Tracing Fussell's transformation from a scrawny graduate of Oxford University to a West Coast bodybuilder, Muscle marks a fascinating insight into the bodybuilding culture of 1980s America. Aware that his desire for change is fuelled by his own insecurities and at times self hatred, Fussell tracks his change from meekly using the machines in the … Continue reading BBB: Sam Wilson Fussell, Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder (Poseidon Press, 1991)
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 … Continue reading BBB: David Webster’s Sons of Samson (1990)
You’ve seen the movie, now read the book! You haven’t seen the movie? I would get on that, like right now. Written in the 1970s, Pumping Iron brings to light the covert yet fascinating world of professional bodybuilding. Charles Gaines explains the very basics of bodybuilding, from what lifting weights entail, to proper nutrition, and … Continue reading Broadcast (BBB) Vol. 6 – Pumping Iron: the Art and Sport of Bodybuilding
One of the first real studies of physical culture in England, Michael Anton Budd’s The Sculpture Machine, is a wide ranging examination of health and fitness in early twentieth-century England. Primarily focused on Eugen Sandow but moving out into the popular world of physical culture in Engand, Budd examples the domestic and colonial implications of … Continue reading Broadcast (BBB) Vol. 5 – The Sculpture Machine
This 4th Bi-Weekly Book Broadcast is a real gem. In the album of bodybuilding all-stars, the Weider brothers offer a great page turner filled with muscle and history! Despite biographies lacking information, the pictures displayed in this book are enough to keep any bodybuilding fan or enthusiast wide-eyed and yearning for more. Looking for extensive … Continue reading Broadcast (BBB) Vol.4 – The IFBB Album of Bodybuilding All-Stars
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 … Continue reading Broadcast (BBB) Vol. 3 – Randy Roach, Muscle Smoke and Mirrors Vol. 1.
Though not connected with Bodybuilding persay, Leder’s philosophical text, The Absent Body nevertheless has resonance for muscleheads. Beginning with the basic assumption that we only come to know our surroundings through the body, Leder goes on to suggest that the body becomes absent in our daily lives. We forget about the body as we engage … Continue reading Broadcast (BBB), Vol.2: Drew Leder, The Absent Body