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DisneyWar

Narrated by: Patrick Lawlor
Length: 25 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

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Summary

The dramatic inside story of the downfall of Michael Eisner - Disney chairman and CEO - and the scandals that drove America's best-known entertainment company to civil war.

"When You Wish Upon a Star", "Whistle While You Work", "The Happiest Place on Earth" - these are lyrics indelibly linked to Disney, one of the most admired and best-known companies in the world. So when Roy Disney, chairman of Walt Disney Animation and nephew of founder Walt Disney, abruptly resigned in November 2003 and declared war on chairman and chief executive Michael Eisner, he sent shock waves through the entertainment industry, corporate boardrooms, theme parks, and living rooms around the world - everywhere Disney does business and its products are cherished.

Drawing on unprecedented access to both Eisner and Roy Disney, current and former Disney executives and board members, as well as thousands of pages of never-before-seen letters, memos, transcripts, and other documents, James B. Stewart gets to the bottom of mysteries that have enveloped Disney for years: What really caused the rupture with studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, a man who once regarded Eisner as a father but who became his fiercest rival? How could Eisner have so misjudged Michael Ovitz, a man who was not only "the most powerful man in Hollywood" but also his friend, whom he appointed as Disney president and immediately wanted to fire? What caused the break between Eisner and Pixar chairman Steve Jobs, and why did Pixar abruptly abandon its partnership with Disney? Why did Eisner so mistrust Roy Disney that he assigned Disney company executives to spy on him? How did Eisner control the Disney board for so long, and what really happened in the fateful board meeting in September 2004, when Eisner played his last cards?

DisneyWar is an enthralling tale of one of America's most powerful media and entertainment companies, the people who control it, and those trying to overthrow them. It tells a story that - in its sudden twists, vivid, larger-than-life characters, and thrilling climax - might itself have been the subject of a Disney classic - except that it's all true.

©2005 James B. Stewart. All rights reserved. (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The not so magical world of Disney

An interesting look behind the scenes at one of the largest media conglomerates of recent generations. Covering the less publicised boardroom politics and near Machiavellian intrigues, during the reign of Michael Isner - who headed the company during both its 'renaissance' and subsequent direct-to-video fall from grace.
Despite a somewhat dry and factual accounting (which is, in actuality, to its credit) kept me hooked and coming back from start to finish.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Gripping, insightful but ends abruptly.

As the book was published in 2005, the ‘story’ ends on something of a cliffhanger. The Eisner era was coming to a close by this point but with Disney’s most recent animation at this point being ‘Home on the Range’, the creative and financial turnaround post Eisner goes untold.
If only there was a part 2! Otherwise, it’s a fascinating journey while it lasts.

3 people found this helpful

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Should have been called the Eisner Biography

Good for those interested in business dealings, interesting if sometimes dry. Heavy focus on Eisner

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  • N
  • 16-01-19

Hollywood History

This power struggle is epic, set in a backdrop of Hollywood Movies. A great listen!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The wonderful, cutthroat world of Disney

A fascinating look behind the scenes of "the happiest place on earth" during the years that Michael Eisner was the CEO of the Walt Disney Company. The book candidly tracks the rise and fall of the man who oversaw the resurrection of the company during one of its bleakest time periods in the 1980s, its celebrated renaissance in the 1990s, and the eventual decline of Eisner's popularity and the highly publicized drama that followed as he alienated his closest allies and refused to loosen his micromanaging grip on the company. The performance by Patrick Lawlor is engaging enough to hold one's attention, but his attempts to give individual voices to certain persons are inconsistent. Sometimes the same person is given a gruff or sensitive voice, only for the affect to disappear after a few seconds. It can make it difficult to keep track of who is supposed to be speaking. The narrative gets a little confusing at times, especially in the first half where the story occasionally jumps several years back or forth in time. This is probably done to highlight how past events ended up having long term effects, but it is a little jarring to frequently have the narrator start in 1984, then mention events that occurred in 2004, then jump back to the 1980s again. Aside from the occasional time jumps I found the narrative fascinating and enjoyable. It's great to hear stories about how classic movies and TV shows were conceived and given form (such as The Sixth Sense, Lost, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? or Pirates of the Caribbean), and how many of them were originally considered too risky or destined for failure. There is plenty of scheming and backstabbing here worthy of the most memorable Disney villains, highlighted all the more against the backdrop of a company known for its polished, family-friendly image. The book left me hungry for more stories from the wonderful, cutthroat world of Disney.

