South of the Border With Disney: Walt Disney and the Good Neighbor Program, 1941-1948 (Anglais) Relié – 1 octobre 2009
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When Walt Disney visited the countries of South America he did one thing that I wish everyone else would do. He simply treated everybody the way that he himself wanted to be treated. In other words: "The Golden Rule." (Love your neighbor as yourself) And sure enough, his visit to those countries changed history. As such, I believe this book should be required reading for every politician and all students of political science. (Not to mention every Disney fan as well. The book covers the cartoons that resulted from the visit and covers the art of Mary Blair, Frank Thomas, and the others and as such, it's a tour de force in that way as well)
Let's admit it: knowing JB I expected something really good text-wise, something really in-depth, something in which I would learn a lot, something that would fill half a million key gaps in Disney history. I had been looking forward to this book since 2001. Eight long years. So if I said that I could not wait to open the package that contained it, you will not be surprised. What happened next was not expected though: when I started browsing through this new book I simply could not believe my eyes. The text is more complete and more in-depth than literally anything I could have imagined. I believe that only four Disney historians are as thorough: Michael Barrier, John Canemaker, Paul F. Anderson and JB Kaufman. So there is even more to learn in the text itself than my wildest dreams built over 8 years had made me expect. How is that for a stunning start?
But there is more! The quality of the illustrations is as astounding as the text. At least half of the visual documents are "never seen before." I had goosebumps by looking at almost every single page of this book. I had started to think that aside from the Canemaker books and The Disney that Never Was by Charles Solomon, we would from now on be offered either great text-books (Working with Walt by Don Peri for example) or great art-books with no text (The Disney Archives Series for example). Unfortunately JB's Silly Symphony book had not dispelled this impression (great text with uniteresting visual documents).
South of the Border with Disney shows that I was wrong: ideal books can exist. Books about Disney history as we dream them. Books that are as close to perfection as we will ever get.
By the way: this is the first book released under the Walt Disney Family Foundation label. What an impressive way to start. Disney history is truly alive and well today.