[Download] Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination By Neal Gabler

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination

By: Neal Gabler
Narrated by: Leonardo Leoncavallo
Length: 10 hours
Release date: Nov 7, 2006
Rating: 1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (122 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)

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Seven years in the making and meticulously researched, here is the definitive portrait of one of the most important figures in American entertainment and cultural history.
From the young Walt Disney breaking free of a heartland childhood to the visionary whose desire for escape honed an innate sense of what people wanted to see on the screen, witness Disney reinvent animation, first with Mickey Mouse and then with his feature films, from a novelty based on movement to an art form that presented an illusion of life.
Gabler reveals a wounded, lonely and often disappointed man who at times retreated into pitiable seclusion in his model train workshop, yet still reshaped the entertainment industry by building a synergistic empire in a way that was unprecedented and later widely imitated.
This is a masterly biography, a revelation of both the work and the man-of both the remarkable accomplishments and the hidden life.
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70 Responses to “[Download] Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination By Neal Gabler”

  1. Lewis Morarity

    Interesting story of interesting man.
    I enjoy this audiobook. Narrator was fine. Life of Walt Disney was unkmown for me until now 😉 I am recommending this book.

  2. Marcus Filippelli

    it made me want to go watch all the Disney movies and see them in a new light.

  3. Sheri Durie

    Good read, fascinating figure
    Enjoyed it. It had a very abrupt ending and I wished the author had ended with an epilogue and offered his take on the life of his subject (as it was interjected through out the book).

  4. Denver C.

    Best Disney book I have ever read! This is a must read for all Disney fans.

  5. Essie Stecklair

    Extensive research
    If you could sum up Walt Disney in three words, what would they be?

  6. Dong D.

    A little too long and boring in places
    A little too long and boring in places but a very interesting book about Walter

  7. Adam Borok

    Simply Amzing.
    This book is a must read for any true Disney fanatic. Don’t be thwarted by it’s length, every minute is worth it. This book puts together the life of a man who, in all of my hopes and dreams, will never be forgotten. Walt Disney is a treasure, and this book will tell you every reason why. Buy it. Listen to it. Love it.

  8. Gary Savedra

    What a book . . .
    Not only is the book well written, but it’s entertaining. I can’t say that about many biographies. As a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic, I learned so much through listening to this during my commute to and from school. Thankfully, it’s really well read as well, so much so that I sometimes lost focus on the road. Have you ever gone on autopilot while driving and wondered how you arrived at your destination without any memory of a specific stretch of the drive? Be careful, because this book will likely induce that feeling.

  9. Rickey Sicotte

    Long and boring
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

  10. Maria Kollross

    Great Book, Lazy Reader on service Version
    This is a thoroughly researched and well-written biography of Disney. Reveals in-depth information about the Disney the public never knew. Of course, author Neal Gabler is always first-rate. Highly recommended. My only complaint is that the reader in the service version seriously mis-pronounces the names of two famous people—“Wanger” and “Giannini.” With the pronunciation resource of the Internet today, there is no excuse for this. Don’t be so lazy, look it up. Producer Walter “Wanger” rhymes with “ranger,” and A.P. Giannini” (founder of Bank of America) is pronounced “Gee-an-nin’-nee.” These are two important players in the Disney story and listeners should hear their names correctly.

  11. Weston Lacaze

    Love it! Annoying footnotes but otherwise amazing and detailed. The detail gives you a great sense of the man.

  12. Elfrieda Birtwell

    In depth look at Disney’s life
    This was a VERY long book about Disney’s life and the everlasting impact he made on his family, the public, USA society, USA politics and the entire world. There is lot of historical information and some side info I could have done without but all in all I am grateful to Disney for the change he brought to our world and that I got to listen to some of his life’s events! I’m also glad I finally finished the book! lol

  13. Aron Coughlin

    One of the best books I’ve ever read
    Not just biographies or non-fiction, Gabler has crafted one of the finest books I’ve ever read. The narrative flows so smoothly, and the author’s writing voice allows you to feel so many events and experiences from not just Walt’s perspective but from so many others. The research Gabler did (and the access given to Disney archived correspondence) uncovered stories that would have otherwise been lost to time. Much like Walt himself, Gabler did not get lazy nor did he make it seem forced.

    The performance was equally fantastic. He gave me the feel of a tale of a man from a small, Midwestern town of a bygone era -or perhaps an era that only existed in the wonderful world of Walt Disney. His voice was soothing, yet it had a fitting tone to inflections. The most praiseworthy aspect of the performance goes to his ability to read footnote citations in a way that I was excited to hear them (even if I would never look them up). He served the writer and the reader by letting us experience the book without taking anything away. I will miss those footnotes almost as much as I will miss the stories of Walt’s complete life, a life that -decades after his death- remains a work on the Carousel of Progress.

