To Be The Man by Ric Flair

October 30, 2019

As a wrestler biography, this is OK. But as a biography of one of the biggest names of his generation, this is a huge letdown.

A WWE publication, the content of this book is fine. It’s ghostwritten by WWE’s Keith Elliot Greenberg and edited by wrestling columnist Mark Madden, so for the most part it reads smoothly and is free from obvious lies or exaggeration (with a few exceptions such as the claim to have wrestled Rick Steamboat 2,000 times.)

The problem is the scope. The book tries to tell the story of a 30+ year headlining career in fewer pages than were allocated to the autobiography of Lita. While most of the career highlights are covered, there’s not a great deal of depth and few long-time fans will learn much.

The formatting works well. Flair’s recollections are interspersed with lengthy quotes from other sources, giving a more rounded view. The writers have also erred towards putting in extra detail and context at the expense of staying true to Flair’s voice.

One potential downside is that the book does come across as biased towards WWE’s head personnel and against WCW management. That may very well reflect Flair’s true opinions, but it does give the impression of a title that toes the company line.

All in all, it’s workmanlike but a little bland given the subject. It’s certainly worth getting given it’s now available for as little as a cent, but it’s not one to stick at the top of your must-read list.
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One Comment

  • AW October 31, 2019 at 3:36 am

    Once again, I agree. Though not as much of a let down as Harley’s book, there was much to be desired considering the subject. I felt I got more information about Flair from the various quotes from friends, family, and peers, than from Ric (and/or Greenburg). The ass-end of the book was practically a love letter to Vince McMahon.
    I wonder how the book might have read after he left WWE for TNA.
    It’s okay, and it’s decent for younger fans that may not know “what’s causin’ all this”, but for older fans like myself who were familiar with Flair, there wasn’t anything truly revealing, other than the story of his adoption.
    As an NWA freak, I like hearing about as much as possible with how the Alliance worked with it’s champions, the processes the board went through for deciding a new champion, backrrom deals, differences between champions and promoters, etc. There wasn’t as much of that as I was hoping (Race’s book was a bit more revealing).