Author : Michael Barrier
"""Description:After much research on the reviews on this website on which Disney biography to read, I was led to believe this was the best written of the 3 major works on Disney's life. At the end, I did not enjoy this work at all and found myself wishing I had chosen either Thomas' or Gabler's book instead.It is apparent throughout this book Barrier had a substantial amount of material on Disney left over from his earlier work on the history of Hollywood animation and often lets stories about the Disney animators themselves runaway for pages at a time. There were points where I started to question if the appropriate title for this book was ""Walt Disney Animators."" The initial narrative of this book is choppy at best as Barrier spends the first quarter of this book quoting various sources to establish Disney pre-Snow White, then in the next sentence fast forwarding as much as 40 years to a different quote that refutes what was just previously said. It's like you are watching a documentary of multiple interviews being slices together of two people arguing the same point from different eras. This is very hard to follow and flows nothing like a good biography should, as shown in the excellent work on another cartoon mogul, Charles Shultz, done by David Michaelis.Barrier also side tracks the book with multiple personal critiques of both animated and life action features where he becomes more critic than biographer. A horrendous example was a very shallow effort at summarizing what the movie Mary Poppins meant to the studio. The author is states the movie is essentially a ""shallow fantasy"" although it succeeded in the launching of Julie Andrews as a major star and won multiple Academy Awards. Barrier has no sense that the movie was kept true to story by the author, P.L Travers, and he is more concerned about the casting of Van Dyke than acknowledging the strong musical score. He critiques the lack of strong central story ""lurking as a failure"" when ignoring this same premise when reviewing positively the feature Alice in Wonderland. At times, Barrier hits his stride when writing about Disney's work as overall mastermind behind the creation of Snow White, DisneyLand and his own personal miniature train hobby. However, these moments are rare and you spend a majority of the time skipping around to various points of view and personal opinions of the author. You also get a very two dimensional history of Disney as the author cannot look at some of the other aspects that made Disney's feature films great, such as there overall musical score. Overall, this is unfortunately one of the worst written biographies I've read and will now have to pick up another one to obtain a better perspective on Disney."""