Sandow the Magnificent: Eugen Sandow and the Beginnings of Bodybuilding (Sport and Society)

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(as of 06/02/2013 01:41 - info)

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Reeves, or Charles Atlas, there was German-born Eugen Sandow (1867-1925), a muscular vaudeville strongman who used his good looks, intelligence, and business savvy to forge a fitness empire. “S…

Before Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Reeves, or Charles Atlas, there was German-born Eugen Sandow (1867-1925), a muscular vaudeville strongman who used his good looks, intelligence, and business savvy to forge a fitness empire. “Sandow the Magnificent” is the story of this first showman to emphasize physique display rather than lifting prowess. Sandow’s is also the story of the earliest days of the fitness movement, during which he established a worldwide chain of gyms, published a popular magazine, sold exercise equipment, and pioneered the use of food supplements. David L. Chapman explains the popularity of physical culture in terms of its wider social implications, and how Sandow encouraged the fitness craze that continues today by making exercise fashionable. As the first superstar in his field, Sandow also pried open some surprising cracks in the Victorian wall of prudery. After many of his major public events he gave private “receptions” wearing little more than a G-string. “Sandow the Magnificent” also includes many of the strongman’s revealing photographs, which were anxiously sought by both male and female admirers. This new edition has been revised and enlarged with an extensive afterword that includes much unpublished information, new photographs of Sandow and his contemporaries, and an updated index.

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