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Making the American Body : The Remarkable Saga of the Men and Women Whose Feats, Feuds, and Passions Shaped Fitness History

By: Black, Jonathan.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Publisher: Lincoln : UNP - Nebraska, 2013Description: 1 online resource (260 p.).ISBN: 9780803248922.Subject(s): Health attitudes -- United States -- History | Health | Physical fitness -- United States -- HistoryGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Making the American Body : The Remarkable Saga of the Men and Women Whose Feats, Feuds, and Passions Shaped Fitness HistoryDDC classification: 613.7 LOC classification: GV510.U5 .B53 2013Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Cover; Title Page; Copyright Page; Contents; Preface; Introduction: A Night to Remember; 1. The Shape of History; 2. Selling the Body Beautiful, 1900-1930s; 3. America Shapes Up, 1930s-1950s; 4. The Machine Age, 1960s-1970s; 5. Gotta Move, 1960s-1980s; 6. The Buff Culture, 1970s-1990s; 7. Pumping Up Business, 1980s-1990s; 8. Fitness Today; 9. Why Exercise?; Notes; Index
Summary: If you thought the fitness craze was about being healthy, think again. Although Charles Atlas, Jack LaLanne, Jim Fixx, Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, and Jillian Michaels might well point the way to a better body, they have done so only if their brands brought in profits. In the first book to tell the full story of the American obsession with fitness and how we got to where we are today, Jonathan Black gives us a backstage look at an industry and the people that have left an indelible mark on the American body and the consciousness it houses. Spanning the nation's fitness obsession from Atlas to Arnold, from Spinning to Zumba, and featuring an outrageous cast of characters bent on whipping us into shape while simultaneously shaping the way we view our bodies, Black tells the story of an outsized but little-examined aspect of our culture. With insights drawn from more than fifty interviews and attention to key developments in bodybuilding, aerobics, equipment, health clubs, running, sports medicine, group exercise, Pilates, and yoga, Making the American Body reveals how a focus on fitness has shaped not only our physiques but also, and more profoundly, American ideas of what "fitness" is. 
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Cover; Title Page; Copyright Page; Contents; Preface; Introduction: A Night to Remember; 1. The Shape of History; 2. Selling the Body Beautiful, 1900-1930s; 3. America Shapes Up, 1930s-1950s; 4. The Machine Age, 1960s-1970s; 5. Gotta Move, 1960s-1980s; 6. The Buff Culture, 1970s-1990s; 7. Pumping Up Business, 1980s-1990s; 8. Fitness Today; 9. Why Exercise?; Notes; Index

If you thought the fitness craze was about being healthy, think again. Although Charles Atlas, Jack LaLanne, Jim Fixx, Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, and Jillian Michaels might well point the way to a better body, they have done so only if their brands brought in profits. In the first book to tell the full story of the American obsession with fitness and how we got to where we are today, Jonathan Black gives us a backstage look at an industry and the people that have left an indelible mark on the American body and the consciousness it houses. Spanning the nation's fitness obsession from Atlas to Arnold, from Spinning to Zumba, and featuring an outrageous cast of characters bent on whipping us into shape while simultaneously shaping the way we view our bodies, Black tells the story of an outsized but little-examined aspect of our culture. With insights drawn from more than fifty interviews and attention to key developments in bodybuilding, aerobics, equipment, health clubs, running, sports medicine, group exercise, Pilates, and yoga, Making the American Body reveals how a focus on fitness has shaped not only our physiques but also, and more profoundly, American ideas of what "fitness" is. 

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Black (Medill Sch. of Journalism; Yes, You Can) writes about the story of physical fitness, which starts, he believes, with the ancient Greeks. He gives a fascinating account of the development of the related industry in this country, where one-third of adults are considered obese, describing the beginning of the movement in gyms and then the development of health clubs and physical fitness equipment for home use. Black also talks extensively of some of the giants in the field, such as Jack LaLanne and John Grimek, and writes about women such as Bonnie Prudden and Jane Fonda becoming involved in fitness programs. Relating some of the battles fought by early pioneers, the author doesn't gloss over the seedy side of the business. The fitness industry's ties to the entertainment world make for fascinating reading, one of the most interesting parts of which is the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger-particularly his early history in Europe. Unfortunately, the book lacks an index, and the pictures are in the back rather than placed alongside the relevant material. VERDICT All in all, this title presents an interesting history of physical fitness in America. It is more readable than Shelly McKenzie's Getting Physical, but her book devotes more time to health-related issues such as cardiac fitness.-Karen -Sutherland, White Oak Lib. Dist., Romeoville, IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

Journalist Jonathan Black provides a narrative treatment of the charismatic leaders of the US health and fitness movements of the 20th century. After a brief retrospective of pre-20th-century initiatives (Greek, European gymnasia, YMCA), the book considers early-20th-century characters (Sandow, Macfadden, Atlas, Hoffman) and their roles in physical culture and the early origins of contemporary bodybuilding and fascination with muscularity. The chapter on the 1930-50s describes the heyday of Muscle Beach and Jack LaLanne, along with Bonnie Prudden's intervention into schools and youth fitness in the immediate postwar era. The 1960s-70s are characterized by innovations in fitness machines and gadgets. The last chapters, on the 1970s through the 2000s, have a hectic pace and are less clear: topics overlap as the relative importance of innovators is less easily sorted out in such close proximity. As a book for a popular audience, it will be of interest to diverse readers. But though Black points out important female contributors to contemporary fitness culture, he does little to critically analyze the configurations of race, gender, class, nationalism, and commercialism that could move forward serious historiography of sport. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers. J. L. Croissant University of Arizona

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Jonathan Black is a veteran of magazine editing, and his work has appeared in the New York Times , Inc. , Forbes , GQ , and the American Spectator . He is the author of Yes, You Can! Behind the Hype and Hustle of the Motivation Biz and has taught at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.<br>

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