Walt Disney


“Gives us a vivid portrait of the man behind Mickey Mouse, while at the same time situating his anomalous achievement within a social and esthetic context …. A terrifically readable and illuminating book.” New York Times

“An invaluable mine of material on how the American century became the Disney century.” Los Angeles Times

“Reveals why the man who created Mickey Mouse reigns as one of the most important cultural influences of the 20th century.” USA Today

“Watts’ account of the Age of Disney hits the bullseye.” Newsday

“Forcefully and cogently argued, it does an excellent job of tying together all of the facets—artistic, commercial, and personal—of the Disney saga . . . . This valuable, unique book will be valued by fans, cynics, and semioticians alike.” Booklist

“Requires us to acknowledge two essential truths that are easy to forget: that where Disney ended up is not where he began, and that his stupendous success arose from… his heartfelt understanding of and sympathy with ‘average Americans and their hopes, fears, and values.’” Washington Post

“This lively, witty, and insightful study is likely to become a standard.” Library Journal

“Mr. Watts is to be congratulated for producing a subtle, generous-minded account of the Disney legacy, and for reminding readers, after so much Disney-bashing, that there was a bright as well as a dark side to the magic kingdom.” The Economist

“An immensely thorough, thoughtful survey and synthesis of some sixty years of commentary about Disney, intertwined with Watts’ own remarkably perceptive assessments.” Cleveland Plain Dealer

Henry Ford


“Steven Watts portrays Ford — convincingly –- as not just a business genius but a cultural pioneer who heralded and exploited as no one ever had before the rise of an America that valued mobility, consumerism, leisure, and image-making . . . . Admirable . . . intelligent, thorough, and engaging.” New York Times Book Review

“Performing the same magnificent feat for Henry Ford as he did for Walt Disney . . . Watts offers a magisterial and balanced biography of one of America’s business legends . . . . Watts deftly traces Ford’s rise to fame and the innovations that he brought to the workplace . . . . brilliantly reveals the contradictions of Ford’s business philosophy and his personal and work life.” Publishers Weekly

“Ford has had many biographers . . . None, however, come close to Steven Watts . . . . In Watts’ capable hands, Henry Ford is not only a fascinating, world-shaping historical character, he also reflects our own enduring, conflicted desires and dangerous dreams.” Chicago Tribune

“In this thorough and thoughtful biography, Steven Watts makes a compelling case that Ford was the greatest entrepreneur of the twentieth century.” New York Post

“The most integrated understanding to date of Ford’s enormous influence and varied appeal . . . . Watts untangles alternating influences that made such an improbable character out of Ford, a man both celebrated and vilified; and in doing so offers a surprising reassessment of his record. The fascinating result may change the way Henry Ford is remembered.” San Francisco Chronicle

“Explores Ford’s career, not just to explain tectonic shifts in American industry but, more important, to show his impact on an entire culture . . . . A laudably fluent writer – one wishes that more biographies with this book’s intellectual richness also shared its clarity of prose.” Newsday

“Watts sees Ford as more than an automaker; he sees him as a man who, to an uncanny extent, both reflected the times in which he lived and helped shape them . . . . As this long, always fascinating study makes clear, Ford’s energy and creativity were very much at the heart of the American Century.” The Weekly Standard

For a public lecture on The People’s Tycoon on C-Span, click on this link: https://www.c-span.org/video/?189157-1/peoples-tycoon-henry-ford-american-century

For Watts’ appearance on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, click on this link http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2005-10-18/steven-watts-peoples-tycoon-knopf