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BendtheBar 05-25-2011 08:11 AM

Bodybuilding: Tracing the Evolution of the Ultimate Physique
Gordon LaVelle has just released an interesting book on the history of bodybuilding.

Bodybuilding: Tracing the Evolution of the Ultimate Physique


Product Description
From the Introduction:
On a fall evening in 1893, as part of his exhibition at the Chicago World’s Fair, featured strongman performer Eugen Sandow tried something that had never been done before. Sandow stood before the audience that had assembled to see him, without props and in minimal attire, and did nothing but flex his muscles. It was a novel idea, and it worked. The crowd was mesmerized. Though his height was average and his weight was a mere 180 pounds, the phenomenal muscularity of Sandow’s physique made him seem positively massive, like the ancient stone monuments his poses mimicked. He looked equally perfect. From the instant his first pose was struck, Sandow transformed himself into living sculpture. He furthermore bestowed unto the world its newest artistic medium: the human body. Most significantly, he created a new pastime: bodybuilding.

110 years later, on a fall evening in Las Vegas, Ronnie Coleman was handed the coveted Eugen Sandow trophy — an award given each year to the world’s top professional bodybuilder. On that day, at a height of five-foot-eleven and in an extremely lean condition, Coleman weighed 287 pounds. The thousands of fans who had gathered to witness the latest phase of his ascendency were thrilled. Like a small handful of men who came before him, in 2003 Coleman successfully smashed through what were thought to be the limits of human muscularity.

Bodybuilding: Tracing the Evolution of the Ultimate Physique describes and analyzes the events, circumstances and personalities responsible for transforming Sandow’s simple display into the institution that created and exalted men like Coleman. The book furthermore explores how the concept of the ideal muscular physique first materialized; how the idea was championed, celebrated, and later, why it was almost forgotten; and why it took thousands of years, two rediscoveries of Classical civilization, and an entirely unlikely series of events for bodybuilding to finally come into existence. Above all else, the book documents the gradually shifting attitudes that have prevailed behind bodybuilding's century-old, perpetually-mutating wall of muscle – and how bodybuilding may be a metaphor for an attitude shift that has taken place, during that time, throughout the Western world.

Additional Information:
Bodybuilding: Tracing the Evolution of the Ultimate Physique does more than simply document and analyze the transformation of bodybuilding’s top physiques. It chronicles the following: the evolution of bodybuilding training methods and posing styles; the heated battles between bodybuilding's prominent muscle-contest promoters; the rise to domination and stardom of Arnold Schwarzenegger; the history of racism and favoritism in contest judging; bodybuilding’s public-image problems; muscle-magazines’ use of subliminal sexuality; the invention, proliferation, use and effects of synthetic hormones; the sport-versus-pageant debate; the struggle to obtain Olympic recognition; bodybuilding murders and other crimes; and much more. With more than 150,000 words, 160 photographs and 700 individual index entries, Bodybuilding: Tracing the Evolution of the Ultimate Physique is a complete and far-reaching historical analysis - the only book of its kind in existence.
About the Author
Gordon LaVelle is an author of books and articles about bodybuilding and other fitness-related topics. His other books include Training for Mass; Training for Mass, Second Edition; and How to Be Thin: An Instruction Manual for Getting Rid of Fat and Keeping it Off Forever. He has a BA in Philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara. As a competitive bodybuilder, he achieved first runner-up finishes twice at the NPC California State Bodybuilding Championships.

Abaddon 05-25-2011 08:12 AM

Must buy it!

BendtheBar 05-25-2011 08:18 AM

I will be interviewing Gordon about the book. I think he may be giving MAB some sample chapters.

Abaddon 05-25-2011 08:22 AM

Even better. I shall wait then ;)

bamazav 05-26-2011 07:59 AM

Looks like a good read. Is it out or coming out soon?

BendtheBar 05-26-2011 08:02 AM

It is out. It's a bit pricey at $25, but it comes from free shipping so that makes it a bit easier to swallow.

BendtheBar 06-08-2011 03:37 PM

Just received this book. It's a must read for bodybuilding history geeks.

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