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Showing 1-10 of 222 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 354 reviews
on March 16, 2017
Growing up as a wrestling fan, Bret Hart was one of my heroes. While the size of the book initially made it seem like an intimidating read, it was an easy read. It is not difficult for me to get bored with a book, but I was thoroughly engaged.
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.
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on September 16, 2016
Bret Hart was my favorite professional wrestler as a kid. As someone born in 1984, I was born into two golden ages of professional wrestling, being young enough to fall in love with the super hero, larger than life characters of the 1980s, coming to appreciate the technical ability of the "new era" early 1990s, and then being the target audience for WWF's turn towards the raunchy in the Attitude era. I marked hard for basically every angle up until I was 16, and Bret Hart's autobiography is written for those fans who followed his career.

The book is surprisingly well written, and seems to authentically be coming from Hart. It lacks most of the cliches that are inflicted on readers in other wrestling autobiographies, but Hart does stray into some tiring analogies especially at the end of each chapter. The mood of the book is largely melodramatic, which can be tiring, but melodrama seemingly followed Hart for most of his career and so its apt.

The book is written for someone who understands the world of professional wrestling and is beyond the premise of works and shoots. Even if you're not a smark, if you just know what a smark is, then the book is written for you. Hart struggles with the tone of the book and who it is written for, at times going into depth explaining the intricacies of the business as if the book is written for a mark, but then in the next paragraph using industry lingo that even a seasoned dirt sheet veteran would have to look up. Hart does this also when he name drop lesser known wrestlers without mentioning their gimmick, but then will reinforce the gimmick for wrestlers everybody knows. When Hart talks about Dwayne Johnson, he seemingly always reminds the reader that Rocky Maivia would go onto become The Rock, which is something that even non-wrestling fans known, but then Hart will constantly mention people like Carl Demarco ("Carlo") without giving the context of who they are. Hart mentions his relationship to Carlo early in the book, but after having dozens and dozens of wrestlers names dropped, he doesn't follow up with Carlo's relationship with WWE, himself, or others. For even a seasoned smark like me, I found myself having to use the Kindle's look-up feature often.

But what is most interesting about Hart's autobiography is actually the story he doesn't tell, it's a look inside the mind of Bret Hart, and how he sees himself and the world around him. Now, mind you, I was a huge Bret Hart fan throughout my childhood, and I am exactly the fan that Hart felt the wrestling industry was moving away from. I *hated* Jerry Lawler as a kid, I didn't like DeGeneration X when they feuded with Hart, I even didn't like Steve Austin during his Hart feud, it's tough to find a bigger mark for Bret Hart than I was as a 12-year-old. But as an adult, it slightly depressed me reading the book because Hart's portrayal of every event in his life shows someone who is not able to take responsibility for things that he should legitimately take responsibility for. Hart seemingly assumes too much blame for things that he should not take responsibility for (like the death of his brother Owen), while looking for a scapegoat with events in his life that he alone had control over, most notably, his numerous extramarital affairs that he goes into great depth covering in the book. Hart admits to having affair after affair, but always excuses them -- the road, his wife's seeming mental instability (Julie gets absolutely shredded throughout the book, and it sounds like she's bipolar), events behind the scenes.

This inability to accept responsibility plays out in Hart's business dealings in the WWF as well and how he manages his angles and relationships with other wrestlers. He has an inability to accept even partial responsibility for some of the negative turns in his career, incessantly projecting blame to other wrestlers, McMahon, the Clique, Hogan, or any other actors that he faces throughout his career. This is apparent in interviews that Hart gives today, particularly if you watch the round table discussion between Jim Ross, Hart, and Shawn Michaels about their relationship: Michaels, for all of his faults in his career, seems to have accepted his wrong doing and wants to make up for it. Hart, on the other hand, seems intent on restating what he's stated throughout his career and is unable to move on from events which he likely has at least partial responsibility for. I can only imagine that when Hart expresses how he's slighted throughout the book that this same mental block that he has accepting partial responsibility motivated some of those events.

As a Bret Hart mark and with a profound respect for his ability to craft a character (something that he steadily improved on throughout his career), part of me has always yearned for Hart, Vince, and the other huge names in professional wrestling, to reveal that Harts career (and everything around it) was one big work, to quote Hogan, that I'm such a jabronie mark that I can't tell when a work is a work and when I've been worked into a shoot. It's one of those death bed confessionals that the mark in me would love to hear: "Michaels, McMahon, and I worked a 20-year shoot," but reading Harts autobiography is such a compelling look into the often depressing world of professional wrestling and the personality of Bret Hart, that it has entirely dispelled that dream of mine.

