Sandow the Magnificent: Eugen Sandow and the Beginnings of Bodybuilding

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University of Illinois Press, 1994 - Sports & Recreation - 229 pages
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Before Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Reeves, or Charles Atlas, there was Eugen Sandow, a muscular vaudeville strongman who used his good looks, intelligence, and business savvy to forge a fitness empire. The German-born Sandow (1867-1925) established a worldwide string of gyms, published a popular magazine, sold exercise equipment, and pioneered the use of food supplements. He even marketed a patented health corset for his female followers.
Among the colorful figures who played a part in Sandow's life are Bernarr Macfadden, Florenz Ziegfeld, Lillian Russell, and others in sports and the theater.
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, and Chapman explains the popularity of physical culture in terms of its wider social implications. Sandow was a proponent of exercise to alleviate physical ailments, anticipating the field of physical therapy. By making exercise fashionable, he encouraged the fitness craze that still endures.
As the first superstar in his field, Sandow also pried open some surprising cracks in the Victorian wall of prudery. His nude photographs, a kind of soft-core pornography, were anxiously sought by both male and female admirers, and after many of his major public events he gave private "receptions" wearing little more than a G-string.
  

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Contents

The First Triumph 1889
23
A Growing Reputation 189093
33
New York and Chicago 189394
48
The Tour of America 189496
70
A Growing Business 18971901
100
Triumphs and Travels 19017
129
The Final Years 190825
164
Glossary of Weightlifting Terms
193
Bibliography
219
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

David L. Chapman is the author of twelve books on male photography and bodybuilding, including "American Hunks" (Arsenal, 2009), "Comin' at Ya!: The Homoerotic 3D Photographs of Denny Denfield" (Arsenal, 2007), "Adonis: The Male Physique Pin-up", and two other books on Denny Denfield. He lives in Seattle.

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