Summary of Walt Disney

The Triumph of the American Imagination

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Walt Disney book summary
Creative genius, disinterested businessman, idealistic visionary, petty manipulator – Walt Disney embodied it all.


8 Overall

8 Importance

8 Innovation

9 Style


It's hard to imagine a time when Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse weren't household names, but that day, in fact, did exist, up until the 1920s. That's when animators led by Disney drew Mickey Mouse. In this hefty, thoroughly researched profile, historian Neal Gabler draws a deeply detailed picture of Disney and his business, from his work animating silent-movie shorts in a Kansas City garage through his years of international fame – and troubled finances. Gabler persuasively argues that although Disney classics, such as Snow White and Pinocchio, may be considered relics today, they were revolutionary works of art in their time. This biography's biggest drawback is its intimidating length, but it rewards readers who persevere. getAbstract recommends this history to anyone seeking to understand popular culture, and the competing demands of making art and making money.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why Walt Disney remains a cultural icon;
  • What shaped his life story; and
  • How Disney pursued innovation.


The King of Pop Culture
Four decades after his death in 1966, Walt Disney remains one of the most important – and divisive – figures in American popular culture. Disney and his legacy are a tangle of contradictions. He cared little about making money and spent recklessly to perfect his...
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About the Author

Historian Neal Gabler is the author of An Empire of Their Own and Winchell. He often writes for The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

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