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Book Review : Benoit : Wrestling with the horror that destroyed a family and crippled a sport

December 2, 2007

It seems that when a major news story breaks many things are bound to happen. One, the television news will begin interrupting their regularly schedule programming and cover the event in depth, Two, The newspapers and internet news sites will begin writing article after article about it, and Three, someone will eventually write a book about it, and if the situation warrants it, you may get multiple books about the subject. In the case of Chris Benoit, were bound to see many people speculate and report on it in books for years to come, but the first to hit the market is ECW Press’s BENOIT : WRESTLING WITH THE HORROR THAT DESTROYED A FAMILY AND CRIPPLED A SPORT

This new book, offers a unique approach to covering the event as it offers  a collection of essays by some high profile wrestling authors covering a wide range of Chris Benoit topics. In no way will this book ever be considered the one and only must read book when looking into the life of Chris Benoit, but I dont think it was intended to be. Instead I think this book was intended to offer the outsiders looking in the information they needed to know about Chris Benoit. Coming in at 160 pages, the book offers essays from well respected wrestling authors Steven Johnson, Heath McCoy, Irv Muschnick, and Greg Oliver.

 

The first is Actions Speak Louder Than Words : The Tarnished Legacy of Chris Benoit by Greg Oliver. It offers a overview of Benoits career from the time he arrived in ECW in 1994 to that tragic day in June of this year. The  most interesting part in this essay is an actual email from Benoit to Oliver days after Eddie Guerreros death, its eeringly evident that from that day Chris Benoit was never the same and basically provides the starting point of a tragic road that lead to his suicide.

Next up, Oliver offers up We loved to watched her strut which offers a look at Nancy Benoits life in the world of pro wrestling, its short and sweet but gives you the general info you need to know about Nancy, especially if you didnt know much about her before her death.

 

Heath McCoy then checks in with Stampede Days : A Crippler On The Rise As you can probably tell by the title of the essay, it offers up a look at Benoits first days in the wrestling world, starting as a fan of Stampede wrestling, meeting his idols and later training and debuting in that very same territory. I enjoyed reading some of the stories of Benoits first interactions with The Dynamite Kid when he was just a young kid and how the boys backstage were all annoyed with how Dynamite was so accepting of what was just a mark at the time.

 

 Steve Johnson then tackles the roller coaster ride that was the mainstream medias coverage of the Chris Benoit tragedy in Roids, Reporters, and Rasslin : Anatomy of a feeding frenzy   Being involved in wrestling reporting myself, I saw how the mainstream medias reporting on this subject took on a life of its own and in certain ways I appreciated this essay the most because it points out some of the stupidities that were involved, but also tries to explain why as Johnson explains in depth how the ratings for these tv shows were affected each time they covered the story.

Closing out the book is Day of the Dead by Irv Muschnick in which he examines the pop culture relevance of this event in wrestling’s dark history.

 

Ive had some major respect for all the authors involved in this project for years now, and individually they all offer up something intriguing in what is the first book of many about Chris Benoit to come out in the years to come. Id especially recommend this book to those who may not have been big followers of Chris Benoits career but are interesting in learning more now that this tragedy has taken place. For those who have followed him and the wrestling world for many years, you may not get too much out of this book, there is still some interesting offerings such as the Benoit Email, but whether this is worthy of your collection is up to you, I enjoyed it as a reference tool more than a must have book. 

Benoit : Wrestling with the horror that destroyed a family and crippled a sport is available now from ECW Press. You can learn more about the book and the other great wrestling books ECW press puts out by visiting their official website at www.ecwpress.com or you can order the book online via amazon, and all of your other favourite book stores across the nation.

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