From a simple product review point of view, I would give the book 5 stars but it isn't without faults (other than the personality faults of Hart). Hart spends an inordinate amount of time detailing dozens of matches early in his career. He mentions how he maintained a journal throughout his career, and this absolutely shows, as he recalls specific spots, reactions, and the outcomes of so many matches that no person could recall that. While these details provide a true panorama of Bret Hart's career, it comes at a cost, as Hart seemingly has to rush through some of his most memorable feuds and in some of the strongest spots in his career. For instance, Hart will talk at length about matches in the 80s in New Zealand, Australia, Puerto Rico, or the circuits in Canada and the United States, but then fails to go into any real depth about some of his most memorable feuds like with Jerry Lawler, which was a two year feud and one that defined Hart's face character in the early-to-mid 90s. This is a probably a combination of needing to rush through the meat of his career to expand more on the beginning, the turning point ("The Montreal Screwjob") and the end, and possibly Hart building a narrative about being the WWF headliner at the time. The details about his early career are appreciated from a broader perspective, but while Hart will go into depth about many forgotten wrestlers from the 1980s in the NWA or independent circuits, he doesn't provide that same perspective for much of the mid-90s WWF talent. If 'Hitman' were a wrestling match, Hart might have to agree that he might have spent too much time building the storyline to a match with technical mat wrestling in the beginning, only to rush through the climax with a botched finisher.

Still, I would recommend this book to anybody who has a deep interest in the history of professional wrestling.
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on May 3, 2017
I’m not even sure where to start on this one. Despite the book being over 500 pages, I was able to finish it just a few days reading between work days, on airplanes and sitting at home in bed, while my beautiful wife Jess read her own book.

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.
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on December 29, 2015
I've read a lot of books. Bret Hart's autobiography is by far the best written autobiography I've ever read. Ultimately it's all from his perspective so it's got his take on controversial topics in and out of the ring. The level of detail and honesty is amazing, as Hart's take on life is very observational, and introspective. It takes you from his childhood through his career and after, with story after story, really giving the reader an understanding of Hart's entire life from his unique viewpoint. While reading this book, and the chronology of his life, I felt like I was there. It's really that good. I don't know if the Hitman has any other things to write about, but he'd be a great ghostwriter for others, as this book is a page turner if there ever was one. He could teach a class, especially on using details to advance a story. I think that non wrestling fans who give this book a chance will love it too, because it's a human interest story as much as anything, and he's had a heck of an interesting life.
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on June 26, 2016
Love love love this freaking book! It really let's you inside his life and gives you insight on what it's like on the road in wrestling. Loved it from start to finish! Although the ending made me tear up and shed a few tears because Bret Hart is easily the greatest professional wrestler who ever lived and his career did not end the right way. He had to live through losing his baby brother Owen, who I loved as well. He lost him in 1999, then he lost his mother in 2001, then Davey Boy Smith aka the British Bulldog, his brother in law and my third favorite wrestler of all time behind Bret Hart and Owen Hart, then he had to deal with his crazy family namely his two sisters Diana and Ellie, then sadly he had a stroke sometime after Goldberg gave him a concussion after botching in a match and stupid WCW kept asking Bret to fight again after he had his concussion. Then the worst thing happened after the stroke and concussion ended Bret's career, the man who made the legends and most specifically the man who made most of the legends in WWE possible Stu Hart died. This book is a great read especially for the price it's labeled. I recommend this to anybody who wants to know what the life of an amazing superstar is like. There will never be another Bret Hart, or anybody coming close to Bret Hart in my book! READ READ READ, you will not be disappointed I promise!
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on June 28, 2017
This is very likely the best wrestling autobiography out right now. I haven't been able to put it down since it arrived. Sure, there's a fair amount of Bret's ego in here, and the later part of the book is kind of dark, but that's just where he was in his life. Overall, Bret doesn't pull any punches and tells it like it is. The fact that he kept an audio diary from his early twenties throughout the rest of his career adds validity to the stories. Fascinating read. I'd highly recommend to any wrestling fan. If you're a Bret Hart mark, it's a no brainer.
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on July 19, 2014
I had Bret Hart's book on my nightstand for nearly a year, holding off on starting the book due to its length of 550 pages. Once I did finally dive into the book, I finished it in three marathon reading sessions. As a kid who grew up on 1980s WWF, I found the stories and details of specific werestlers fascinating. The reason I went with four stars instead of five stars was because, as awesome as the stories were, the continual self-congratulations do get rather overbearing at times.

