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Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

The Excellence of Eloquence

Bret Hart is a man that has experienced every aspect of the professional wrestling business. He was born into a wrestling family, for those of you that have been living under a rock.
By the time he was in his mid-twenties, Bret had been trained in "The Dungeon" (I feel ...
Bret Hart is a man that has experienced every aspect of the professional wrestling business. He was born into a wrestling family, for those of you that have been living under a rock.
By the time he was in his mid-twenties, Bret had been trained in "The Dungeon" (I feel no need to expound on what an honor, yet how painfully brutal this experience was for every person whom walked out of that basement of horrors and made it to the big-time), been a champion for his father's fledgling Stampede promotion, and reluctanty been made a "booker" (wrestling vernacular for the person designated to write continuing storylines and the "law", if you will, when it came time that one of the wrestlers did not want to cooperate.
Then Vince McMahon and the (then called) WWF came calling and brokered a deal with Stu, Bret's father and owner of the Stampede promotion. This,in turn, led for Bret and a few of the top guys to be "called up" to the WWF.
This is as far as I will go, but I do not exaggerate when I say that this is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the BEST wrestling autobiography I have EVER read. Bret wrote his story in a folksy, yet whimsical prose that is not only easy to read AND understand, but is factual, blunt and honest as well.
ENJOY!!!

posted by Anonymous on December 10, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

The behind-the-scenes account of Bret Hart's time in the wrestling biz

Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling describes in great detail the life of one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, as written by himself. Bret Hart paints a vivid picture of living at the legendary Hart house: what it was like to grow u...
Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling describes in great detail the life of one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, as written by himself. Bret Hart paints a vivid picture of living at the legendary Hart house: what it was like to grow up poor in a huge family whose financial fortune was slowly sinking due to an unprofitable wrestling promotion that daddy Stu Hart wouldn't close. Having tough old Stu as a father and many older brothers hardened Bret, but for some reason it didn't embitter him. As his brothers and sisters backstabbed him and each other many times, Bret remained considerate and helpful when he could.

As a child of the 80s, my favorite parts of the books were Bret's descriptions of the fledgling WWF and it's subsequent monopoly over the pro wrestling business. Although his version of events seem a little bit one-sided, Bret reports many instances of being the nice guy while other wrestlers manipulated, cajoled and strong-armed their way to fame and riches. I couldn't help but feel Bret was naïve until the very end in his dealings with Vince McMahon, owner of the WWF/WWE. In his writing, it comes through that he knew McMahon was sneaky but let Vince walk all over him anyway.

Despite his attempts at objectivity, it's pretty clear from his first mention of him that Bret wasn't too fond of Shawn Michaels. I'm no fan of Michaels myself, but I could understand how he could negatively interpret some actions that Bret took against him, both in the ring and out. Bret took great umbrage at the direction pro wrestling was going and the people that were blocking him from having a better career, but from my perspective, it seemed like an old horse being angry at the road for having cars on it. Wrestling was changing and at the time, Bret didn't see that he didn't fit very well into what wrestling was morphing into: a more risque, even sleazy, harder and more dangerous form of entertainment.

I'm sure many wrestling fans would be interested in picking up this book for Bret's side of the infamous "Montreal Screwjob," the event at which McMahon promised to allow Bret to keep the World Championship, but then ended the match abruptly to make it seem as if Bret had succumbed to a submission hold by Shawn Michaels (Bret's own Sharpshooter hold, in fact). Although it was disappointing to read about how Bret was forced out of the WWF unceremoniously instead of graciously, it wasn't this part of the book that struck me emotionally. For me, it was the end of Bret's career at rival promotion WCW and the aftermath that were very difficult to get through.
Bret's career ended because of a kick from an inexperienced wrestler that caused a concussion. Bret ignored the concussion, letting it get worse until a doctor told him he would end up worse that Muhammad Ali if he didn't stop wrestling immediately. The last part of the book is devoted to a description of Bret's stroke and recovery. It's heart-wrenching read, as it usually is when reading about a strong hero weakened by injury or old age.

For a wrestler/professional athlete, Bret is a very capable writer. Some of his descriptions of his matches get repetitive after a while and he refers to too many matches as "the best match [he] ever had." He does a good job describing most typical wrestling terms...

