Annotated bibliography of Disney reference books
Books about the history of the Disney Studio

Bailey, Adrian: Walt Disney's World of Fantasy published by Paper Tiger; 1982.
The text is not the most interesting one can find, however some of the photographs will make you like it.

Culhane, Shamus: Talking Animals and Other People published by Da Capro Press; April 1998.
The long awaited reprint of the autobiography of a famous animator from the golden age.

De Moya, Alvaro: O Mundo de Disney published by Geracao Editorial;1996.
Fairly good history of Disney from a Brasilian point of view. The only new information, though, is contained in a short chapter about Disney in Brasil. Written in Brasilian.

Eisner, Michael; Swartz, Tony: Work in Progess published by Random House; 1998.
If it weren't for the fact that Michael is shamelessly forgetting dates and events, this might be an interesting book.

Feild, Robert D.: The Art of Walt Disney published by Collins; 1944.
The first serious book about the Studio, it contains splendid illustrations. The text is a bit dry, though.

Finch, Chistopher: Walt Disney's America published by Abbeville Press; 1978.
This book contains amazing documents but is strangely unfocused. An excellent work, though.

Finch, Christopher: The Art of Walt Disney published by Harry N. Abrams; 1973, updated in 1995.
The images are wonderful, the text is extremely precise and easy to read. What else could one ask for ? The best part of the story is that it was updated twenty years after the first edition. A condensed version was published in 1975.

Flower, Joe: Prince of the Magic Kingdom published by Willey; 1991.
Less positive than The Disney Touch, it tackles the Eisner era while summarizing Walt Disney, An American Original and Storming the Magic Kingdom.

Grover, Ron: The Disney Touch published by Business One Irwin; 1991.
How Eisner and Wells revamped Disney and made it what it is today. Updated in 1997. I consider this book as being part of a triptych of Disney reference books about the history of the company: first the official biography by Bob Thomas (1901-1966), second Storming the Magic Kingdom by John Taylor (1967-1984) and third this one (1985-today).

Holliss, Richard; Sibley Brian: The Disney Studio Story published by Crown; 1988.
Two parts. One is the complete history of the studio, the other is a complete filmography with commentaries. This is a must have. If only for the illustrations. But the anecdotes are also fascinating. Very in-depth book.

Jackson, Kathy Merlock: Walt Disney, a Bio-Bibliography published by Greenwood Press; 1993.
By trying to do too much in too few pages, Kathy does not really succeed in creating an in-depth reference book. The bibliography is interesting, though.

Justice, Bill: Justice for Disney published by Tomart Publications; 1992.
The autobiography of the man who drew Chip and Dale, animated most of Disneyland attractions and is the nicest person you will ever meet at a Disneyana convention ("Give me a napkin ! I'll draw for you since you seem to enjoy it as much as I do !").

Kinney, Jack: Walt Disney and other assorted characters published by Harmony Books; 1988.
A look at the studio by one of the men who "created the magic", enjoyed it at times, hated it sometimes and worked a lot on the Goofy shorts.

Lambert, Pierre: Les Artistes de Disney published by Librairie Séguier; 1987.
Very nicely illustrated catalog of a travelling Animation Art exhibition. The art is often "never seen before".Written in French.

Merritt, Russell and Kaufman J.B.: Walt in Wonderland published by Edizioni Biblioteca dell' Imagine; 1992.
This English-Italian book is, to date, the only in depth book about "Walt before Mickey". The documents it contains are often unique or never-published-before.

Mosley, Leonard: The Real Walt Disney published by Crafton; 1985.
"Walt was not so nice but he did some interesting things" could be the summary of this critical and rather negative book. This book was published in 1985 as Disney's World.

Shows, Charles: Walt, Backstage Adventures with Walt Disney published by Windsong Books International; 1980.
A good insider's testimony by one of Walt's directors in the '60s. Interesting and at times funny.

Sinyard, Neil: The Best of Disney published by Twin Portland House; 1988.
One more book about Disney. Not the worst, not the best.

Smith, Dave: Disney A to Z, the Official Encyclopedia published by Hyperion; 1996.
A must have. Very good encyclopedia by the Grand Master of the Disney archives. Dave really outdid himself and promises to update this book with all of the missing names and concepts soon.

Smith, Dave: Disney A to Z: The Updated Official Encyclopedia  published by Hyperion; 1998.
This "must have" reference book by the utmost authority on Disney's history, first published in 1996 is updated with more names, more films and more information that ever.

