Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling Paperback – November 4, 2009
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers "In a Dark, Dark Wood" and "The Woman in Cabin 10" comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, "The Lying Game." See more
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
From Publishers Weekly
Hart's account of his professional wrestling career is almost literally blow-by-blow, with detailed descriptions of the choreography of many of his most prominent matches in the former World Wrestling Foundation and the now-defunct World Championship Wrestling. (And, yes, he freely admits that the outcomes are determined in advance, while the wrestlers work out the actual moves for themselves.) To hear him tell it, everybody hailed him as the best damn worker in the business, a storyteller with the comparative artistry of a De Niro. But the manipulative schemes of WWF head Vince McMahon (and several of his colleagues) kept Hart from reaching his full potential as a champion until injuries sidelined him for good. The memoir goes deep into Hart's family history—his father was one of the pioneers of the Canadian pro wrestling circuit, and his brothers and brothers-in-law followed him into the business. Wrestling fans will eat up all the backstage drama, but even those who don't care for the shows should be impressed by Hart's meticulous eye for telling detail—the bittersweet story that results is simultaneously a celebration and an exposé. 32 pages of photos. (Oct. 8)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Digital edition.
“Bret Hart is the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.”
“Bret Hart still makes me believe that wrestling is good.”
—The Rock --This text refers to the Digital edition.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
You don't have to be a fan of the 'Hitman' to appreciate the book. So any WWE fan would find this to be a worthy read.
Even reading through his childhood years (which can be a drag in my experience) Bret told a great story. I would highly recommend.
I’ll start by saying that Bret Hart was my overwhelming favorite wrestler, when I was a child/teen deeply engaged in following professional wrestling/sports entertainment. Although money was not always plentiful for us growing up in the country, I talked my mom into purchasing Wrestle Mania X on pay per view, just so I could see Bret’s epic day of losing to his brother Owen, in a classic match, and then winning his second reign as WWF Champion to close the show against the mammoth Yokozuna. It was the single greatest wrestling show I had ever seen up to that point, surpassing Wrestle Mania VIII, where Bret’s win over Rowdy Roddy Piper made me a fan for life.
The Hitman was cool. He was strong. He was a hero on the screen and at that age, I believed he was a hero off of the screen. I’m not sure who said it, but I know there’s a saying that you should never meet your heroes. Although reading his autobiography is not technically meeting him, it does open the window into his inner thoughts and showcase his life in a manner I would have never seen watching weekly wrestling programs. This story was in some ways a bitter sweet adventure for me as a huge fan of the Hitman character. I suppose I shouldn’t correlate Bret Hart the man with Bret “Hitman” Hart the wrestling character, but unlike normal television shows and movies, where our favorite actors are seen in numerous and very different roles throughout the span of their careers, wrestlers, especially the successful ones, typically portray one gimmick for many years and typically hide their actual lives and personalities from the screen. This is not as true as it used to be, but in the 90’s, kayfabing, or pretending wrestling was real, even outside of the shows, was widely practiced by everyone in the industry. With such elaborate effort given to maintaining the reality of wrestling storylines, many of us fans simply accepted the characters on screen to be actual people.
This book shatters any notion I ever had of Bret “Hitman” Hart being deserving of a hero’s treatment. I suppose, when you break it down, one should probably not have a hero, as everyone is going to eventually let you down in the end in some way or another. It’s best to accept that nearly everyone has good and bad in them and that we as individuals are no different. We have our good traits and our bad traits.
Onto the book!
First of all, whomever made the decision to publish this book as it was eventually published should be labeled as incompetent. Even ignoring the typos that litter at least the Kindle edition, the book comes off like a massive ego trip written by a paranoid and delusional old man. At what point did the editors and others reviewing this book not protest to Bret to change the tone of nearly the entire book? I would hope that if I ever attempted to publish such a one-sided rant about my life that someone would have the decency to fight me on it until cooler heads prevailed.
Throughout the entire 500 plus pages of this book, Bret paints a portrait of himself as a heroic, never wrong but always misunderstood and mistreated savior of the numerous inept and timid people surrounding him throughout his entire life.