[Due to BN.com's character limit, the rest of this review can be found at FingerFlow.com]

posted by JosephCopeli on August 5, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2012

    The Excellence of Eloquence

    Bret Hart is a man that has experienced every aspect of the professional wrestling business. He was born into a wrestling family, for those of you that have been living under a rock.
    By the time he was in his mid-twenties, Bret had been trained in "The Dungeon" (I feel no need to expound on what an honor, yet how painfully brutal this experience was for every person whom walked out of that basement of horrors and made it to the big-time), been a champion for his father's fledgling Stampede promotion, and reluctanty been made a "booker" (wrestling vernacular for the person designated to write continuing storylines and the "law", if you will, when it came time that one of the wrestlers did not want to cooperate.
    Then Vince McMahon and the (then called) WWF came calling and brokered a deal with Stu, Bret's father and owner of the Stampede promotion. This,in turn, led for Bret and a few of the top guys to be "called up" to the WWF.
    This is as far as I will go, but I do not exaggerate when I say that this is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the BEST wrestling autobiography I have EVER read. Bret wrote his story in a folksy, yet whimsical prose that is not only easy to read AND understand, but is factual, blunt and honest as well.
    ENJOY!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2009

    Must read for wrestling fans!

    This autobiography takes you from the time Bret Hart was born until now. It is written as if Hart was sitting across the table from you and he was telling you the story of his life. <BR/><BR/>It is not an expose of the world of wrestling but he is open and honest about what goes on behind the scenes and in the ring. I knew that pro wrestlers have a tough road to go but didn't know it went this far. He tells of living quarters on the road, relationships between the wrestlers, dealings with promoters, family relationships, toll on the wrestlers bodies, business within pro wrestling & the different promotions, how some moves are done and the psychology of the matches, plus so much more.<BR/><BR/>I was not a Bret Hart fan before but now I am. I stopped watching wrestling about the time Hart was becoming famous with The Anvil. Just recently, I have started watching again. But after reading Hart's book, I watch the wrestling differently now. I am now watching the psychology of the matches, how the moves are being done and if it is a believable story line. My view of who the "bad" or "good" guys has also changed.<BR/><BR/>I highly recommend this book if you're a Bret Hart and wrestling fan or not. Just the study of one man's climb to the top, the business side of wrestling or the history that is presented is well worth the read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    BRET HART MINUS GHOST WRITER = EXCELLENCE OF EXECUTION

    This book will attract all the fans of wrestling books for all the usual reasons: behind the scenes looks at the wrestling biz; stories behind favorite matches and rivalries, and so on.<BR/>But it soon becomes obvious that "Hitman" is so much more than just another wrestler's book. First is the simple heft of the book. With two copies, you could do arm curls! Has ANY pro athlete examined their life so thoroughly? Second, is the lack of the telltale phrase 'as told to', or 'with'. Bret's twenty years of cassette diaries are his memory aid and his editor.<BR/>It came as a complete surprise to me that there were no parts of this 592 page book that made me want to skim through to "the good parts". The dynamics of the large Hart clan are every bit as engrossing as the turmoil and camaraderie of the wrestling fraternity. Each Hart brother and sister emerge as a complete, complex personality and you feel the mix of love and frustration that come out of such a tangled environment with such obviously loving parents.<BR/>Equally rare in any "star" biography is an honest admission of lapses in judgment, bad moves, or any rash action that a ghost writer will help sweep under the rug. There are passages of fanciful justification (my womanizing was better than drugging or boozing-at least I didn't die), but for the most part it feels like you're getting a balanced look at a marriage that featured a fair amount of insensitivity by both parties.Given that there is no off-season in pro wrestling, it's a miracle that ANY life partnerships survive, during or after a career.<BR/>To keep this review shorter than the book, I will say that the in-ring stories are everything a fan would want, with a level of detail you never get. It's all here: the Hart Foundation, the "screwjob" in Montreal, the strange WCW years, the incredibly strong connection with the fans, the pride in never having injured another wrestler. There is also enough fine writing about Bret's world travels to indicate he could write some very interesting tourist guides. And the word 'potatoed' is now a verb I have access to.<BR/>On a very personal level, his recuperation from a stroke gave me a link to my own father, whose recovery was something he could never articulate. Now I think I have some insight into the torment he went through learning to walk and talk again. Also like my father, Bret's considerable skills as a cartoonist were a constant outlet for communication.<BR/>In sum, give this book to the wrestling nut in your life (along with Bret's equally moving DVD set, if you REALLY love 'em), and in the rare moments that they set it down, take a peek, and get pulled into a fascinating world.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