Solomon, Charles: The Disney that Never Was  published by Hyperion; 1995.
To know more about the bed building scene in Snow White, the Hansel an Gretel musical or what Fantasia could have contained. The art reproduced is almost always "never-seen-before", unfortunately one would have hoped for the book to be bigger, richer. The part about Destino, the Dali project is especially disappointing as it does not feature any illustrations.

Taylor, John: Storming the Magic Kingdom published by KNOPF; 1987.
From "after Walt"(1966) to the Eisner era (1984) or "the financial saga that might have killed our favorite Company". One of the best books about Disney history with Walt official biography by Bob Thomas and The Disney Touch by Ron Grover.

Thomas, Bob: Building a Company: Roy O. Disney and the Creation of an Entertainment Empire published by Hyperion; 1998.
The long awaited biography of Walt's brother - the one without whom most of the Disney universe would not exist, the father of the current Animation Studio chairman.

Thomas, Bob: Disney's Art of Animation published by Hyperion; 1991, updated in 1997.
It contains a very interesting section about the making of Beauty and the Beast.The 1997 updated version contains 60 pages that are completely different from the original version and that focus on the making of Hercules.

Thomas, Bob: The Art of Animation published by Golden Press; 1958.
The first book about Walt Disney's animation. A classic and a great foray into the making of Sleeping Beauty.

Thomas, Bob: Walt Disney, An American Original published by Simon and Shuster; 1976, revised 1994.
The "official biography" or "The Absolute Minimum there is to know about the man who, together with The Mouse, started it all". The must have. If you only buy one book about Walt history, you should buy this one. If you have to buy three, buy this one plus Storming the Magic Kingdom and The Disney Touch.

Thomas, Frank; Johnston Ollie: Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life published by Abbeville; 1981.
The Bible. Does not request any further comment. This is THE best book about Disney animation. Period. Found on every animator's desk (even non-Disney ones) and in every serious library about Disney.

Tippins, Sherill: Michael Eisner, Fun for Everyone published by Garrett Educational Corporation; 1992.
A short biography for kids of the chairman of the Walt Disney Company. Rather weak.

Tytle, Harry: One of Walt's Boys published by ASAP Publishing; 1997.
An excellent insider's testimony by one of Walt's top directors. The book contains some fascinating pictures, the organisation chart of The Disney Studios and a facsimile of a memo by Harry Tytle to Walt. A good work, especially interesting for Disney historians.

Watts, Steven: The Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney and the American Way of Life published by Houghton-Miflin; 1998.
According to Persistence of Vision: "The book offers an extraordinarily interesting and uncommonly insightful look as to what made Walt Disney what he was. (...) It’s great to finally have the academic study of Walt Disney that he has deserved for so long, and yet not have to suffer through any of the intellectual psycho-babble that seems to be so predominant in these studies. Furthermore, the scholarly approach and research involved is phenomenal. (...) Highly recommended."  To my taste, this is probably the greatest, most thorough book ever written about Walt and the studio. A "must-have".

Books to come

100th birthday of Walt Disney book; 2001.

75th birthday of the Walt Disney Company book by Tim O'Day; 1998.
Information reported by Persistence of Vision. No other information available yet.

Allan, Robin: Walt Disney and Europe published by Indiana University Press; 1999.
Robin is one of the most respected European Disney historians. His name has appeared in countless Disney books and his thesis is a masterpiece, full of new interviews and documents. His book is a reprint of the thesis and should therefore be a must-have for fellow Disney historians.

Canemaker, John: Paper Dreams - The Art and Artists of Disney Storyboards; October 1999.
If this book is as fascinating than Before the Animation Begins, I can hardly wait to see it.

Green, Howard; Green, Amy: Remembering Walt - Favorite Memories of Walt Disney published by Hyperion; July 1999.
According to Persistence of Vision: "Green, the extremely likable Vice President of Studio Communications (or "Hype" as he is fond of claiming), has put together what has to be the greatest collection of memories on one person ever compiled. This book will be, in my humble opinion, second only to Bob Thomas’ Walt Disney: An American Original."

Smith, Dave; Clark, Steven: Disney - The First 100 Years published by Hyperion; August 1999.

Kenworthy, John; Iwerks, Leslie (Ub Iwerks' granddaughter): The Hand Behind the Mouse; 1999.
The story of Ub Iwerks. According to Persistence of Vision: "Authoritatively documented, thouroughly researched, and full of interesting anecdotes - it is a book that is long overdue."

All the books already published
All the books to come

Last updated June 29, 1999.