Help: Seeking The "Definitive" Walt Disney biography?

Discussion in 'Disney Movies, Books, TV and Music' started by AggieDizzer, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. AggieDizzer

    AggieDizzer Earning My Ears

    Mar 22, 2019
    In the movie "Saving Mister Banks", there's a scene where Walt speaks candidly to Ms Travers about his younger days running a paper route for his father back in Marceline. It really struck me that as much as I love the man who has become our "Uncle Walt", I really know very little about his back story. Rather than just grab a book off a shelf somewhere, does anyone have a biography they would recommend as the definitive Walt Disney biography? (Or 2?)

    I would go right to Disney and see what they have, but I'm trying to avoid a sterilized version of the story. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and I would love to try to have an unfiltered look at this great man.

    Lastly, I am also interested in Walt as a businessman. If there are any thoughts on a book or books about how he built the company, his attitude toward, well, the "business side of the business", I would appreciate those suggestions as well.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Micca

    Micca SAHG: Stay At Home Grandfather

    Dec 5, 2000
    I've read several bios on Walt but it's been over 20 years ago, there are several new books on Walt since then. I just skimmed through search on Amazon and I think you could get a feel for the best choices by checking ratings and reviews. There are definitely books on the business side of things. I wouldn't spend time reading more than one authorized/endorsed by Disney book and I'd encourage you to read several before drawing too many conclusions. You might also consider some books written by some of the people who worked closely with Walt. Here's a Disney endorsed book from 1976. I'm remembering this as one of the earliest attempts
    at a bio of Walt (I could be wrong)
    AggieDizzer likes this.
  3. Mattimation

    Mattimation Animator

    Dec 11, 2016
    I’ve read a couple of Disney biographies, and the American Original one Micca posted above is great, but my favorite was Neal Gabler’s “Walt Disney; the Triumph of American Imagination.” The book is huge - Gabler had full access to the Disney archives, so it’s full of interesting facts. A lot of Disney fans hate this book though (And I believe it’s been banned from sale in the parks) because it’s not an idealized, glowing portrait of Walt. I don’t remember it being negative or harsh though, just honest.

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