    Best Behind The Scenes WWE Book

    I used to watch wrestling years ago and as a result I've read several books from Pro-Wrestlers. Most I'd consider forgettable fluff, like Chyna or even the Hulkster, but I knew I couldn't skip this one after viewing his documentary years ago on how Vince screwed Bret. I have to say Bret Hart's book is the best of the bunch and enjoyed him telling things like it is especially the business end of things which I ate up with a spoon. I could not put the book down (it's a big book) as it was fascinating more so the last 200 pages when he got into his problems with McMahon and Shawn Michaels who I'll never look at the same way. <BR/><BR/>I would have liked him going into more detail about his possible relationship with the diva Sunny which was alluded to they might have been something. It was odd because he was forthcoming with other memorable women. <BR/><BR/>The thing I took away after reading the book was there were some geniune flaws to Bret and he overly played the victim at times. I read that clearly when during his time in the WCW he receives a concussion from a kick from another wrestler. He really bothered me he didn't get it checked out on his own. He just kept going to shows and telling the writers/handlers he might have a concusion and should go easy (which they rarely allowed him). He then had some time off and still didn't go see a doctor so when it was time to go back to work he once again complained of a concussion to everyone at WCW who basically ignored him until a few months after the injury he had it checked out. That didn't make sense to me. He should have immediately gone to a doctor even just to prove he had one instead of repeatedly playing victim. A few moments like that made me see there might be some validity to other wrestlers/family members griping about him being a whiner.<BR/><BR/>But all that aside I thought it was a great read and I came away liking him even more than before despite my lengthy annoyance at the concussion incident:) I also came away disliking some wrestlers as well. Fun read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2013

    This book was written with no punches held back. Bret was bruta

    This book was written with no punches held back. Bret was brutally honest about those around him and most importantly himself. He painted himself as human with weaknesses and problems like everyone else. He tells about life as he saw and lived it on the road. He tells of friendships that came and went and those that lasted (unfortunately many of those friendships lasted to his friends' graves). He tells of his relationship with WWE owner Vince McMahon: the good, the bad, and the ugly. He tells of his time in WCW and how out of control the company and its' writers were. He tells of his comeback from a stroke. He also tells of many people that he ran into that touched him deeply that no one ever heard of such as people battling illnesses that melted his heart and in some cases showed him how self-centered that other wrestlers were by ignoring a dying fan that wanted nothing more than to meet their hero. He tells of family issues involving siblings battles over family members trying &quot;to sponge&quot; off of their parents and the outfall of the death of his brother Owen. Bret freely admits in no uncertain terms he is no saint, but he was always honest to every one else and he tried to he honest to himself. He also shows that professional success, celebrity, and money don't always mean happiness. I had always viewed Bret as my hero, but through this book I grew to respect him as a person.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Love the Hitman!!!

    So, I have finally finished reading Bret Hart's book entitled "Hitman". Wow!! What an awesome book it is. I can honestly say that it is one of the best and most interesting books that I have EVER read. I have always had much respect for Bret. I guess deep down-regardless of the Hulk Hogans, Ultimate Warriors, etc.-Bret has always been my favorite wrestler. He has always been "the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be". I am so happy for his recovery and his happy ending with a beautiful bride.

    I have the utmost respect for Bret. He is so honest-more honest than many and he is not afraid to tell you the truth (even if it means making himself look morally lacking). I don't condemn him at all. I know what it is like to struggle with lust and often lose. It can take hold and lead to many other things: fornication, adultery, pornography, etc. I have tried to battle the lust demon and have often times been defeated. Who can judge Bret for what he did (other than God of course)? Any red-blooded man would probably have succumbed to the same temptations. When you are that rich and famous, saying no to the women can be a hard thing to do indeed.

    This book tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I was quite impressed with Bret's honesty and his amazingly vivid details and his ability to recollect. He does have quite the story to tell and I thank God Almighty that he is still here to tell it. Interestingly, I have some things in common with Bret Hart. We both had our dreams taken away from us (wrestling was his life and it was taken from him, much like my dream of being a teacher was taken from me by our so -called society). Things sure didn't go the way we planned for them to. Bret Hart is a literary genius and a wonderful storyteller as well. Sure, some will say that wrestling is "fake", but the pain that Bret has gone through is very real. There are no scripts given to you in advance when your brother dies, you have a stroke, you lose your marriage and your parents, etc. This stuff is all too real and wrestling is just a backdrop in this story of life.

