Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C. V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park
author: Todd James Pierce
average rating: 5.00
read at: 2016/03/16
date added: 2016/03/16
'Three Years in Wonderland: The Disney Brothers, C. V. Wood, and the Making of the Great American Theme Park' by Todd James Pierce is a master work, and it achieves some things that aren't easy.
The first thing it achieves is what I think is a fair viewpoint. I'm a Disney fan, and I've read a number of books on the subject. The problem is that you either get a whitewashed studio version that is so "pro" that it feels a bit like propaganda. The other type you get are the people seeking to show the evil side of the company, recent PBS Walt Disney "documentary" did. This book falls squarely in the middle. By starting with a man that the company sort of disavows knowledge of, we know we are in interesting territory, and Walt is presented as human, for better or worse.
The other amazing thing it achieves is to put us back in a world before theme parks existed. In our modern era, building a theme park doesn't seem like a difficult thing to do, but when Walt Disney conceived of Disneyland, there was really nothing like it. Convincing financial partners to invest was a challenge as well as finding the right people to construct such an immersive world.
And it's also pretty thrilling. As the days dwindle down to the park opening, there is a real sense of tension, which is pretty interesting considering we know the outcome. This is something most movies that are "based on a true story" have a problem doing. How do you make a well known outcome seem fresh and compelling? It's done here.
The book was researched for 9 years, and focuses on the three years leading up to the park opening. It's primary scope is Disneyland. There are tons of notes and quotes. I thought I knew quite a bit about how the park was built, and I was so wrong. This book is a great look at how Disneyland was built, and does a good job of showing how it almost failed at quite a few turns along the way. The shaky relationship between Disney and Wood is portrayed, and I understand the contribution made by this third party in making my very favorite theme park. I can't recommend it high enough for any fans of this theme park.
I received a review copy of this ebook from University Press of Mississippi and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
via Wayne's bookshelf: read http://ift.tt/1QZ5LcI