Disney Book Review: DisneyWar

I think one reason I love Disney so much is its rich history. It is a company rooted in American history starting in the early part of the last century. With this history comes incredible stories that can be quite entertaining. I find that reading is a great way to uncover new stories and facts. A recent book I read entitled DisneyWar by James B. Stewart, does a great job diving into an era of great importance at the Disney company.

The book specifically takes a look at the rise and fall of Michael Eisner as the Chairman and CEO of Disney. Under this time the film studio, parks and even tv assets saw incredible growth. In the late 80s and early 90s the Animation Studio produced hit after hit ushering in what is now referred to as the “Disney Renaissance”. In the book you get great tidbits about what it takes to negotiate and produce a film and how many hands are reaching in the cookie jar on any given project.

If you’re only a fan of the parks this book might leave you a little underwhelmed as it explores mostly the ongoings of the company itself at the corporate level. You will find some interesting stories about the parks however. Like how Eisner at one point wanted a Mickey Mouse shaped hotel in Disneyland. Or what it took for the Swan and Dolphin hotels to be built at Disney World.

But as it explores the company’s great success it also examines some darker points. Including the ousting of Roy E. Disney, son of Roy O. and nephew of Walt, as well as fights Eisner and other executives had with one another. A huge part of the book examines the relationship with Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg who ran the studio aspect of the company in the early years of the Eisner era. It ends with Eisner’s departure but it paints an interesting picture of what it takes to run the top entertainment company in the world.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It can drag on at times in certain aspects but the insider stories you discover more that make up for it. While it is more of a business book than anything, I think it would be a welcome addition to the collection of any Disney fan. 

Check out DisneyWar via amazon and let me know what you think of the book!

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