Toy Wars


With the 2019 publication of KID NUMBER ONE, TOY WARS IS NOW BACK IN PRINT! Order the Kindle edition now, and coming soon, the paperback.

"Though it has been 11 years it was first published, Toy Wars remains an engrossing book about toys and toy makers as well as a notable look at the business of making and marketing playthings. Itís worth seeking out because there are a great many interesting stories to be told about the toy industry and far too few books to tell them."

-- Fanmode, the everything-toy site, May 21, 2008.

Older reviews:


-- Providence Sunday Journal, March 1, 1998.



-- New York Post, Februray 22, 1998.


"A superb book about the bloodthirsty business of making toys.''

-- Ottawa Citizen, April 19, 1998.


"Here's a story that has everything: strong, handsome men, beautiful and equally strong women, corporate intrigue and family secrets."

-- USA TODAY, February 23, 1998.


"Miller has created a script straight out of a Hasbro cartoon tie-in: the Good Guys vs. the Bad Guys in a struggle for World Dominance... Miller's decision to hang his narrative on the good Hasbro vs. evil Mattel theme does give the story a sense of drama and urgency."

-- Chicago Tribune, April 5, 1998.


"Gripping... few recent business books can rival the extraordinarily intimate portrait TOY WARS paints of Hasbro CEO Alan G. Hassenfeld and his family... a book that, with its rich character depictions, often reads more like a novel than a business tome."

-- Business Week, February 16, 1998.


"A story of power, greed, corruption, philanthropy, love and loyalty, Toy Wars is an exceptional telling of the extraordinary story of the brutal world of toys."

-- Writers Write, the Internet Writing Journal, March 1998.


"An absorbing, lively chronicle of a family-owned company and its inanimate offspring... entertaining and informative... engagingly written."

-- The New York Times, February 1, 1998.


"Fast-moving... a star-struck account of the Hasbro-Mattel conglomerate wars."

-- The New York Times Book Review, February 15, 1998.


"At its finest, Toy Wars is a primer on the toy business that seems destined to enlighten the business-school marketing courses of the future."

-- The New York Times, Books of The Times, June 15, 1998.


"Glimpses into the cutthroat world that pits My Little Pony against the Lion King make for an engaging read."

-- Entertainment Weekly, March 27, 1998.


"Miller has constructed a swiftly moving narrative with all the elements of a miniseries: a hero, Hasbro CEO Alan Hassenfeld; an antagonist, Mattel CEO John Amerman; a climactic battle, Mattel's hostile bid to annex Hasbro; and a resolution, from which the hero emerges transformed. Miller is a graceful writer with a mastery of structure."

-- The Baltimore Sun, January 25, 1998.


"TOY WARS is a book executed with superior writing and storytelling skill. It's about business success and failure, no doubt. But it is also a human look at top execs, their personalities and their emotions... Miller understands the value of toys, and not just in a financial and corporate sense." -- Toy Shop, The Toy Collector's Marketplace, April 24, 1998.


"Fascinating... the boardroom back-stabbing provides many of the juicy highlights in this wildly entertaining book."

-- The New York Post, February 15, 1998.


"A fast-paced, well-developed, suspenseful narrative."

-- Library Journal, February 15, 1998.


"(A) novel-like expose about Hasbro and its war with Mattel... you can't help but be fascinated."

-- Newsday, February 15, 1998.


"A compelling tale."

-- Forth Worth Star-Telegram, February 15, 1998.



-- Cleveland Plain Dealer, April 26, 1998.


"Miller's genre of choice for his toy-and-nail struggle is corporate soap opera, fitting for a cast of characters focused on buyouts and buy-ups, downsizing and rightsizing, syndication and Hollywood-ization, bonuses, stock options, and compensation in the millions, and whose bedside reading is not Peter Pan but Reengineering the Corporation."

-- Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 1998.


"A book that, at the very least, has a readability factor that rivals the `play potential' of G.I. Joe."

-- Toronto Globe and Mail, March 28, 1998.


"A touching and almost classically tragic story of a toy-family dynasty, and an insightful and in some ways horrifying rundown of what's happened to the toy industry in the last few decades."

-- Toronto Sun, March 22, 1998.


"More readable than many business books, and a must for anyone interested in the industry."

-- New & Notable selection, Barron's, March 2, 1998.


"Judging by Waye Miller's TOY WARS, the toy industry owes more than its latest products to George Lucas's 1977 film (Star Wars). It also seems to have pinched the script, with mighty empires battling for supremacy. It is a good story, and Mr. Miller tells it well."

-- The Economist (of London), March 14, 1998.


"Americans are endlessly fascinated by stories of the high-stakes, fast-paced corporate world, and G. Wayne Miller's inside view of Hasbro is an especially engrossing example of the genre."

-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 1, 1998.


"Miller is a shrewd writer who wrings every ounce of drama from his five-year behind-the-scenes account....With Miller's eye for detail and nuance, there are no empty suits here."

-- Publishers' Weekly, Starred review, December 22, 1997.


Small business and entrepeneurship editor's recommended book,

-- February 1, 1998.


"We defy you to find, in all the world, another book with an index that includes both Auschwitz and Mr. Potato Head."

-- New & Notable selection, Arizona Republic, February 1, 1998.


"TOY WARS is a great read... so enjoyable, it leaves the reader yearning for more."

-- Providence Business News, January 26, 1998.


"Toy Wars is a smoothly written look at where our toys come from. It gives the reader a penetrating, and not always flattering, account the process that determines what collectors and children alike will buy. Hasbro's G.I. Joe may be a fictional soldier, but Toy Wars introduces us to the company's own corporate soldiers and generals whose very real battles in boardrooms and shareholder meetings have their own kind of victories, defeats, casualties, and heroes.''

-- Mania Magazine, March 13, 1998.


"A record vital to the preservation of toy world popular culture in the years and millenium to come."

-- Action Figure Digest, January 1998.  


And here's what two earlier critics said:

"Rarely do writers climb inside the belly of a corporate giant. Wayne Miller has, and returns with a story rich both in human drama and the larger conflict between those who buy the product and those who buy the stock. We forget: companies are about more than profit margins and marketing plans. They are also comprised, as Miller vividly reminds us, of human beings who panic and pout and preen, who sometimes guess and sometimes behave as noblemen.

"First-rate reporting and storytelling." -- Ken Auletta, staff writer, The New Yorker.  

"TOY WARS reads almost like a novel, but how much more fun -- and poignant -- and instructive -- that it's real. From Mr. Potato Head to G.I. Joe... from Wall Street to Toyland to a Fortune 500 CEO's secret battle with AIDS... this is a business and family saga as interesting as they come. What's more, it shines a light on the small group of executives who increasingly determine how the world's children play." -- Andrew Tobias, columnist and author, My Vast Fortune, and The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need.

And here's a snippet from the very first review by a publication, received November 20, 1997:

"Hours of fun for business-epic junkies of all ages. Miller, a writer at the Providence Journal-Bulletin, has wisely chosen his subject: an industry dependent on quirky creativity as well as extensive market research and hype, but ultimately at the mercy of youngster's whims... (his) five years of access to toy giant Hasbro has paid off in a visibly well-informed narrative." -- Kirkus Reviews.


Web site by Timothy C. Barmann | Contents Copyright © 1997-2019 G. Wayne Miller