If you despise Bret Hart or you have no attention span, this might be worth a miss. For everyone else, it’s as close to a must-read as it gets.
The most mindblowing thing about Hart’s autobiography is that the first draft was reportedly as much as three times longer than the nearly 600 pages here. It’s hard to tell whether that would be the best or worst wrestling book you could ever read.
What was published is incredibly in-depth, covering every match and incident of any note and many others. While older wrestlers, particularly ones who’ve suffered serious concussions and strokes, don’t always have the best memories, Hart kept detailed records not just of the events in his career, but his reactions and state of mind at the time.
It’s clearly a book written to be completist rather than tailor it to emphasise what a publisher might assume to be the most appealing sections. There’s extensive detail on his pre-WWF days, while the section of Montreal is sufficient but is certainly not dwelled on to excess.
The flaws, such as they are, are limited. Hart is exceedingly confident about his own abilities, something that may grate on some readers. It becomes something of a running joke how many times he mentions other wrestlers congratulating him on a match. And there are certainly cases of exaggerating such as claiming the Davey Boy Smith match at Wembley Stadium lasted 37 minutes.
These are not serious detractions though. The book is both a fascinatingly detailed insight into one man’s life and career and a history of the WWF during both its national expansion era and the dark days of the mid-90s.