The Magic Kingdom
Walt Disney and the American Way of Life
Steven Watts
568 pages
6 x 9
2001

Formats available:
Paperback   $29.95 TR
ISBN: 978-0-8262-1379-2
E Book   $29.95 TR
ISBN: 978-0-8262-7300-0

About the Book

The Magic Kingdom sheds new light on the cultural icon of "Uncle Walt." Watts digs deeply into Disney's private life, investigating his roles as husband, father, and brother and providing fresh insight into his peculiar psyche-his genuine folksiness and warmth, his domineering treatment of colleagues and friends, his deepest prejudices and passions. Full of colorful sketches of daily life at the Disney Studio and tales about the creation of Disneyland and Disney World, The Magic Kingdom offers a definitive view of one of the most influential Americans of the twentieth century.


Authors/Editors

Steven Watts is Chairman of the History Department at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the author of several books, including The Republic Reborn: War and the Making of Liberal America, 1790-1820.


Reviews

Watts' account of the Age of Disney hits the bullseye."—Newsday

"A captivating portrait of a complicated man."—St. Louis Post- Dispatch

"Requires us to acknowledge two essential truths that are easy to forget: That where Disney ended up is not where he began and that his stupendous success arose from . . . his heartfelt understanding of and sympathy with `average Americans and their hopes, fears, and values'"—Washington Post

"Steve Watts is both a scholar and a Disneyphile, which makes him an ideal author for this much-neded volume about Walt Disney's place in American culture. It told me things I didn't know before, but even more important, it made me think about things I already knew."—Leonard Maltin, author of The Disney Films

"The Magic Kingdom is a most impressive achievement. . . . More than a first-rate biography, this extraordinarily lucid book- -a work at once of genuine empathy and unsparing criticism—is cultural history at its best."—Robert Westbrook, author of John Dewey and American Democracy

"As true a picture as I could have imagined."—Fess Parker

"This exhaustively researched and remarkably judicious volume should remain our best source on Walt Disney and his manifold enterprises for many years to come."—Journal of American History

"This lively, witty, and insightful study is likely to become a standard."—Library Journal

"Mr. Watts is to be congratulated for producing a subtle, generous-minded account of [the Disney] legacy, and for reminding readers, after so much Disney-bashing, that there was a bright as well as a dark side to the magic kingdom."
The Economist

"The most responsible and comprehensive book on Disney's relationship to American culture in a long while."
Seattle Times

"An immensely thorough, thoughtful survey and syntheses of some sixty years of commentary about Disney, intertwined with Watts' own remarkable perceptive assessments."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Relying on a mountain of archival and interview material, Watts does a masterful job of keeping the sometimes contradictory strands of Disney's life and work together."—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A thoughtful and well-researched biography . . . which also provides a starting point for thinking about the Disney legacy today."—Commentary

"A fine example of academic research that is fully accessible to a nonacademic audience."—Dallas Morning News

"An admirable even-handed work. . . . Stands well above the current, permissively silly academic standards for the discussion of pop culture. . . . A new perspective."—Washingtonian Monthly

"A very thoughtful, reasoned, and entertaining view of a great American success story--two brothers from the Middle West who came to symbolize everything good about America."—Roy Disney

"Forcefully and cogently argued, it does an excellent job of tying together all of the facets—artistic, commercial, and personal—of the Disney saga. . . . This valuable, unique book will be valued by fans, cynics, and semioticians alike."
Booklist

The first truly balanced account of Walt Disney's life and work. Fascinatingly detailed, intellectually vigorous, and candid, Watts's exhaustive research presents a human portrait of this extraordinary `ordinary' man and his profound influence on American culture."—John Canemaker, author of Treasures of Disney Animation Art and Before the Animation Begins: The Art and Lives of Disney Inspiration Sketch Artists

"Reveals why the man who created Mickey Mouse reigns as one of the most important cultural influences of the 20th century. [Written in] a lively, accessible tone."—USA Today

"An invaluable mine of material on how the American century became the Disney century."—Los Angeles Times

"Gives us a vivid portrait of the man behind Mickey Mouse, while at the same time situating his anomalous achievement within a social and esthetic context. . . . A terrifically readable and illuminating book."—New York Times


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