I tend to read everything about the world of Disney that I can get my grubby little paws on. I read travel books, biographies, Imagineering guides, and trivia books. It’s gotten to the point where my husband laughs at me for my eternal optimism that I might actually find out anything new. That’s why I was so happy to stumble across Disney War by James B. Stewart.
I was actually at Amazon.com to order my daughter’s summer reading assignments for Honors English, and I needed a couple more books to meet the minimum for free shipping. One of the books I ordered I wasn’t too impressed with, so I’ll refrain from mentioning it. Another I ordered was Queens in the Kingdom, by Jeffrey Epstein and Eddie Shapiro. While it didn’t provide much new data and could certainly do with an update, the book itself was hilarious, and a very enjoyable read. The real stand-out though, was Disney War.
Most Disney history books tend to focus on Walt’s life or the history of the parks. I find all of that fascinating, but it can be hard to find anything new. And not to sound like a petulant teenager, but it all happened before my time. Disney War, on the other hand, covers the history of the Walt Disney Company throughout the Michael Eisner years. This is a part of Disney history that I remember vividly. It’s so wonderful to compare the insider look provided by the book to my personal memories of the events described.
The book tries (to my mind at least) to give a fair representation of the side of each of the major players during the events that unfolded during the Eisner era. Why did Roy E. Disney decide to oust his Cousin Diane’s husband from the company in favor of Eisner? How much really changed upon the death of Frank Wells? What was the cause of the acrimonious split (and ensuing lawsuit) with Jeffrey Katzenberg, and what lasting repercussions did his departure bring to the entire animation industry? How did we almost lose Pixar? What finally prompted Roy E. Disney and Stanley Gold to start the Save Disney campaign (which I joined)? How did the acquisition of ABC and the Family Channel impact the company, and why is the company still following this trend towards mammoth acquisitions today? All of this and more is covered in this amazing book. My husband is reading it now, and I can’t wait for him to finish so I can read it again.
Have you read Disney War? If so, what did you think? Do you have any good Disney books you’d like to suggest? Let me know over at http://www.facebook.com/disneygene!