I use the following criteria to judge a Disney book:
- Is the subject matter compelling?
- Does the text contain new information?
- Is the text easy to read?
- Are there any endnotes or precise references to the sources of the information which give me confidence that what I am reading is accurate?
- Does the book include visual documents that I have not seen before?
The answer to all those questions is an enthusiastic yes when it comes to Mickey Mouse: Emblem of the American Spirit. This huge art-book is clearly one of the most important Disney-history books released last year and will remain a key references for years to come. I learned a lot by reading it and discovered dozens of visual documents which I was not aware of.
So, is this the definitive book about Mickey Mouse? Without a doubt, when it comes to the history of the genesis of Mickey or to the history of Mickey's place in the art world, etc. But there is still space in my bookshelves for at least one more book about Mickey Mouse after this one: one that would be written by experts like David Gerstein and JB Kaufman about the making of Mickey's cartoons and the Mickey shorts that were planned but abandoned.
In the meantime I will read and re-read with tremendous delight Garry's magnum opus.