In This Review

By James B. Stewart
Simon & Schuster, 2005, 592 pp

This account of Michael Eisner's tenure as the head of Disney is more than a business whodunit; it's a superb introduction to the changes making and remaking the American corporate and cultural landscape. When Eisner came to Disney, it was a sleepy company living off its past; managers often finished work by midday. Twenty years later, when a stockholder revolt forced Eisner to step down, both Disney and its competition had changed beyond recognition. Changes in popular taste, continuing revolutions in technology, the globalization of business, the era of corporate raids, the rise and partial fall of the imperial CEO, a new era of management accountability -- all had profoundly changed Disney and its business model. For serious students of American society, Stewart's portrait of a changing entertainment industry will be more interesting than his depiction of the ups and downs of Mr. Eisner's career; nonetheless, like the best products of the old Disney animation studios, this crisply written and carefully researched study will both entertain and instruct.