Dusty: Reflections of an American Dream by Dusty Rhodes with Howard Brody

April 10, 2019

It’s perhaps unfair to compare this to what might of been, but sadly this isn’t as good as you might imagine.

Rhodes’s death in 2015 led to many reflecting on his stardom and career and how it far outweighed the lowpoints when he overpromoted himself in the dying days of the Crockett territory. He lived a hell of a life, but this book doesn’t really capture it.

The upside of NWA promoter Howard Brody ghostwriting the book is that the factual details of the wrestling content are generally accurate and credible. However, he appears to have been unwilling or unable to capture Rhodes’s unique voice. While that may have been a task beyond any writer — and wouldn’t necessarily have made for a coherent read — there’s a definite disconnect because it’s hard to imagine Rhodes speaking the words out loud as he tells his story.

The other main limitation was also perhaps inevitable, with Rhodes straddling the line between confidence and ego: in this book, nothing ever bad happened that was his fault and he even argues Crockett was mistaken to sell the territory in 1988 and that he could have turned things around.

The book has an unusual format, jumping from topic to topic rather than telling Rhodes’ life story chronologically. There’s also a series of contributions from other characters in the wrestling business, though the vast majority give little insight and simply put him over.

That’s not to say there aren’t many wildly entertaining stories in the book, particularly if you switch off the more skeptical part of your brain. The sections on his family and the effects of being on the road are also of interest. On the whole though, this is one that’s only really picking up at a bargain price and going into with low expectations.

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