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Quincy Native Wins Award for Disney Chronicle

By Rodney Hart

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Quincy native James Stewart was honored in New York City Monday night with a prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for his book "Disney War."

The book chronicled the controversial reign of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner. In a phone interview from his New York City office Tuesday, Stewart said he was honored with the award, which beat out two other nominees in the Business Book Category.

The Loeb Awards recognize writers, editors and producers of both print and broadcast media for significant contributions made to business, financial and economic journalism.

"To me, the book always had much broader themes that just about one company," said Stewart, a former Pulitzer Prize-winning writer at the Wall Street Journal who has written several best-selling books. "It was a snapshot of what happened in the corporate world in the last decade."

"Disney War" followed the shocking developments of Roy Disney's resignation in November 2003 and subsequent declaration of war on Eisner, who eventually resigned as Disney chairman and CEO. Stewart's description of how Eisner lost his job as chairman and why he felt he had to resign penetrated the often secretive world of the corporate boardroom.

"Why did this whole notion of shareholder democracy fail?" Stewart said.
"I'm happy (the book) got recognized as something that had relevance beyond those just interested in Disney."

Stewart said several Disney employees have congratulated him for writing the book. One ex-Disney employee sat at his table during Monday's banquet.

"The toughest audience to please is the one that knows the story, so I felt good about that," Stewart said.

"Disney War" debuted at No. 7 on the New York Times bestseller list.

The Loeb Awards were established in 1957 by Gerald Loeb, a founding partner of E.F. Hutton, to encourage quality reporting in the areas of business, finance and the economy in order to inform and protect private investors and the general public.

Monday's dinner in New York City was emceed by CNN's Lou Dobbs. The other two books in the Business Books Category were "Freakonomics" by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, and "The World Is Flat" by Thomas Friedman.

"In my acceptance remarks, I told the other two finalists that I hope they were consoled by the fact their books are still on the best-seller list,"
Stewart said. "I'm very honored because the competition was pretty stiff."

Stewart's books include "Heart Of A Soldier," "Blood Sport" and "Den of Thieves." His book about former Quincy resident and serial killer Michael Swango, "Blind Eye," was a best-seller and garnered him accolades for investigative book writing.

A former Page-One editor at the Wall Street Journal, Stewart won a Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for his reporting on the stock market crash and insider trading.

So what's next for one of this country's most successful writers?

"I have an idea for a new book and just got my toe in the water," Stewart said. "I haven't decided to do it yet, but once it's in your blood, sooner or later it's like the moth to the flame, and I'll be doing another one."

Contact Staff Writer Rodney Hart at or (217) 221-3370

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