BBB: David Webster’s Sons of Samson (1990)


As an aspiring physical culture scholar, David Webster was, is, and continues to be, a source of inspiration. One of the most prolific researchers of the past fifty years, Webster has combined dogged research with incredible fieldwork. Aside from publishing a series of highly readable accounts on the origins of bodybuilding and weightlifting, Webster was responsible for uncovering the Dinnie Stones in Northern Scotland. These stones, named after the Scottish strongman and all round athlete from the nineteenth-century, Donald Dinnie were thought to be lost. Scouring the historical records, asking locals about the stones and a pinch of determination, saw Webster and his team uncover these fantastic pieces of strongmen history.

I tell this story to highlight the lengths this man is willing to go to in the quest for physical culture. Sons of Samson is a further reflection of this. Think of this book as a vertible who’s who of the Iron Game up to 1990. The work features small biographies on hundreds of individual strongmen and women. Some, such as Eugen Sandow, will be familiar to most but others, such as the eighteenth-century strongman Owen Farrell will be unknown to the majority. The work is a godsend for researchers and those interested in uncovering the richness of the Iron Game and the men and women who made it.

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