Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation Audiobook, by Reid Mitenbuler Play Audiobook Sample

Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation Audiobook

Wild Minds: The Artists and Rivalries That Inspired the Golden Age of Animation Audiobook, by Reid Mitenbuler Play Audiobook Sample
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95
$9.95 for new members!(Includes UNLIMITED podcast listening) Add to Cart learn more
Regular Price: $24.99 Add to Cart
Read By: Kevin R. Free Publisher: Recorded Books, Inc. Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 9.17 hours at 1.5x Speed 6.88 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: December 2020 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781705008751

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

43:27 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

25 seconds

Average Chapter Length:

22:52 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Reid Mitenbuler: > View All...

Publisher Description

In 1911, famed cartoonist Winsor McCay debuted one of the first animated cartoons, based on his sophisticated newspaper strip “Little Nemo in Slumberland,” itself inspired by Freud’s recent research on dreams. McCay is largely forgotten today, but he unleashed an art form and the creative energy of artists from Otto Messmer and Max Fleischer to Walt Disney and Warner Bros.’ Chuck Jones. Their origin stories, rivalries, and sheer genius, as Reid Mitenbuler skillfully relates, were as colorful and subversive as their creations―from Felix the Cat to Bugs Bunny to feature films such as Fantasia―which became an integral part and reflection of American culture over the next five decades.

Pre-television, animated cartoons were aimed squarely at adults; comic preludes to movies, they were often “little hand grenades of social and political satire.” Early Betty Boop cartoons included nudity; Popeye stories contained sly references to the injustices of unchecked capitalism. “During its first half-century,” Mitenbuler writes, “animation was an important part of the culture wars about free speech, censorship, the appropriate boundaries of humor, and the influence of art and media on society.” During WWII it also played a significant role in propaganda. The Golden Age of animation ended with the advent of television, when cartoons were sanitized to appeal to children and help advertisers sell sugary breakfast cereals.

Wild Minds is an ode to our colorful past and to the creative energy that later inspired The Simpsons, South Park, and BoJack Horseman.

Download and start listening now!

“Juicy tales abound about the films and the wildly imaginative people who made them. Mr. Mitenbuler tells their stories with relish and clarity.”

— Wall Street Journal 


  • “Wild Minds is appropriately weird, full of high-flown aspirations and zany anecdotes.”

    — New York Times
  • “A quintessentially American story of daring ambition, personal reinvention, and the eternal tug-of-war of between art and business.”

    — NPR
  • “A rollicking history.”

    — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
  • “The narrative crackles with captivating charm, adding color and nuance to a cast of familiar cartoon faces.”

    — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)


  • New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice of the Week
  • #1 Amazon bestseller

Wild Minds Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!

About Reid Mitenbuler

Reid Mitenbuler is the author of two acclaimed nonfiction books: Bourbon Empire and Wild Minds. He has written about whiskey and drinking culture for The Atlantic, Slate, Saveur, Whisky Advocate, and other publications.

About Kevin R. Free

Kevin R. Free is an audiobook narrator and the winner of numerous AudioFile Earphones Awards and several AudioFile best narrations of the year selections. Known for his work with young-adult novels, he has read titles by Rick Riordan, Walter Dean Myers, and Joe Haldeman. In 2011 he was named a Best Voice in Young Adult and Fantasy from AudioFile magazine for his narration of Myers’ The Cruisers: Checkmate.