9780345417527 / 0345417526

The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney's New Town


Publisher:Ballantine Books



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About the book:

In The Celebration Chronicles, Andrew Ross has written a moving and subtle account of his yearlong stay at Disney's glistening suburban development in Celebration, Florida. Readers might expect that Ross, the director of American studies at New York University and a devoted urbanite, would contribute to both the fashionable sport of Disney bashing and the tired genre of suburban reproof. But, like an anthropologist gone native, Ross immersed himself in the community, interviewing dozens of the 20,000 residents, volunteering at the local school, and finding himself pleasantly surprised when his subjects had christened him an honorary Celebrationite.

Celebration, Ross argues, is the latest in a long line of utopian communities built to realize the American dream. Many wealthy and eager romantics flocked to the town with a faith that Disney magic would fulfill their hopes for a perfect community (and increase their property values). When the majority of these people found their dreams dashed against the corporation's bottom line, however, they engaged in grass roots activism that did more to bring their community together than any of the schemes from Disney "imagineers." Moving from a cogent analysis of the town to a multifaceted consideration of the environmental implications of American liberty, The Celebration Chronicles is a masterpiece of American studies scholarship. As astute as it is readable, Ross's book shows how Celebration's high-octane pursuit of happiness resulted in a limited civic culture and contributed to an overall ecological catastrophe that continues to worsen with each new drive toward the American dream. --James Highfill

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