  14. Faustino Dust

    This is a long listen but worth every minute. You realize that Disney was the precursor of Steve Jobs but perhaps even more visionary.

  15. Mark Bowser

    Powerfully Written about a Powerful Man
    Neal Gabler has written a well researched book on a man who changed a culture and the world. I highly recommend this book to every Disney fan and business leader.

    Mark Bowser
    Author of “Sales Success” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel”

  16. Josiah Holub

    Very good….very long, but VERY INSIGHTFUL 🙂
    What made the experience of listening to Walt Disney the most enjoyable?

  17. Marvin P.

    A Delightful Surprise
    I did not expect this book to be so engaging. Well written, well researched, excellent reading (it’s better at 1.25 speed).

  18. Mozell Ruiter

    I couldn’t put this book down.
    This book is long but soooo engaging!! I loved every minute of it. I have a whole new respect for Walt Disney!!

  19. Marcellis

    Very thorough.
    Maybe too thorough? This biography changed my preception of both the man and his works. A very informative and personal look into Walt Disney’s life. Highly recommended.

  20. Brian Albright

    Long, detailed life story
    Struggled to finish. So detailed with the footnotes etc. Learned so much however.

  21. Bob Riebe

    Truly Engaging Biography
    A truly engaging biography. When Walt was going through rough patches, facing criticism or potential bankruptcy (quite often, as it turns out) I’d be hanging on every word, as if what I were reading was fiction and I was waiting for the moment where the hero pulls through. The episodic way in which the story is told not necessarily chronologically, but by project, works hugely in its favor.

    I tried following along with cartoons, features and live action projects as I whizzed through this one, and while I ultimately couldn’t keep up (I got through 1946’s ‘Make Mine Music’ by the end) I’d highly recommend doing the same while you read this.

    I love the attention to detail that’s expressed in this book without, like in some historical or biographical works, making it seem dry or unfocused- everything is in the service of the narrative and emotional core of the piece. Longest audiobook I’ve read to date by far, yet it feels like it’s been one of the fastest to go by. An absolutely incredible read.

    service narrator is excellent. I wouldn’t change a thing about his performance.


  22. Max Cronoble

    Growing up on Pinocchio, Davy Crockett, Lady & The Tramp, Peter Pan, The Mickey Mouse Club, etc, etc., I knew Walt Disney aka “Uncle Walt” was very special person but I had no idea of the devastating lows he had to soldier through on the road to his many stunning achievements A lesser person would have given up
    100 times!
    This is a careful and comprehensive study of Walt Disney’s life from beginning to end. Well researched and well-written it shows Walt in all his facets. Neal Gabler is objective, not fawning or hypercritical, and his work makes for a fascinating story of a true American genius!

    PS: The narrator, Arthur Morey, was easy to listen to and his low key style did not get in the way of the words.

  23. Corrinne S.

    At times, it felt like standing in line at Walt Disney world
    The book was interesting to learn more about Walt Disney, since his public figure was different from what he was like as he ran his studio. However, the book got very detailed at parts, e.g distribution contract negotiation, which could have been summarized or shortened.

    The reader did a good job and I likely would not have finished the book if I had not listened to the book.

  24. Matthew Pfluger

    A marvelous and enlightening look into Walt Disney
    I really enjoyed learning more about Disney. I appreciate the work the author put into the story and research, and I understand why some complain that the book contains too much of the author’s opinions and psychoanalysis. Still, I found the work fantastic, and I plan to listen again.

  25. Todd Penland

    what an incredible story.
    great narration. super interesting and inspiring. As a fan of Disney this is a must read. I just finished I might read again for a second time

  26. Arlyne Bartholemew

    This is one of those rare audiobooks that you want to tell everyone about. I’ve shared stories from this book to most of my friends.

  27. Stefania Melso

    Not as expected
    When you intend to read a book about Walt Disney’s life, one of the greatest man that have ever lived, you expect to have a through understanding about the man behind the legend. However, this book focus more on useless business topics and profiles for 3/4 of its length. It edges the boredom and almost made me stop reading it. His major achievements and fantastic ideas are just small supporting pieces of the story. Super long book, half of the length would have the same meaningful content.

  28. Dixie Molloy

    I recommend it
    At times the book got a little more about the company than Walt Disney. But overall, I’d recommend it. Pretty good read about a pretty amazing man.

  29. Denny R.

    Amazing biography of a great American Genius
    a great bio on one of the most loved and revered businessmen and celebrities in the world. A man who built an empire by selling joy and wholesome family fun.

