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Author: Neal Gabler
912 Pages
Publisher: Vintage (October 9, 2007)
ISBN: 0679757473
Price: S$40.95





When it comes to animation and theme park, no one can deny the fact that it‘s the legendary Walt Disney who set the benchmark.

As someone who grew up faithfully watching Mickey, Donald and Goofy on the small TV every week, the name “Walt Disney” stands for a force not to be reckon. To that little boy glued onto the screen, “Walt Disney” is akin (might be an overstatement to some) to God.

In “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination”, the man himself is demystified by Neal Gabler. Gabler spent years on his own researching the Disney archives, various libraries, interviews with countless individuals before churning out this biography. The result: a hefty 912 pages book detailing every single aspect of Walt's life you will ever imagine. From Uncle Walt’s childhood, family to his numerous failures and achievements till his death. Practically nothing is left uncovered.

Gabler took a fair approach and painted Disney as a man despite his creativity, talents was a total control freak to his stable of animators. Disney wanted everything under his stringent eye and has no qualms spending long hours at the studio supervising every tiny details of his animation productions. But the most surprising fact was Disney didn’t really gain as much as what people thought in terms of monetary terms. He was a man who only focused on quality. Money was not a priority as the studio went through a time of depression and war. He wanted nothing but the best for his animations, he even resort to holding free training sessions for his animators. Profits earned from the animations were quickly ploughed back to the company. Something which we seldom heard of in the corporate world now including the present Walt Disney Company.

Reading Gabler’s account, it’s quite astonishing to learn that Disney never gave up his dreams despite numerous setbacks in his life. He went through a period of depression but bounces back with more vigor to continue his passion. With the constant advice and assistance of his brother, Roy Disney, he was able to finally build the theme park of his dream in the later part of his life, a place now famously knows as “Disneyland”.

Walt Disney was a common man blessed with an exceptional mindset and optimistic nature. With the passing of the chain-smoking Uncle Walt, one of America’s greatest imaginary in 1966, he has left a huge legacy for the world to witness and the rest of the generations to indulge. Gabler’s biography of Disney is truly a genuine heartfelt read.

Ever wonder how Mickey Mouse was born and classic such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” was conceived? Who are the Disney’s nine old men? This book answered them all and opens up the vast unique world of Walt Disney.


“It bears only the name Walter Elias Disney. It was here, guarded by a hedge of orange olivias and red azaleas and hidden behind a holly tree and behind a white statue of Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid gazing contemplatively at invisible water that Walt Disney seemed to have fulfilled his family's destiny. He had escaped. And it was here that he fulfilled his own destiny too for which he had striven so mightily and restlessly all his life. He had passed beyond the afflictions of this world. Walt Disney had at last attained perfection.


“Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination” is the most comprehensive, uncompromised biography of Walt Disney ever to surface on this earth almost 42 years after his death.

Review by Linus Tee


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"Walt Disney:
The Triumph of American Imgination"
is available in all good bookstores


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