I received an advance reader copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

The first time we drove our daughter to visit the college she ultimately attended, we passed by Marceline, MO on U.S. Route 36. My wife and I saw signs along the highway celebrating the town as the boyhood home of Walt Disney, and remarked that on one of our trips to visit our daughter we would need to make a side trip to see the Disney related attractions there. When our daughter graduated, we had still not take to time to stop there.

The town of Marceline figures largely in this book, which focuses on the life of Walt Disney from birth until he lost control of the Oswald the Rabbit character he created when he was in his 20s.

Disney had a somewhat antagonistic relationship with his father, who felt that pursuing art as a career did not fit into his religious worldview. The younger Disney got along well with his mother, siblings, and extended family, but the clashes with his father caused him to split away from his parents at a fairly early age. One of the things I learned from this book concerned Disney’s experiences driving Red Cross ambulances and other vehicles in France just after the end of World War I at the age of 16. Living in the Kansas City area, it was also interesting to read about several familiar locations in the city that have been associated with Disney’s life and career.

I gave The Early Life of Walt Disney five stars. I figure it’s always a good idea to read about the struggles of people who ultimately achieve great success, and Walt Disney definitely fits that description.