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Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling    by Bret Hart order for
by Bret Hart
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Leslie McKee

Written in four parts, Bret's memoirs are based on an audio diary he kept throughout his 23 year wrestling career. from the beginning, wrestling was in Bret's blood. His father Stu created the Calgary Stampede in Canada and most of his family was involved in the business. Bret made his wrestling debut in 1978 with his father's company. He soon found that 'Life as a pro wrestler is highly addictive' and, over the course of his career, he had the opportunity to be both a babyface and a heel.

Bret readily admits that professional wrestling is scripted. However, the entertainers do have some control over how the match plays out. It is a draining lifestyle, highlighted by an exhausting travel schedule (across the United States and throughout various foreign countries). Injuries, drug use and death are very real in a business perceived by many as fake.

Any true wrestling fan will enjoy this book. Bret is open and honest about the politics behind the industry. A good gimmick, versus talent, can get a person far. Bret shares his perspective on the growth of the business, stories of legends (example: Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan and Tito Santana), rise of current stars (example: The Rock, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin) and the untimely deaths of many (example: Bam Bam Bigelow, Owen Hart, Rick Rude and Chris Benoit). While there are good people in the industry, Bret sheds light on some people that cannot be trusted (example: Vince McMahon, who reneged on a number of deals with Bret).

Bret's career came to an end due to injury, which he discusses in length. He is proud to know that he left wrestling with his 'head up and a clear conscience.' Thirty-two pages of photos are included.

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