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Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling [Hardcover]

Bret Hart
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 16 2007
In his own words, Bret Hart’s honest, perceptive, startling account of his life in and out of the pro wrestling ring.

The sixth-born son of the pro wrestling dynasty founded by Stu Hart and his elegant wife, Helen, Bret Hart is a Canadian icon. As a teenager, he could have been an amateur wrestling Olympic contender, but instead he turned to the family business, climbing into the ring for his dad’s western circuit, Stampede Wrestling. From his early twenties until he retired at 43, Hart kept an audio diary, recording stories of the wrestling life, the relentless travel, the practical jokes, the sex and drugs, and the real rivalries (as opposed to the staged ones). The result is an intimate, no-holds-barred account that will keep readers, not just wrestling fans, riveted.

Hart achieved superstardom in pink tights, and won multiple wrestling belts in multiple territories, for both the WWF (now the WWE) and WCW. But he also paid the price in betrayals (most famously by Vince McMahon, a man he had served loyally); in tragic deaths, including the loss of his brother Owen, who died when a stunt went terribly wrong; and in his own massive stroke, most likely resulting from a concussion he received in the ring, and from which, with the spirit of a true champion, he has battled back.

Widely considered by his peers as one of the business’s best technicians and workers, Hart describes pro wrestling as part dancing, part acting, and part dangerous physical pursuit. He is proud that in all his years in the ring he never seriously hurt a single wrestler, yet did his utmost to deliver to his fans an experience as credible as it was exciting. He also records the incredible toll the business takes on its workhorses: he estimates that twenty or more of the wrestlers he was regularly matched with have died young, weakened by their own coping mechanisms, namely drugs, alcohol, and steroids. That toll included his own brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith. No one has ever written about wrestling like Bret Hart. No one has ever lived a life like Bret Hart’s.

For as long as I can remember, my world was filled with liars and bullshitters, losers and pretenders, but I also saw the good side of pro wrestling. To me there is something bordering on beautiful about a brotherhood of big tough men who pretended to hurt one another for a living instead of actually doing it. Any idiot can hurt someone.
—from Hitman

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Product Description

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 an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

“Bret Hart is the best there is, the best there was, the best there ever will be.”
—Ric Flair

“Bret Hart still makes me believe that wrestling is good.”
—Hulk Hogan

“A legend!”
—The Rock

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The proper goodbye Oct. 22 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bret Hart gets to set the story straight and say the proper goodbye to friends, foes, and fans alike with this excellent book. Some of the stories are shocking, some quite touching, and all interesting and informative. While so many of his friends and family were destroyed by the business, he managed to get out with dignity and financial stability. An excellent read from the "excellence of execution", and right up there with Foley's first book as the best wrestling book of all time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow March 11 2013
Format:Paperback
I want to start this review by saying I'm a huge Bret Hart fan. I watched him throughout my youth, and I was even in the stands in the Molson Center (now Bell Center) on November 9th 1997, for the now infamous Montreal screw job.

As a Bret Hart fan, I could not ask for a more complete or entertaining book than Bret's autobiography. Oftentimes with wrestlers, there is the tendency to exaggerate, to highlight only the positives and hide the negative, or blame someone else for them, but Bret doesn't do that. On the contrary, this is the most honest book I've ever read. Bret doesn't try to defend himself, hide what he feels he did wrong or blame others for his mistakes. In the book, Bret admits to constantly cheating on his wife, to taking drugs, steroids and painkillers. He talks at length about his time in the WWF, in the WCW, on his life after wrestling and also on his childhood and his dysfunctional family, no stone is left unturned, no subject is deemed taboo and no punches are pulled. Simply put, this is a wrestling's fan bible, a book that can never be beat, equaled. This book is simply put, the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be, as far as wrestlers' autobiographies are concerned.

A must read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Detailed but Must-have for a Wrestling Fan March 6 2014
By R. Kang
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As noted, very detailed. In some ways, somewhat of a slow start. But there is no other wrestling book like this. The details, the wiring, the history behind it.

It is not a fast read like others. More like an Epic (of wrestling books). Really stands out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great read. April 19 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was absolutely what I expected it to be. Great stories and all around a great autobiography. Quality of the book wasn't the best but wasn't bad at all. Thank you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best wrestling book out there Feb. 25 2013
By Nate
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bret does not hold back. So many great stories and awesome memories. If you like, '90's wrestling, you have to read this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bret Hart....always a class act! Oct. 16 2007
Format:Hardcover
This book is superb! I live in Illinois, and got my hands on a copy of his book. It was excellent! I've been following Bret's career since I was 13, I'm now 29. This book I believe gives an real honest account of the wrestling business. Great job Bret!

Tina F.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best wrestling book of ALL TIME ! Dec 12 2007
Format:Hardcover
Bret Hart promised a great book and boy did he deliver with his masterpiece. This is simply the best book there is,was and ever will be. You will laugh, cry and be inspired by the journey of the best wrestler of all time. Most of all you get a sense of what he sacrificed to get to where he is today (even the Montreal Screwjob will be seen in a new light given what we read about his journey and how he gave everything for Vince and the WWE only to be betrayed in the end)and how he is a true survivor. You'll finish this apreciating even more this man and thanking the opportunity of having seen him perform and that he managed to come out of the business alive and with his dignity. A true hero, a true class act and role model. He is the Rocky Balboa of the wrestling business.
Thanks Bret for giving me someone I could look up to in my life !
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Book! Nov. 1 2007
Format:Hardcover
Bret's book is a great, great read. It goes through all the details from his growing up, Stampede Days, Japan, WWF, WCW, his stroke and a bit more. He doesn't pull any punches and the entire book is a shoot. The book praises people who he thought were good workers or good people, and tells the truth about people that weren't and why. This especially includes his own brothers and sisters. Some of which I'm sure will never speak to him again, but I get the impression Bret would rather not have anything to do with them any way.

He also talks about a lot of funny/interesting stories about the various characters he knew. Plenty of stuff about other people too, you'll learn surprising backstage stuff about a variety of wrestlers in here. Bret is also honest about his own flaws. Sex, Drugs, Steroids and Pain Killers. I'm a pretty knowledgeable Bret fan and there was lots of stuff in here that I didn't know. There was some tiny bits of information he wrote about in various columns and revealed in shoot interviews he left out, but none of it is really that important. Still, it's damn near 600 pages so you won't be disappointed.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very good
Published 4 months ago by carole
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book
Its an excellent book. I've finished just over 300 pages so far and also flipped through with bits of the personal obstacles and Hart rivalry until the very end and I don't want to... Read more
Published on May 20 2010 by Dominic Z. Joseph
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Very good, very long.
Comes off a little bitter as he often does, but overall a very enjoyable read!
Published on March 9 2008 by Eric Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Just get it
This book is the most honest, open and sometimes surprising wrestling bio of them all. Hart's gut wrenching, no holds barred story is one that you will not be able to put down once... Read more
Published on Dec 10 2007 by Vincent D. Exp
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing - Could Not Put This Book Down!
I read on average 3 books per week. Many non-fiction and biographies, memoirs, true accounts, etc. This book is extremely well written and told by someone who has been in the... Read more
Published on Nov. 14 2007 by Joni F. Bourque
4.0 out of 5 stars He's right on
I loved this excerpt from the book: Keep walking, I told myself, for Davey, Pillman, Curt, Rick, Liz . . . Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2007 by Abbyfry
5.0 out of 5 stars Nearly Impossible to Put Down
I got my copy roughly a week ago, and I found it very hard to put down. It comes across as a very honest account of Bret Hart's family life, and mostly his wrestling career. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2007 by KDakota630
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