At five hundred and forty nine pages, WWE Hall of Famer Bret Hart’s autobiography “Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling” is the Moby Dick of wrestling books, but is it “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be”? Let’s find out!
The first time I heard about this book I knew it would be an instant buy. Other than the fact that Bret Hart was one of my favorite wrestlers as a kid the guy also has had one of the most interesting lives of any wrestler I can think of so I KNEW he had some good stories to tell. Bret Hart was born into wrestling as the son of promoter Stu Hart, he was a two time tag team champion and a five time world heavyweight champion and was involved in one of the most controversial moments in wrestling history (the Montreal Screwjob) so yeah… he’s got stories. When I said earlier this book was the “Moby Dick” of wrestling books I was referring to its size, what I should have really compared it to is “War as I Knew It” by General Patton because of its attention to detail. Thanks to a recorded diary from over the years, Hart is able to recount nearly each moment of his near thirty year career, sometimes replaying each match move for move and I love every dragging moment of it! Bar none this is THE most in-depth book about pro wrestling there is today and luckily it takes place between the late seventies to the late nineties, arguably THE greatest period in the history of pro wrestling.
Even if you’re not a Bret Hart fan the interesting stories about the dozens upon dozens of wrestlers that have come and gone into the Hitman’s life are enough to keep you engaged from cover to cover. If you thought Mick Foley’s book “Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks” was an explosive tell all just wait until you hear about all the drug fueled parties and backstage ribbing your favorite wrestling stars partook in during their heyday, even during some legendary matches! For better or worse, you’re sure to look at some of the biggest names in the business in a different light after this book. All of his infamous backstage feuds with Bad News Brown, Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and of course his one-time arch rivals Shawn Michaels and Vince McMahon are described in intricate detail with no holds barred…. from his point of view of course. I will be the first to admit that Bret sees everything a little too skewed in his favor but hey, we all know that the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle and this is HIS book after all.
The only thing wilder and more tragic than Bret’s life in the squared circle is his life at home. Bret’s family (as he says) compares to a full season of “The Jerry Springer Show”, with endlessly feuding siblings, fueled by greed and jealousy. One thing’s for certain, it was never a dull moment at the Hart house. I guess that’s what happens when you’re one of twelve children, all of which are somehow involved in the wrestling business. Bret pours his heart out as he recounts all the good times with his beloved parents and the bad times like the loss of his brother’s Owen and Dean. From his rocky marriage and eventual divorce to his horribly mishandled career that eventually lead to life threatening health problems, Bret lays it all on the table and the reader really feels for him, at least I know I did. It’s really unique to read Bret’s perspective from this troubled time in his life, for once you get to see this larger than life wrestling hero as…. Well, human.
I will warn you that this is a hard read for the casual wrestling fan, but if you’re a diehard fan like me you will absolutely love Hart’s attention to each minute detail of his illustrious career. I’ve read several wrestling autobiographies in my day and I will go as far to say that “Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling” is in fact the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. I give it a perfect five out of five hearts.