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 - Vince Fahey

Out of all the books that could've been written about the professional wrestling business...all the various biographical subjects, the one I was most interested in, or at least, the one I anticipated the most, was the one on and by Ric Flair.

While I certainly can't be called the world's biggest Ric Flair fan, I am a fan of his, regardless.  How can any pro wrestling fan not be?  In and out of the ring, Flair has an air of class, professionalism, respect and appreciation that many other pros don't have.  And throughout his new book, To Be the Man, all that is clearly evident.

I'm pretty certain I've read all the wrestling biographies that are available, at least within the last 5-7 years, and easily, at least in my opinion, this book is in the top three.  Part of that certainly comes from my interest and appreciation of Flair, but moreso, I think this book, while not necessarily giving me an inside glimpse of the business like we got with Ole Anderson's book, here we get a glimpse of Ric Flair the wrestler, and even more important, Ric Flair the man.  And it is this glimpse of the man, that makes this book so enjoyable.

When I really first started paying attention to wrestling, back in 1986, to me, there was a huge dichotomy between the WWF and Jim Crockett Promotions.... One was full of circus-like characters, the other normal wrestling personas.  Everything about the two promotions was different... and spearheading JCP was Ric Flair.  He alone represented the biggest difference to WWF's Hulk Hogan... and even now, looking back, I can remember how I felt when Flair would come out for an interview or get into the ring to wrestle.  He was entertaining on levels that Hogan couldn't match.  Back then, Flair simply was the man.

The book starts with Ric's earliest life, pre-pro wrestling, giving us insight into his upbringing.  It progresses through his career from early days in the AWA to Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, his days working for JCP, into his first WWF run, back to WCW and then brings us to present.  One of the best things about this book, is that Flair manages to touch on almost everything that's been of interest in his career.  From the plane crash in 1975, to his feud in MACW with Rick Steamboat... the Horsemen, the Von Erichs, Harley Race, his problems with Eric Bischoff, his relationship with Vince McMahon... Flair isn't afraid to lay his life out for us to read... and this to me, is one of the best reasons to read this book... Ric allows us into his life in a way that no other pro wrestler has in a book before. 

If you haven't already purchased this book by now, then you owe it to yourself as a wrestling fan to do so.... it is full of history, full of style, and an extremely enjoyable read, and you're cheating yourself if you ignore it.  Highly recommended.

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To Be the Man
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