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The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life
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The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  88 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Magic Kingdom is a full-length investigation of the life of Walt Disney, arguabley the principal architect of mass culture in our time. Watts also digs deeply into Disney's private life, investigating his roles as husband, father, and brother and providing fresh insight into his peculiar psyche. This book offers a definitive view of one of the most influential American ...more
Hardcover, 526 pages
Published January 12th 1998 by Houghton Mifflin (first published 1998)
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Tania
A very detailed account of Walt Disney’s life and beliefs as they relate to his life’s work, although it falls short of truly developing Walt as a person. All of the facts are there, all of the details about employees, creative and business ventures, analysis of films and other works, construction of theme parks, etc. And I believe that the author did his best with the information available – this is no criticism of him. As interested as I was in the subject matter, because of the lack of person ...more
Christine
Overall, I think that this book served its purpose very well. It gave both a biography of Walt Disney and a critical analysis of basically all aspects of Disney.

My biggest complaint with this book is that there were sections of it that didn't seem to be necessary. I don't really care about other employees at the Disney Studios, and I definitely don't care enough about them to read large sections of chapters devoted to them. Once I realized that for the most part, these sections didn't really im
...more
Paul
I picked this book up hoping for an insightful biography of Walt Disney. That's not exactly what I got, though the blame is on me - the subtitle is "Walt Disney and the American Way of Life," after all. This book blends biography and social commentary, especially in the field of American Studies. It was informative, engaging and very detailed. I believe that this book would be best suited for someone interested in 20th century United States history or entertainment history.

Each chapter is broken
...more
Tracey
After reading The Disney Version by Richard Schickel , I thought I'd check out another Walt Disney bio.

This book is an overarching look not only at Disney's life, but also at the company he created. While the material is covered chronologically, there are also thematic elements running through it as well. As others have observed, Walt's creations were reflections of the times: a funny, endearing Mickey Mouse was just the ticket in the Depression, while the full-length fairy tale adaptations app
...more
Kelly Caldwell
I'm torn as what to rate this book, so I went with the middle ground! While I did think it was extremely well researched and well written, the bulk of the book focused on Walt's political motivations and ideologies in his endeavors, which is not what I was expecting or looking for when I picked it up. There were many parts that I found interesting, including detailed portions on several Disney studio artists and others who were integral to the overall success, but ultimately it came back to poli ...more
Rick Ludwig
This is a good book if not a great one. The author tackles Disney in a different way from most authors focusing on the impact of his efforts more than the efforts themselves. He tries and, for the most part, succeeds in producing a balanced view. Any imbalance may just reflect the imbalance of DIsney's impact on different elements of American society. If after a person ides, what we see is predominantly a reflection of their impact, we should by thinking about and discussing Disney for many deca ...more
Noe Crockett
I love anything Disney, which was why I decided to read this biography. And at first it was pretty cool talking about Walt Disney and where he came from and his childhood and family. But then they started with chapters about the political undertones of the Three Little Pigs and it just got silly. I couldn't finish it. I would like to pick it up again at a later date and read about the development of the park in California, but that will have to wait.
Marahs
I liked the book for the most part. It was very long with a lot of words though. I like Walt Disney. This book had a lot of information about him. All of the information was very detailed. I also liked that they talked about Disney studios and Disneyland/Disney World. It also talked about his family. I wish that the book was shorter. It felt like it was taking forever to read.
Nathan
Offers an interesting analysis of Disney's cartoons, rather than just a straight biography. Though some might disagree with that analysis, Watt's book's great service is to move beyond Disney's cultural influence and study his ideological and political thought in detail. Can often seem overly theoretical, and just as often shallow.
Sara Meyerback
This is a wonderfully written biography of Disney. Unfortunately, it was clouded by other, albeit interesting, facts about other animators and producers also involved in the upcoming of Disneyland/world. Other than it being very long and packed with information, it was very intriguing to learn about Disney and team.
Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)
Well, Uncle Walt is my mentor. I read this book a "while" ago when I was writing my specializing thesis and it really became my Bible. Probably one of the most comprehensive biographies of our modern day "Leonardo Da Vinci".
Mike
This is the best, most interesting, and most even handed look at Disney's life that is out there. A little slow in some places, but way less so than other bios.
Mell
Wish I could have gotten through this one, but it was just too dry for me. It's very informative and seems quite balanced.
Kay
too long, but over all really interesting.
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