At first glance, ‘Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors Vol.1’ feels like yet another study of the history of bodybuilding from its origin to a, what seems, arbitrary halt in the timeline. However, Randy Roach offers much more than the “on the surface” history of our beloved sport and, for some, way of life. While keeping true to the literature on the birth and the evolution of bodybuilding, Roach delves into the history of nutrition, supplementation, and drug use, as it relates specifically to bodybuilding. Jumping back and forth from what feels like a mixture between a history book and a medical journal, Roach’s approach to the murky timeline of building muscles results in a breath of fresh air with regards to physical culture and its roller coaster historiography. This volume begins with Eugen Sandow as the agreed father of bodybuilding, and comes to a halt before Arnold Schwarzenegger enters the scene. This book is highly recommended for anyone looking for a different approach to the history of bodybuilding, or for anyone researching specific themes such as nutrition and supplementation with regards to the sport.
Stay tuned for a BBB of Vol.2 in the near future.
Reference: Roach, Randy. Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors Vol.1: From the Simplicity of the Iron Game to the Dawning of a Mega-Fitness Industry. The Birth of Bodybuilding and its Amazing Nutritional Origins. Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2008.