Sam Gennawey's recent "Walt and the Promise of Progress City" from Ayefour Publishing (www.ayefourpublishing.com) is generating fantastic reviews from leading Disney figures and followers, including a sterling endorsement from Disney Legend, Marty Sklar.
"Progress City" is shaping up to be one of the most important Disney-focused books published to date, especially with its emphasis on the amazing stories behind EPCOT.
Related: New Book Explores Walt Disney and His Prized EPCOT Project / Theme Park & Museum Design with Larry Wyatt / Interview: Long-time Disney PR guru Dave Herbst / Theme Park Design and why Steve Alcorn’s Time Portal / Top 40 Magical Events at the Walt Disney World Resort / Theme Park Resort Design and the Effects of Higher Energy Prices
Below is a sample of just some of the great reviews from Marty and others.
Disney Legend Marty Sklar
"[Sam has] captured much of the attitude and events of the times, and hit on much of Walt's drive and inspiration. [His] research into materials and people who were important in one way or another is exemplary. The notes from Buzz Price, John Hench and Marvin Davis, for example... the apparent influence of Victor Gruen's theories...a relationship that developed with James Rouse - all insightful. It is clear, well researched and useful and thoughtful to anyone studying urban planning."
Len Testa, Co-Author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World
This book is the first to explain – in basic architecture terms – how Disney’s theme parks were designed. It is a fascinating read for anyone who enjoys spending time in Disneyland or Walt Disney World and wants a deeper understanding of why the parks were constructed as they are. While there are other good books on Disney architecture, they tend to describe the parks’ architecture along the lines of “The Imagineers chose A and B to represent the American west” with explaining why A and B were chosen. In contrast, Sam’s Book explains why these choices were made, and from where either Walt or the Disney Imagineers probably saw these architecture patterns in use before.
Jim Hill, Jim Hill Media
If you're looking to purchase a Disney History primer... Well, "Walt and the Promise of Progress City" does covers an awful lot of real estate in an entertaining & informative manner. This book takes its readers from Burbank to Anaheim & Orlando as well as all points in-between. With Sam Gennawey then explaining the significance of each of these projects in relation to Epcot-the-City.
The only downside (that I can see, anyway) to "Walt and the Promise of Progress City" is that - after reading about all of the years of effort & thinking that went into the design of Epcot-the-City - the fact that we wound up with Epcot-the-themepark instead kind of leaves a sour taste in your mouth. But that's through no fault of Sam's. The fact that Progress City failed to progress beyond that model on the top floor of Disneyland's theater-go-round building has mostly to do with Card Walker & Donn Tatum 's inability to turn Walt's last dream into a reality.
Mike Scopa, AllEars.net
The best way to describe Gennawey’s book is to imagine walking down a long corridor and as you stop and admire each painting and get a new understanding for how the corridor was constructed, the corridor becomes more lit and you can admire another painting that gives you more information and more understanding until you reach the end and say, “Ahhh, now I understand how I got here!”
Jeff Heimbuch, From The Mouth of the Mouse
One of the things I enjoyed the most was that the last section of the book lays out, in detail, everything that encompassed Walt's EPCOT, had it been built the way he wanted it too. It was a fascinating look at a very carefully thought out plan, and really gave me a whole new appreciation for a subject I thought I already knew a lot about!