Seemingly everyone mentioned in the book had their "best match ever" against Hart -- from Yokozuna to Tom McGee. Bret also points out in the book that he carried Ric Flair to great matches and repeatedly mentions that he never injured any wrestler during his career to the point that they were unable to work the following night. Hart also pointed out that when he injured his ribs during a match with Dino Bravo, horror washed over Bret when he realized that his selling was so realistic that no one would be able to tell he had been legitimately injured by a dive into the ringside railing. After a while, the self-congratulations just became too much,.

But there is no doubt the book is one of the best wrestling books out there. As expected, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Vince McMahon all come off looking very bad in the book. Another guy who Bret crushes in the book is the Ultimate Warrior. Hart tells the story of Warrior blowing off a dying child from the Make A Wish Foundation, and says it was one of the worst things he ever saw during his wrestling career.

To me, the funniest story in the entire book was Bret talking about pranking Dick Murdoch while in Dubai. Hart notcied a pair of soiled underwear on the floor under a bench in the dressing room and switched the soiled underwear with the clean pair Murdoch had hanging on a hook. Upon seeing the dirty underwear where his once clean pair had been, an exasperated Murdoch blurted out, "All I know is there must be a **** freak running around here, because somebody **** in my underwear, and I'm dang sure it wasn't me." LOL

Hart also writes extensively about the Dynamite Kid, calling him the best wrestler he ever saw while also repeatedly stating that Tom Billington suffered from "Small Man's Syndrome". Hart openly wonders if Billington ending up in a wheelchair wasn't karma for his repeated cruelty during his career. When Bret talks about his own adultery while on the road, he seems to give himself a pass by writing that his many adulterous relationships may have saved his life because he was not into drugs and steroids nearly to the degree of his contemporaries in the sport.

The many self-congratulations aside, it is hard not to feel sad for Hart when he talks about the death of his brother and how it ripped his family to pieces over money and how culpable Vince McMahon was in the death of Owen Hart. Bret recounts conversations he had with Owen in which they agreed that the wrestling business was not worth dying over, and the vivid dreams Bret had about Owen after his brother's death.

This is one of the best wrestling autobiographies you can read, but just be aware that the book comes with lots of self-congratulations mixed in with plenty of great stories (both positive and negative) about nearly every big name wrestler of the 1980s and 1990s.
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on February 17, 2017
As a huge Wrestling fan of the 80s, I love reading and following up with my favorites. Bret was my favorite. I could not out this boom down. There is a special place in hell for Vince
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on November 8, 2014
Fantastic read.

It's refreshing to read a wrestler biography that's not dumbed down piece of wwe's "official" history.

Bret's legacy, in my opinion, has been tarnished and largely forgotten due to what happened in Montreal, and the subsequent debacle that was his WCW run, and then his being a non entity in WWE due to what happened.

People forget that following the steroid trial in 92 until the dawning of the attitude era in 97, there was the Bret Hart era. He wasn't just a top guy, he was THE guy, holding a business that had taken a huge black eye afloat.

Really great to read his detailed history, from his days driving the plains of western Canada, to tours of Japan, to headlining Mania.

He has a tendency to put himself over pretty hard, but all these guys do. A must read for any "mark" of the 80s and 90s
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on April 23, 2016
Bret Hart wrote a very well put narrative on his life in Professional Wrestling. It is very easy to read and has some really funny parts. The world of what goes on behind the scenes was masterfully told. I learned alot about the business from this book. Bret seemed to have a lot of people who "didn't like him", which makes me think there is another side to those stories. I believe his account of what happened with Vince McMahon. It seemed Vince didn't like the fact that Bret had creative control, even though Vince agreed to that in his contract. Vince didn't have the guts to tell Bret the title wsa going to Shawn so he made it happen without his knowledge. This is a good read even if you are not a fan of Bret's, for the history of the sport alone it is worth it.
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