    I thank Bret for his honesty and for his dedication and commitment to success. He has always been a damn hard worker and he deserves all of his blessings-both financial and otherwise. This book is NOT G-rated, but it is very real, heartfelt, and genuine. I can't say enough about it or say anything to give it justice. EVERY true wrestling fan owes it to himself or herself to read the true story of this amazing individual. He pulls no punches and really shows you what the world of wrestling is like. I hope my own story has a very happy ending. I hope I was not too bitter and resentful in my own written work. I may come across as a guy who seems combative, but all I truly desire is peace, love, honesty, and respect. I know Bret feels the same way and I am honored to have been able to read about this rollercoaster account of his life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 16, 2008

    Best wrestling book there is/was/ever will be

    Most wrestling books are just as phony as the predetermined outcome of their craft. I've always considered Bret Hart to be the best wrestler I've ever seen, and this book follows suit. Thanks to him keeping an extensive audio diary, he vividly remembers the slightest details of his worldly adventures. He seems to give the honest treatment to even the toughest aspects of his life.. marriage and infidelities, relationships with his family (both blood and professional) and opens up about the steriod-era.<BR/><BR/>It is a great read and I recommend it to anyone who was a wrasslin fan between 1980-2001.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    ZIKZAN

    Go to ninja res one please. Im locked out. Im somebody talking for Zixzan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2014

    Silver

    You sure?:<

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2013

    Best there is, best there was and the best there ever will be!

    Every time adversity tried to pin The Hitman, he locked in the Sharpshooter and came out victorious.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    In depth look

    Very candid and straight forward account of Brett Hart's wrestling career and personal triumphs/struggles.

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  • Posted April 18, 2012

    By far the best wrestling bio I have read. Even non-wrestling f

    By far the best wrestling bio I have read. Even non-wrestling fans would like this book. From the birth of Bret Hart until the end I didn't want to put it down.

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  • Posted February 19, 2012

    LOVE IT LOVE IT!!

    so many of the names in this book brought back different memories that it was like reading about old friends! you definitely have to be an old wrestling fan to follow along with it all I LOVE IT!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2011

    Super book!!! Bret Hart "puts this one over" very well !!

    Bret's expose of his world in wrestling is matched only by the Beach Boys' bio "Heroes and Villains". This is a story about real life and gives the reader an inside look at this volatile career path and how it affects all involved. The real view of life as a Hart child is very informative and takes the reader behind the "squeaky clean" public view to see what happed with the family and its legendary business, "Stampede Wrestling". If you are a wrestling fan this one's for YOU!!

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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    Big look inside the wrestling world!!!

    Anybody who has been a fan of the entertainment phenomenon known as professional wrestling as long as I have needs to read this book. You will definitely be knocked off your feet by the open look inside the business, and the people in it. You really learn a lot about how pro wrestling became what it is, and how some of it's biggest stars established themselves in it. Not to mention the ups and downs of being so involved in it. Now, one has to wonder, every now and then, how fair Bret is being with some people. His history with Shawn Michaels is more than well established, as are his relationships with so many others as well. So, it's not exactly a surprise when he has some harsh opinions about them. He can definitely paint a negative picture of certain people. But, it's also easy to see his authority as it relates to the business given his family and background. Not to mention, his honesty about his own personal demons and shortcomings as well. For anybody who has seen the history between Bret and Shawn, I recommend reading Shawn's book as well, Heartbreak and Triumph. You get to see both sides of every story that way. Nonetheless, Bret is open and honest about his travels and his involvement in professional wrestling, and the toll it took on him and his family. Some real stories to read here.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    Must-Read for Wrestling Fans

    This is a must-have for any wrestling fan of the 70s-90s! Long and fairly in-depth book of the Hitman's career and his take on all of the stars of yesteryear. Definitely recommended and worth the money at over 500 pages.

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  • Posted October 14, 2008

    THE BEST

    THE BEST THERE WAS THE BEST THERE EVER WILL BE, A MUST READ ( GO BRET )

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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