There is not one time in the book, save for when he talks about his father, that Bret gives anyone 100% credit for their own accomplishments or takes 100% responsibility for his own misfortune. If Freud were alive, he could fill up a decade trying to map the enormous ego that is spilling off of every page of this book.
Time after time, Bret’s opponents in the ring only had good matches because Bret was there to guide them. Had he not been the genius he was, all of these people, from Dynamite Kid all the way to Ric Flair himself could not pull off decent matches.
Time after time, any good angles (storylines) of Bret’s career were his ideas and the promoter was smart enough to listen to his wise guidance. Every time he was in a less than stellar match or an angle that didn’t make sense, it was the fault of the promoter or the guy he was wrestling.
Reading this same tale over and over again through the account of his 23 year career made me realize just why it’s so easy to go online and find hours, literally hours, of former wrestlers bashing what is was like to work with Bret Hart.
He seemed to not understand that he was the very embodiment of everything he was complaining about with other wrestlers. He was way too caught up in the Hitman character, trying at every turn to protect and promote his own image. Even during a conversation with Vince McMahon, within a day or two of his youngest and favorite brother, Own Hart, tragically dying in a gruesome accident during a wrestling show, Bret’s focus was on not Owen, but asking Vince to let Bret have the rights to Hitman’s video library so his character would not be erased. This is not from Vince’s mouth, but from the pages of Bret’s own autobiography. This is sad in two ways. One in how whoever edited this let Bret portray himself as such a self-centered egomaniac, and two in that Bret seemingly did not think this inappropriate at all. He only expressed anger about the conversation later on, when Vince stated he wasn’t going to give Bret the video library.
It baffles me that anyone close to Bret would allow him to publish this story and paint himself in such a light.
The massive ego trip unfortunately did not stop with Bret’s in ring career, but expanded to his place in the Hart family. To hear Bret tell it, he was the only intelligent sibling out of Stu and Helen Hart’s twelve children. Everyone else was either untrustworthy, unintelligent, weak or nearly evil. Bret, according to Bret, was not only the savior of every single wrestler he ever worked with, but he was the saving grace of the entire Hart family. He painted his siblings and in laws of being jealous of Bret’s success over and over again.
I am sure that Bret’s stories have some grounds of actual truth, but as long as I’ve lived, I’ve never met someone so saintly in his own mind that I didn’t find to be full of it.
Bret’s priority was and seems to still be Bret. Every match on the card had to in some way make his character look good, or else Bret thought it was wrong. Bret could not accept doing matches that he didn’t think would be good for his story arc or his career. Somehow, the only way Bret could ever make anyone else look good, was to also make himself look good. Even when he agreed to lose matches, he made a point of saying the logic was wrong for his character. It crossed the line of annoying so many times throughout the book.
None of the points above even start to dive into how spoke of his marriage and his affairs. From reading Bret’s words, he would have you believe that his wife should have been happy he was cheating on her in nearly every city he ever wrestled, because it kept him from becoming a drug addict. I swear I couldn’t make this stuff up, even if I wanted to tear Bret down. All of the above points can be found in the book at any time.
Now, with all of what I said above, I do believe that Bret should be given some room for the benefit of the doubt here. That’s not because I think he wasn’t wrong, but because he didn’t write this book until after a career ending concussion and life threatening stroke reduced his body and his mine to that of a paranoid and frail shell of his former self.
It would not surprise me if Bret was diagnosed with something nearing PTSD. The book reads like the rants of someone that has lost their objective view of reality. Sad as this sounds, it would be sadder to think that this is how the man truly views himself and everyone around him. To save the image of Bret I carried since I was 9 years old, I’d rather chalk this story up to his mental damage than think he is the biggest jerk in the history of wrestling and almost in life.
I still give the book a high rating, however, because I was such a huge fan of the Hitman my entire life. It was gloriously nostalgic to be taken back through the journey all over again from Bret’s point of view, skewed now as it is.
If I could give any message to Bret Hart, it would be this. Quit worrying about your character’s legacy and focus on being a better person to everyone that help to make you the successful and international star that you are. The Hitman is permanently branded into the history of professional wrestling. No promoter, not even Vince McMahon himself can erase that. Stop making a life of bashing others, mend fences, and take some responsibility for the things that happened to you.