  30. John Galayda

    Amazing and Inspiring Innovator
    This is an extremely thorough biography of Walt Disney’s life and his brilliant imagination. The book touches on topics like Walt’s childhood, Mickey Mouse cartoons, the beginnings of feature length animated film, “The Wonderful World of Color” TV show, and of course Disneyland. As a former Disneyland Cast Member, I greatly enjoyed this biography and learned a lot more about his life than I knew before. The narrator’s voice even sounds magical!
    Also, I loved this biography so much that I ended up buying the book too. I highly recommend it to any Disney fan.

  31. Molly Stindt

    Aspiring Creative Entrepreneur? Read this..
    In short, get this book. A Disney fan, Business Major, Innovators, History Buffs, Artists and other creative souls will love the book which follows Walt’s beginnings, through his creative growth and into the Studio and Park years.

    About Me: I’m a fairly recent “Disney” fan. Of course I grew up exposed to Disney stories and movies but we weren’t fans, in fact the only Disney movie I owned 10 years ago was a taped copy of the Jungle Book and had been to Disney World one time at the age of 5.
    That all changed about 6 years ago when a fellow Design student (Disney fanatic) invited me to Disney Land on spring break. The complete and utter mastery of the Disney business and design has had me hooked ever since. I’ve become one of “those” people. In the last 6 years I’ve been obsessed with the creative process that brought Walt to produce amazing and enduring stories. Also how he managed to keep his company relevant until it was turned over the modern managers (Michael Eisner & Bob Iger).

    About the book: The story I already knew would be amazing. Neal Gabler does a great job of finding little personal details and tid-bits and weaving through the narrative you might already be aware of. Walt was a bit of an enigma before and after his death. Neal makes sure to include several sides of all stories to give the reader a clear picture.

    I love this book because as a an aspiring creative entrepreneur I was really able to see some of the best principles Walt & Roy used to protect, facilitate, manage and modernize their art and business.

    The best parts of American culture are shown in Walt’s work and the ‘can do’ attitude mixed with continuous technological advancements needed to make his dream a reality. This book chronicles that story.

  32. Daren A.

    Detailed Book
    this book is extremely detailed and focuses more on the animation and the art then it does on the theme parks.

  33. Crystal Harnack

    An amazing vissionary!
    After listening to this, I find I understand Walt Disney as well as anyone can expect. I found his ability to keep his personal life private, given that he was very much a public figure with his film studio, and theme parks, as well as his tellivison specials. I also was greatly interested at all of the details regarding his creation of all of his early films, and what he went through with the author of Marry Poppins when he was trying to obtain the rights to put her character on screen. Yes, you could say he was very contriversial, but you can’t deny the fact that he thought about the progression of our country well past his own death."service 20 review sweepstakes entry."

  34. Keeley M.

    Walt Disney, what a ride.
    Would you listen to Walt Disney again? Why?

  35. Davis Geisen

    Whether things are odd or things are quaint
    The man Walt Disney must have been something else.
    At the end of the day this book does not let you Know him. One thing is for certain. One does not know what one does not know.

    Thank you for the Life Lessons and Legacy

    One dreamer to another sincerely,


  36. Sharleen Koussa

    Possibly best read yet…
    I’ve read a lot of entrepreneurial books of late but this was so comprehensive and well written. Something every leader should read.

  37. Joel Stoll

    Great Book and Amazing Narrator!
    I loved this book. I listened to it while in the car mostly so the 33 hours went by quick. It was interesting from beginning to end. I saw some people say that they thought it was not for people who are really big Disney fans because it talks a lot about his flaws. I actually liked that part even though I am a huge fan. I thought it made him more relatable. We tend to put icons like him on pedestals, so seeing their flaws makes them feel more normal which I enjoy. I would definitely recommend!

  38. Elia Kinseth

    What a Life!!
    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

  39. Kenneth A.

    An interesting man
    Disney was, to say the very least, a very interesting person. It was cool to hear the whole story (or one version of the story) from his failures, to his intense – though sometimes fleeting passions, to the man we know him for today.
    The book overall was dry in some places, but ’tis the nature of a biography. Nevertheless, having a narrator reading out a citation or listing out numbers, makes for a somewhat tedious listen.
    This was definitely one of the more thorough Disney biographies and is worth the credit!

  40. Jerlene B.

    Interesting but a little dry
    What did you like best about Walt Disney? What did you like least?

  41. Customer

    Best bio in 20 years
    Can’t say enough…depth of research, artistry in writing was clear. Walt jumps off the page as a real person, the artist, the boss, father, husband, entrepreneur. He was all of those things. One of the greatest Americans who ever lived. You feel like you know him personally by the end.

