- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: ECW Press (Jan. 14 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1550229397
- ISBN-13: 978-1550229394
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 1.8 x 24.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 540 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #488,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Straight from the Hart Paperback – Jan 14 2011
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"It may just be the latest chronicle in Calgary’s Hart family saga a saga that spans half a century but Bruce Hart’s acute reporting paints a quintessential morality play of a Canadian independent company (and family) fighting for its identity during the years of Ronald Reagan`s cash-crazed America." Nathaniel G. Moore, Globe and Mail (March 29, 2011)
About the Author
Bruce Hart is a member of the legendary Hart family, which spans three generations of wrestling fame. He lives in Calgary, Alberta.See all Product description
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He states that growing up, the neighbours considered them a cross between the Beverly Hillbillies, the Addams Family and Twilight Zone. This book is a chronicle of a personal life, a family's life and the whole wrestling business. Bruce writes a great book that will be enjoyed by the rabid fan or just the casual fan alike. It will even be a good read for someone interested in Canada's and especially Calgary's prominent role in the international phenomena of professional wrestling. With stories spanning from the 1930's until today, there is a little something for everyone.
That being said, this book is a good, solid read. After reading pretty much all of the other books about the famed Hart clan, this is another welcome addition to the literature that is already out there. We get a glimpse of life in the Hart family from Bruce, and the inner workings of that beloved Canadian institution, Stampede Wrestling, as well as some of the WWE (F). Bruce seems fairly forthcoming about events that have happened in his, and his family's, life. Many of the stories will be familiar to anyone who has read any of the other books about the Harts, but it is always nice to hear another perspective on them. Therein lies one of the issues - who to believe, after reading about these incidents in other books. I think this is Bruce's version, and kudos to him for putting it out there. As I've read in other reviews (and books) about the Hart saga (and I agree with this), the truth probably lies in the middle somewhere, as everyone who has written a book about them has different takes on events that have taken place. None of us were there, excluding those involved, so who knows for sure?
Bruce's writing style is easy to read, and he comes off as an amicable, albeit sometimes boastful guy. Given his ahead-of-the-times booking in Stampede Wrestling (which he gets mixed reviews/credit for), I guess he should be proud of himself. Bruce's writing is articulate, and once you start reading this, you won't want to put this down until you're done. There are some swipes at family members (such as Bret), but there are other stories as well, which are equally as poignant, such as his description of his last visit with his legendary father, Stu Hart, and Stu's great comments about the state of wrestling currently. The book is, by equal turns, informative and entertaining; Bruce speaks with a clarity and tone that shows someone who clearly loves the business of wrestling, and someone who has (pardon the pun), put his heart into it, even though at times it has cost him and his family dearly. Through the good and the bad, at the end of it, a few Harts still stand. Bruce is among them.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book; if you're a wrestling fan, you'll enjoy it. If you're a fan of a good biography, you'll enjoy it. And lastly, if you're a fan of a good story, you'll enjoy it. Do yourself a favor and buy this book, Heath McCoy's book, Marsha Erb's book, and Bret Hart's book. They are all excellent books about Stampede/The Hart family. If you can find it, Tom Billington's (aka "The Dynamite Kid") book is also good as well.
Thanks for giving us another insight into wrestling's first family, Bruce.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
But I appreciated his honesty(even if it is skewered toward his viewpoint) and it made for a good read. Bruce gave his fair share of 'road stories'. This is the part of a wrestling book that I enjoy the most, reading about a wrestler's personal experience away from the ring(with all the ribbing and drunken stories).
It is also obvious from reading this that Bruce and Bret do not get along(in fact, Bruce paints a rather miserable picture of his famous brother). He also talked a lot about Davey Boy Smith, The Dynamite Kid, Owen Hart, and The Montreal Screwjob.
One interesting thing is that Bruce likes to take credit for 'inventing' quite a few wrestling-related things(such as the name 'Davey Boy'). But Bruce does give a nice account of the history of Stampede Wrestling(which I am unfamiliar with) along with the career of his famous dad, Stu Hart.
I started reading this with an open mind as to Bruce's point of view, since Bret's has been out there in books, DVD's and documentary. Bruce Hart comes across in the begining as this is how it really was and I trying to get the "what really happened" out there.
Bruce comes across as this GREAT wrestler who could do anything in the ring and was buddies with the "greats of wrestling" such as the Maivia's, Funk's, Johnson's etc. He claims to also have been the savior of Stampede wrestling with his bookings and his "ideas for the business." and how great of a guy he really is!
Which brings me to the question... If he was so darn good why was he never picked up as a talent or creative by the WWE or WCW. He comes across as everytime he had a meeting set up some Emergency comes up. His emergencies are sad and not to be poked fun at, sick child, death of a brother etc. However it does seem quite quite odd that everytime he was to meet with Vince McMahon at a show, he was told to call home as there was an emergency, Once mabye twice I can see, but three for three folks.