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excellent insight into the Walt Disney company

a great listen into a turbulent era of an American icon, a well researched book offering a great commentary on the rise and fall of Michael Eisner. narration was delivered well with just enough inflection on voices without been distracting. overall well with the time

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  • rotinaj
  • 18-12-17

Really interesting story... No ending.

What made the experience of listening to DisneyWar the most enjoyable?

The story of the Second Disney Golden Age was really fascinating. Hearing about the events that led up to the Little Mermaid, Toy Story, the Lion King, and then the descent into not-so-good stuff with Pocahontas and the Hunchback was really cool. As was hearing about all of

Who was your favorite character and why?

They were all repugnant jerks, for totally different reasons. Of the main lot, I'd say Jeffrey Katzenberg, even though I know he's a massive tool as well.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The final schism between Katzenberg and Eisner.

Any additional comments?

Be warned, this book doesn't have a conclusion. It just kind of ends. I was fully expecting to hear the results of Eisner's ouster from Disney, and it ends way before then. Which was a bummer. It was still totally worth listening to.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Casey
  • 14-02-18

One of My Favorites

I bought a version of this book released by Blackstone when I first joined Audible in 2006. Even though this is not a new recording I picked up this version as well as I had a credit I needed to spend.

This is a great book that goes inside the tenure of Michael Eisner as CEO of the Walt Disney Company. While there are a few errors in the text that I noticed and at least one mispronunciation of a name, it is still as engrossing as the first time I listened to it back in June of 2006. In fact, I am probably still an audible member today in part because of how much I have enjoyed relistening to this one over the years.

It is a lengthly listen at over 25 hours but it is never boring. Some of the most interesting aspects are learning of the shows and movies that Disney could have made but passed on like Lord of the Rings and Survivor. I think this a must listen for anyone interested in Disney history or anyone interested in knowing how to business both the right and wrong way.

7 people found this helpful

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  • milo
  • 28-02-19

Corporate culture at it's finest

A shockingly interesting listen about a topic i never imagined would be interesting. Recommended to everybody with any interest in corporate culture or disney.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • NJKC
  • 25-02-19

The Not so wonderful world of Disney under Eisner

Excellent insight to the world of Disney.
Very enjoyable especially learning the decision process behind many of the classic Disney productions.
I was very discouraged with the lack of character and despicable behavior of Michael Eisner. The book also outlines the lack of Board oversight under Eisner.
My only negative (4 vs 5 stars) was the inconsistencies of the narration. Soundly like certain sections were edited or rerecorded, and the change in volume and pace of speech were evident and distracting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dressesandcapes
  • 06-12-18

If you like Disney behind the scenes you’ll love this

Great book at the troubled times at Disney. It was super engaging and i really enjoyed learning about the behind the scene drama!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • JFlynn
  • 01-12-18

Great book

Author does an incredible job of telling a complicated story. I am sorry it ended on 2005 and didn’t continue on further in the Disney Drama. drama.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brian Pearson
  • 11-11-18

Amazing Insight

Detailed, riveting, and full of firsthand account of some of the biggest....and most polarizing....decisions made by Disney.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • WesleyS
  • 22-10-18

One of my all time favorites!

This is by far one of the best Audiobooks I have ever listed to! I cannot recommend this book enough, especially if you are a fan of Disney/corporate history.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shannon Carty
  • 22-08-18

An Unexpected Page Turner

I was expecting an interesting book going into this title, seeing as it came highly recommended by a favorite youtuber. I was not expecting a can't-put-it-down, just-thirty-more-minutes roller coaster. I wasn't even overly engaged in the book topic at first. That quickly changed as the author rolled out the "Shakespearean drama" that was the Eisner Era. I flew through this title in 3 days and could have easily enjoyed the author covering the next 10 years of the Disney company.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Morticia
  • 17-08-18

A fun peek into the Eisner Era at Disney

Hours of entertainment. Boy, Eisner was hilarious!
Also nice knowing that others, not just Eisner where comically bad or inept.
A great listen while you're doing chores or commuting to work, DEFINATELY worth the credit!

1 person found this helpful