  42. Olin Goepfarth

    incredible, just incredible
    Walt Disney, artist, genius, perfectionist, and master of Dreams. More than worth the time. He was a legend and, yet, he was human. This Biography should be listened to by every dreamer who wants to follow their hopes.

  43. sarah veyna

    What a great book!
    This is not only an amazing book but also had
    great narration. I highly recommended it.

  44. Josh Yelverton

    Lose the footnotes in the service book!
    The frequent reading of footnotes was a unwanted distraction that takes the listener out of the book when the listener needs to be in the book. Very irritating!!!!

  45. Mittie Budish

    Very Good Book
    If you could sum up Walt Disney in three words, what would they be?

  46. Jeffrey

    Truly inspiring and thought provoking
    I absolutely loved this book. Though it dragged on a bit because it was so detailed, those details really make you feel like you get to know the man personally. Having just finished, I’m sad. I feel like I lost a friend.

    There is a lot inspiring in this book, but what I will take away is this: that Walt was a very imperfect person with lots of faults and foibles, but he managed to change the world.

  47. Happyreader

    This biography provides is both an educational depiction of life in the US during the early to mid fifties, as well as a book filled with timeless examples of leadership and management issues in business.

  48. Yahaira Helquist

    Very Detailed and Fair
    Very detailed and well researched. I thought it was a fair account of Mr Disney, illustrating the positives and challenges of this very complicated man. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I intend on listening to it again.

  49. Rex Compagna

    Fantastic and not sentimental
    Would you consider the audio edition of Walt Disney to be better than the print version?

  50. Deneen Lightbourne

    great book, great man, enough said. a a a a a a a a a a 20 word minimum

  51. Eliseo Chaudhry

    Fantastic Book
    This Audio Book gives great incite on the life of Walt Disney. I was surprised to find out that Walt Disney was innovative on many things outside of film and animation. This book also shows that when you get the right people around you, you can make things you imagine come true.

    This book also exposes some of Walt Disney’s flaws as well. It does a great job of breaking apart the mythological status of Disney. Readers will see a man with who like all of us has fears and weaknesses. This is a fantastic book.

  52. Roberto Wetzel

    the best biography you could hope for
    if your fan of Walt Disney, and want to learn more about the man behind the Persona created for the company, this is the book you need to read. I’ve heard the story of Walt Disney and his life several times through several different mediums, but this is a whole other level. I was struck by the detail that went in to the early years of his life before the mouse as well as how every life event and production he was involved in is detailed in the appropriate manner. Many of the stories in this book I had heard before, but had never had them tied together in such an interesting way. It’s not just the details, it’s the context as well. I can’t imagine it better biography being written about this man.

  53. Terence Kuszlyk

    If you want to know about all about Walt Disney
    The narrative can be a little droning at times and sometimes the narrator miss pronounces words. However it is a good detailing of Walt Disney’s life. We learn about the bad as well as the good. if you are a Disney-ofile, you’ll appreciate this audio.

  54. Lashon Dalhart

    If you could sum up Walt Disney in three words, what would they be?

  55. Earnest Vitela

    A Wonderful Biography That Comes Off Dry
    The life of one of my heroes, Walt Disney, is expertly told by Neil Gabler, but at times it gets very dry. Long sections of financial troubles and other such issues become very boring. They are important parts of Disney’s life, but they seem to drag on too long. However, they are punctuated with wonderful anecdotes of Disney’s life, some bad (like his tumultuous relationship with his wife), some uplifting (like hearing of how a mid-50 year old Walt would challenge people to sword fights while working on Zorro). Overall a good listen if someone is willing to put the time into it. As a follow up read I highly recommend “DisneyWar” by James Stewart, an exposé on the Walt Disney Company during its time with Michael Eisner, a way of seeing how the company faired after Walt into the modern era.

  56. Adolph Revis

    Great and most detailed book on Disney
    loved it! best audio book for Disney that service has. have read them all.

  57. Nieves Maulding

    Disney the man, not the company
    This is all about Disney the man. It shows his highs and lows. If you’re looking for a story about the company and it’s cultural impact, this is not the one. If you’re curious about learning what was going on with Walt Disney during different points in time, this is the book for you.

    This first half of the book leading up to World War II is excellent. The second half of the book seemed to drag on.

  58. Joie Begnaud

    Accurate facts, lots of pop psychology
    What did you love best about Walt Disney?

  59. P. Lund

    Great book, the most comprehensive one out there.
    Great book and great reading voice. The life story is comprehensive. A definitive biography on the guy. The reader had a calm “normal” voice as well.

