Book of the Week: Benoit, by Steven Johnson, Greg Oliver and others

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

On 25 June last year, professional wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and seven-year-old son Daniel were found dead at their house in Atlanta. It was established that Benoit, regarded as a reserved, home-loving man, had strangled his family and then hanged himself. Four months later this book, consisting of five essays by various hands, was first published in the US.

It chronicles Benoit's extensive career – he had been a world champion – and attempts to explain how the tragedy could have happened. Much is made of the drug abuse rife in the "sport", and Benoit's own prodigious consumption of steroids, but in the rush to print, one crucial piece of evidence – later tests revealed that Benoit's brain resembled that of an 85-year-old suffering from dementia, due to multiple concussions in the ring – is overlooked completely. This slim, and often repetitive, volume will have to do us for now, but there is room for a far more considered account of the life and death of Chris Benoit.

Published by ECW Press, £9.99