Monday, August 3, 2015

Between Books - Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow: Walt Disney and Technology by Christian Moran promises to provide a history of Walt Disney and Technology.  While Moran provides a breakdown of Walt Disney's achievements pushing forward animation, transportation and even military thought; Moran really offers a history of an innovator and his role moving forward a variety of fields in the 20th Century.

Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow outlines innovations in Walt Disney's career from the development of Mickey Mouse and the use of sound in animated shorts to after Disney's death and how his ideas for EPCOT (the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) were or were not made a reality.  Moran's story is of a man who started in animated shorts, evolved his productions into feature length animated films, entered live-action and eventually entered the theme park business as a avenue to explore personal interests in community planning and changing the physical world.  Particularly interesting to me was the discussion of the development of Victory through Air Power during World War II which helped change the public's view of the use of the bomber and the development of an independent air service.  Also the discussions of the Tomorrowland segments of Disneyland and their impacts of American thought on space and transportation go beyond the expected discussions of the use of color and sound in animation.  Along with Moran's own discussion of Walt Disney the innovator are reflections from those who knew Disney such as Bob Gurr and Rolly Crump and Disney historians including Sam Gennawey and Jim Korkis.  

Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow is in many ways a focused biography of Walt Disney.  This text does not cover in any detail Disney's life before Mickey Mouse or his family interactions.  It is really a focused narrative that follows Disney's thoughts on technology and innovation.  For those who want to be inspired by an inspirational futurist of the 20th century, this book is really for them.  But if one wants to dig deep into every aspect of Disney's life, there are other titles to enjoy that lack the focus of this text.  Moran's focus is not a negative.  It really does deliver a story of Disney and innovation that provides the reader what they are looking for in a coherent and straight forward manner.  

Along with many history books I really have only one request, an index.  The book provides such a nice outline of Disney and technology that I can easily see a middle schooler or high schooler using this focused biography to help them better understand Walt Disney and innovation.  And I can see them using this text to help them craft a research paper.  I have been spending a lot of time with teens recently, so they are top of mind.  But I also have scribbled a note or two in my copy.  And I can see how this book would provide me inspiration in my own research especially when I do not want to pick up a larger and less focused Disney biography. 

Christian Moran in Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow provides his readers a focused biography of Walt Disney that connects Disney with technology and innovation.  And I just hope that like Moran predicts that Tomorrowland, though a box office under performer, and texts like this one can help promote Disney's beliefs in a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow

Review Copy Provided by Theme Park Press

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