  60. Tinisha Sonza

    There is no way around this: this is the definitive biography on Walt Disney. The only issue that I had with it was getting mired in minutia. Nevertheless, after reading this you will have a full understanding of the man. The miss will melt away, and present itself not for the façade that some plain it is, but for the single part it plays in the life of a multifaceted person.

  61. thomas

    Loved every moment of the inspiring story of Walt. Thank you to the author for all hard work for compiling this excellent piece of work.

  62. Rocky Gerstle

    A fairly unbiased portrait of an icon
    First of all, this is not a book about the Disney Company. If you’re looking for a behind the scenes of all your favorite movies, this will leave you wanting more.
    The book is about the man of Walt Disney, with long tales of his early days and his emotional life throughout the first half of the 20th century. It gave me a much better understanding of his background and morality. It gives a much fairer look at some of the criticism of him and unjust accusations against him.
    The book does tend to drag a bit when getting into the internal politics of the early Disney Studio, with union issues and drama about how much they get paid per Mickey Mouse cartoon.
    But the final third of the book really picks up as Walt builds Disneyland and dreams of even grander projects.
    Definitely recommend if you want to get to know this American entrepreneur.

  63. Kevin Birkenholz

    He Amazing Story of Disney and His Mouse
    Loved it! If you are at all interested in Disney this will pull you in. Starts off slow talking about his grandparents and parents life but turns into such an amazing story. Not a perfect man but a man who created so many things that are.

  64. Corey Buckelew

    Fascinating Insight into an American Icon
    After a trip to Walt Disney Music Hall in LA, I realized, while I was intimately familiar with the movies and stories created by Walt Disney and his company, I really knew very little about the man behind them. I’d heard vague rumors of odd political affiliations and deep conservatism, but I couldn’t tell the story of how he became the icon driving American entertainment.

    This biography is an important illustration of his drive, vision, and creative process. It gave me a deep respect for a mind always reaching beyond technological and financial means to discover something new. Disney is less of an entertainment tycoon and more of a great American explorer and artist, properly understood alongside personalities like Lewis and Clark, the Wright Brothers, or Frank Lloyd Wright rather than Louis B. Mayer.

    The biography delves into the creation of foundational Disney classics, and creates a kind of suspense with each bold new experiment, with debt and ruin lurking behind every decision. It is a tale brilliantly told and an honest portrait of an essential personality.

  65. Armand C.

    The Wonderful World of Walt
    After listening, I realize now how I grossly underestimated the influence Walt Disney had on my childhood. Like a lot of kids I grew up watching cartoons. I even had a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt. What was fascinating about this biography is how it gave me new insights into an era & a man I thought I new pretty well. To learn about Walt Disney is to learn about America. I highly recommend this book.

  66. Antonietta Stotz

    What a story! 40 hours and wish it was longer.
    If you are a Disney fan, this is a must read. I grew up going to Disney World and was amazed at the level of detail that went into the operation. Years later, I dropped out of college as an entrepreneur major and went to Disney World to learn how one man could bring so many ideas to fruition. A decision that truly taught me so much more than I could have ever learned on a college campus. I always admired Walt for his entrepreneurial spirit. Despite experiencing Disney Traditions, Disney University and working as a cast member for many years, I learned many things I did not know about this man and all of his accomplishments. For someone who thought they knew all there was to know… I really learned a lot.

  67. Irvin H.

    Great book!
    Overall, a really good book that details the life of Walter Elias Disney is great detail. The only hangup is the performance delivered by the voiceover. He’s extremely bland and monotone in his delivery. The storyline itself is exciting but the Voiceover performance bored me and I fell asleep a few times.

  68. Mollie Graham

    Walt E. Disney
    The man who gave his all and then some. A vision into the now and into the future… great book.

  69. Marline T.

    Wonderful. I enjoyed every minute. Must read!
    I truly enjoyed getting to know this amazing man. This book was more than a review of his life. This book showed that with determination and grit, and a dash of luck – it is possible to fulfill dreams.

  70. Shanice Kocab

    Fantastic book – so so execution
    The book is in depth and fact filled.

    The reader (Arthur Morley) mispronounces words time and again, which is a bit jarring.

    There are also glitches, where the recording will hiccup and it seems as though pieces are missing. Upon replaying it is clear this was in the actual recording, not in the playback as it kept doing this same stuff at the same points. It happened about half a dozen times, but it definitely makes me wonder what was missed.

    Overall the story of Walt Disney is a great one and this is so well researched that the book is the best one out there about the man. I just wish the execution of this particular recording was a bit better and more deserving of its subject.

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