lived on.
If you want to take a trip back to a time when the name Disney meant quality family entertainment and a vision for a better tomorrow or if you just want a well written biography of a man that helped to change the world, look no further than this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful way to celebrate, Sept. 23 2001
By 
P. Huntsinger (Monroe, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
I recently finished reading this book, which I found hard to put down. I have always been fascinated with Walt Disney and all of his wonderful work. I thought it would be fitting to read his biography at a time when we are celebrating his 100th birthday and I'm glad I did. The book covered his whole life, even going back to his parents' life before he was born, through his death and how the world mourned his loss. I highly recommend it for anyone at all interested in this "American Original."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!!, May 27 2001
By 
Erin Iverson (temecula, ca United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Walt Disney: An American Original (Paperback)
This was such a great book!!! It catalogues the life of this great man from the start of his life to his fatal battle with lung cancer. From his early failures to his great successes.
Bob Thomas offers a touching tribute to the man who did so much to bring joy to others and change people's way of thinking. Thomas, who over the years conducted several interviews with Walt, wrote this book from a reporter's point of view, but with respect to the legacy of Walt Disney.
Walt was known as a champion risk-taker and never stopped thinking of what the future held. From his earliest days in Marceline, Missouri, Walt possessed the ability to get what he wanted from the people around him, and the ability to continue when life hit him hard.
Most know and remember Walt Disney as the creator of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland, but few realize just how hard it was for him to reach the top. Walt overcame many battles, and Thomas illustrates that in detail by including excerpts from interviews and material from the Disney Archives. Walt had to face a rough childhood, bankruptcy, disloyal employees, stolen characters, numerous creditors and countless skeptics before he encountered success. He always found a way to make things work, though, and brought joy to millions of people in doing so.
By reading this book, you are able to share in Walt's triumphs and losses and feel as though you have lost a great friend when it goes into his battle with lung cancer and untimely death at age 65. Upon Walt's death, the world mourned, but his legacy continues to live and will continue to touch the lives of children, young and old, for generations to come.
I have always been fascinated with anything Disney related and thought that Walt Disney: An American Original was a wonderful book and would recommend it to anyone interested in Walt Disney, the person. Walt Disney was a wonderful human being; someone the world was lucky to have, even for such a short time.
This year is the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney's birth, so wherever you are, Mr. Disney, 'Thank you.'
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Walt Disney: An American Original
Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas (Paperback - May 1 1994)
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