He claims to have given Davey Boy Smith his name of DAVEY BOY and it was HIS idea to bring him in to Calgary and that Dynamite would quit the company if he showed up in Stampede, Dynamite has stated in his biography that his name was DAVID BOY SMITH on the birth certificate because his parents had put his sex where his middle name was to go. Dynamite in fact brought Davey Boy over to North America as a favor to his Aunt and Uncle and his old mentor Ted Bentley.
Bruce claims to have been the BEST BOOKER EVER and that people were jealous of his talent as a booker and tried to take it away from him, like Bret and Dynamite. I find it funny that in BOTH Dyanamite's and Bret's books, they both claim that Bruce was ruining the company with his many gimmick matches and ball shot finishes and gore. Dynamite was reluctant to take the book because he didnt want to be in charge, Bruce says that he wanted it to push his own career and stay in the main event (this coming when Dynamite was suffering from a bad back and knocked out teeth, he didn't need Stampede he could have went to Japan like he has done so often). Bret contends the same thing that his dad would call up complaining about it to him and wanted Bret to push for a job for him to get him out of there.
Bruce goes on to claim that he was the one who suggested to put over Davey Boy Smith in Wembley Stadium for the IC belt. When in fact the original finish was Bret going over Davey, but suggested to Vince it would be a bigger pop if Davey went over.
And one last final contradiction of fact, Bruce claims that he was slugged by Dynamite in the locker room because of "Roid Rage" and some other wrestlers claiming Bruce made fun of a WWF star riding in a cramped van with 13 other wrestlers. Dynamite has stated that he slugged Bruce because a van broke down and in fact all the wrestlers had to cram into this small van for a show, and on the way, Bruce and someone else had rode up in a camero and when they passed the van, Bruce had his feet on the dash and laid back and relaxed laughing at the others. So Dynamite gave him what he deserved. While Bruce claimed he was doing promo work and arrived way before the wrestlers.
It's hard to weed out the BS and the facts in wrestling esp when so much is as Bruce says many times in his book "a work for the marks." But when you read what others in others book have to say about these same stories and they are almost similiar and Bruce's comes out of left field, you tend to buy the other guys stories esp since they were written years apart and Bruce is looking to have the last story out there to make himself look like he was the only Hart who had talent wrestling smarts ETC.
So when you read this keep in mind that it is to feed his own ego while burying others who had a far better career than his very own.
First of all, there's alot of stuff Bruce leaves out, specifically when it might make him look bad. When relating the story of his marriage to wife Andrea, he conveniently leaves out the fact that she was 15 years old, while he was in his 30s. The potential scandal had the entire family afraid for their jobs, as this info could have had a deleterious affect on the whole business. He also goes into detail about the whole buyout of '84 between his father Stu and Vince McMahon, elaborating on how McMahon reneged on his agreement to pay Stu a million dollars. What he leaves out is the fact that HE (Bruce) ran opposition against the WWF by restarting Stampede with some shady backers... which was in breach of the agreement!!! Damning instances like these are conveniently airbrushed out of this tome, and this is stuff that your average "smart mark" knows simply by reading any of the Stampede/Hart books that are out there. It's inexcusable for Bruce to think no one would pick up on his faulty revisions.
However, if Bruce isn't leaving stuff out, he's simply getting it wrong altogether. He claims Dynamite made an appearance at a "Stampede Reunion" show around '94. He claims Bret blamed his stroke on the kick to the head he suffered by Goldberg. He claims he had repeated shots at being a booker in WWF, only to be called away by "urgent phone calls" every time. He claims he was closest with Owen (a claim Martha, Bret and Diana all make in their books as well). He claims he influenced Bret to wear pink and use the Sharpshooter. In one of the most clueless statements I've ever seen someone in the biz make, he has the gall to state that Ed Whalen (Stampede announcer, notorious for corny, contrived commentary and sabotaging angles, including Bruce's own) was the best wrestling announcer of all time, even above Lance Russel, Gordon Solie and Jim Ross, all who he calls out by name. All of these statements (and more) only make Bruce look absolutely foolish, as if he hasn't the slightest clue about the business he was born into.
Yet, most telling, beneath the surface of all this misinformation is a seething resentment Bruce feels toward the biz in general (and Bret in particular) because he never really made it big. To an extent, I can certainly understand this because Bruce was truly an exceptional booker. His ideas were ahead of their time, much like Lawler/Jarrett in the Memphis promotion. But his jealousy of Bret is always on display... sometimes subtly, sometimes in your face. This isn't too much of a surprise after Bret drug Bruce thru the coals in his own book. Yet, Bruce never really delves into why he feels this way, instead acting as if these feelings really don't exist. But he can't help himself, and all that resentment seeps out of the cracks, so to speak. This is the saddest aspect of this book, to be sure.
Despite the Hart's track record for writing less than truthful accounts, I really was looking forward to this one. I wasn't sure if Bruce would be accurate or not, but I suppose Heath McCoy's portrayal of Bruce in his book should have told me something... Bruce is a mark for himself, first and foremost, and refuses to accept any of the blame whatsoever. And that's too bad, because an honest Bruce could have written one heck of an account. Instead, all we have is yet another puff piece from a guy who believed his own hype.