The definitive biography of Vince McMahon, former WWE chairman and CEO, charts his rise from rural poverty to the throne of one of the world's most influential media empires—and features never-before-seen research and exclusive interviews with more than 150 people who witnessed, aided, and suffered from his ascent.
Revelatory ... Riesman’s book is a captivating dive into a spectacle that cannot genuinely be categorized as a real sport but that nonetheless relies on the talents of world-class athletes. It’s a story that feels urgent today ... Draws alarming parallels between the rise of pro-wrestling culture and a political movement that saw a member of the WWE Hall of Fame voted into the White House.
Compelling ... All biography is an exercise in exclusion and framing, and Riesman’s attempts to trace the various contortions of kayfabe and neokayfabe over the years aren’t always successful. The narrative is built to climax in 1999, with a convoluted intra-family story line that dominated W.W.F. programming near the peak of its popularity ... The further the book gets along McMahon’s time line, the more removed its telling gets from having eyes and ears on the ground, and so the accounting of this transformation feels incomplete ... Still, Riesman never quite pins down the case that our current cultural distortion is McMahon’s progeny, rather than a strange parallel symptomatic of some common social corrosion.