Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Neal Gabler  

Pen Name: 

Genre: Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;

Born: 1950 in Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Gabler graduated from Lane Tech High School in Chicago, class of 1967, and was inducted into the National Honor Society.

Biographical and Professional Information

Neal Gabler is the author of five books, including three biographies: An Empire of Their Own, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Winchell, which was named Time magazines nonfiction book of the year and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Walt Disney, which won him his second Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was named biography of the year by USA Today. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shorenstein Fellowship from Harvard, and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy scholarship, and was the chief nonfiction judge of the National Book Awards.


Catching the Wind , NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK, Starred Reviews - Booklist and Kirkus

An Empire of Their Own , Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History, 1989

Winchell , Time Magazine Nonfiction Book of the Year, National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist

Walt Disney , Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Biography, USA Today Biography of the Year

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagement Availability: No.

Selected Titles At Your Library

Against the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Rise of Conservatism, 1976-2009
ISBN: 0593238621. OCLC Number: 1264275747


An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood
ISBN: 051756808X. OCLC Number: 16871914

Crown Publishers,. .

From noted film critic Neal Gabler comes a provocative, original, and richly entertaining group biography of the Jewish immigrants who founded and came to dominate the American film industry. These men--Adolph_Zukor, Carl Laemmle, Louis B. Mayer, the Warner brothers, Harry Cohn--created an image of America out of their own idealism, a vision that proved so powerful that it ultimately came to shape the myths, values, traditions, and archetypes of America itself. This spellbinding social history of Hollywood reaches beyond the commonplace stereotypes to examine the psychology of the movie moguls, and the political, religious, and economic milieu of the town and industry they built. For these men, prevented from entering the real corridors of gentility and power in America, cut their lives to the pattern of American respectability as they interpreted it. In the process they created a new country, an 'empire of their own, ' and colonized the American imagination to such an extent that this country came to be largely defined by its movies. In prose as vivid as Tinseltown itself, Neal Gabler paints a mesmerizing portrait of the human face of Hollywood. Richly entertaining, dramatic, and impeccably researched, An Empire of Their Own is, finally, the powerful story of the men who gave us America and wound up losing themselves.--Jacket.

Barbra Streisand: Redefining Beauty, Femininity, and Power
ISBN: 0300210914. OCLC Number: 945663014

Yale University Press. .

Barbra Streisand has been called the most successful ... talented performer of her generation by Vanity Fair, and her voice, said pianist Glenn Gould, is one of the natural wonders of the age. Streisand scaled the heights of entertainment-from a popular vocalist to a first-rank Broadway star in Funny Girl to an Oscar-winning actress to a producer and director. But she has also become a cultural icon who has transcended show business. To achieve her success, Brooklyn-born Streisand had to overcome tremendous odds, not the least of which was her Jewishness. Dismissed, insulted, even reviled when she embarked on a show business career for acting too Jewish and looking too Jewish, she brilliantly converted her Jewishness into a metaphor for outsiderness that would eventually make her the avenger for anyone who felt marginalized and powerless. Neal Gabler examines Streisand's life and career through this prism of otherness-a Jew in a gentile world, a self-proclaimed homely girl in a world of glamour, a kooky girl in a world of convention-and shows how central it was to Streisand's triumph as one of the voices of her age.

Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975
ISBN: 0307405451. OCLC Number: 1260192776


Life, the Movie
ISBN: 0679417524. OCLC Number: 39655612

Knopf,. .

Gabler demonstrates how our hunger for entertainment and the massive exploitation of that hunger have combined to make everything from religion to politics to painting to the news into branches of show business, and how all of us are not only an audience but also performance artists acting out our own dramas.

Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination
ISBN: 067943822X. OCLC Number: 65644828

Knopf,. .

A portrait of the private life and public career of Walt Disney ranges from his deprived youth, to his contributions to the art of animation, to his visionary creation of the first synergistic entertainment empire, to his reclusive and lonely private world.

Winchell: Gossip, Power and the Culture of Celebrity
ISBN: 0679417516. OCLC Number: 29637810

Knopf,. .

In 1925, Winchell brought unabashed gossip to the public press. He understood how invading the lives of the famous and revealing their secrets empowered both purveyor and audience, and forever shattered the taboo against what could be said about celebrities in the media. He soon rose from gossip monger to one of the country's most influential political commentators: in his heyday, two thirds of American adults listened to his weekly radio broadcast or read his daily column. He chatted with Damon Runyon and J. Edgar Hoover, savaged his enemies (including Dorothy Parker, Josephine Baker and Arthur Miller) and made reputations (including Arthur Godfrey, Lucy and Desi, Rowan and Martin), embraced the New Deal and then McCarthyism. An examination of his life illustrates how fame is achieved, how it is lost, what one gains from it, what it exacts, and why America is obsessed with it.--From publisher description.