An animated history of an iconic destination.

DISNEY'S LAND

WALT DISNEY AND THE INVENTION OF THE AMUSEMENT PARK THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

How nostalgia, fantasy, and cutting-edge engineering merged into the “tireless commercial dynamo” of Disneyland.

For Snow (Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle That Changed History, 2016, etc.), former editor-in-chief of American Heritage magazine, a fascination with amusement parks began at Playland in Rye, New York, and intensified when he raptly watched Disneyland, a show airing weekly on ABC that whetted viewers’ appetite for Walt Disney’s ambitious project. When Snow finally visited, in 1959, at the age of 12, he arrived with high expectations that, he recalls happily, “were met and surpassed.” The author’s admiration for Disneyland infuses his brisk, thorough history of the huge theme park, from an idea conceived by “the powerful personality of one man” to its realization as a monument to “an America where all is prosperous and convivial”—a place, as writer Ray Bradbury commented, that “liberates men to their better selves.” Snow portrays Disney as a tireless and demanding boss who was “often dissatisfied with things as he found them; his preferences changed from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour.” He was a perfectionist determined to build his park no matter who (his brother, for example, who balked at the expense) or what (problems building a scale model of the Matterhorn, for one, and installing a jungle in arid California) got in the way of his dream: “something of a fair, an exhibition, a playground, a community center, a museum of living facts and a showplace of beauty and magic.” Snow chronicles in detail the process of finding a site (Anaheim, in southern California); hiring engineers, designers, architects, landscapers, artists, and an ever increasing number of genial, polite staff; building the park’s structures and rides; planning for visitors’ movements through the park, expenditures, and needs such as water, toilets, and food; dealing with unions’ demands; promoting the new destination as “a place for people to find happiness and knowledge”; and overcoming an opening described as nothing less than mayhem.

An animated history of an iconic destination.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-9080-3

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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