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'The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney' now in paperback

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  • 'The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney' now in paperback

    Michael Barrier
    The Animated Man
    A Life of Walt DisneyDescription
    Walt Disney (1901-1966) was one of the most significant creative forces of the twentieth century, a man who made a lasting impact on the art of the animated film, the history of American business, and the evolution of twentieth-century American culture. He was both a creative visionary and a dynamic entrepreneur, roles whose demands he often could not reconcile.

    In his compelling new biography, noted animation historian Michael Barrier avoids the well-traveled paths of previous biographers, who have tended to portray a blemish-free Disney or to indulge in lurid speculation. Instead, he takes the full measure of the man in his many aspects. A consummate storyteller, Barrier describes how Disney transformed himself from Midwestern farm boy to scrambling young businessman to pioneering artist and, finally, to entrepreneur on a grand scale. Barrier describes in absorbing detail how Disney synchronized sound with animation in Steamboat Willie; created in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sympathetic cartoon characters whose appeal rivaled that of the best live-action performers; grasped television's true potential as an unparalleled promotional device; and–not least–parlayed a backyard railroad into the Disneyland juggernaut.

    Based on decades of painstaking research in the Disney studio's archives and dozens of public and private archives in the United States and Europe, The Animated Man offers freshly documented and illuminating accounts of Disney's childhood and young adulthood in rural Missouri and Kansas City. It sheds new light on such crucial episodes in Disney's life as the devastating 1941 strike at his studio, when his ambitions as artist and entrepreneur first came into serious conflict.

    Beginning in 1969, two and a half years after Disney's death, Barrier recorded long interviews with more than 150 people who worked alongside Disney, some as early as 1922. Now almost all deceased, only a few were ever interviewed for other books. Barrier juxtaposes Disney's own recollections against the memories of those other players to great effect. What emerges is a portrait of Walt Disney as a flawed but fascinating artist, one whose imaginative leaps allowed him to vault ahead of the competition and produce work that even today commands the attention of audiences worldwide.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

  • #2
    Re: 'The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney' now in paperback

    Thanks for the heads up. I just got through reading Gabler's Walt bio and I want to check this one out as well.

    EDIT: Amazon lists it as coming out on 3/30/2008, so don't expect it to be in bookstores quite yet.


    • #3
      Re: 'The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney' now in paperback

      This is a fairly good book. It focuses on the animation portion of Walt's life and is a byproduct of Barrier's earlier work on Hollywood animation. Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in its Golden Age. Barrier is sympathetic to Walt and if there is ambiguity in an event he tends to give the benefit of the doubt to Walt. Fir example he doesn't delve too deeply into the strike of 1941 with regards to how Disney business practices might have helped precipitate the strike. He is also pretty kind to Walt and his involvement with the HUAC.

      If you are into Walt the book is good. If you are into animation, most of the material can be found in other places, including Mr. Barriers own website, , which tends to be more informative and has a bit more 'bite' than either of his books.
      Originally posted by SummerInFL
      Jesus, even I wouldn't eat that.

      Originally posted by Wanda Woman
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      • #4
        Re: 'The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney' now in paperback

        I read it. Our library didn't have it but one in the network did. I enjoyed it. I was interested in the fact that there was sort of a controversy about this versus the Gabler book. I thought they both presented the same story, basically. Perhaps there was a different emphasis in this one, and perhaps there was a little extra effort spent by Gabler to show Walt's negatives (though I thought it just made him seem more human), but I thought both were good...It would be interesting to know what others thought of the two books, side by side.

        They had both at the Compass Books in Downtown Disney Anaheim, but only the Gabler inside the parks...far as I could tell...


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