At age 26, scrawny, Oxford-educated Samuel Fussell entered a YMCA gym in New York to escape the terrors of big city life. Four years and 80 lbs. of firm, bulging muscle later, he was competing for bodybuilding titles in the "Iron Mecca" of Southern California-so weak from intense training and starvation he could barely walk. MUSCLE is the harrowing, often hilarious chronicle of Fussell's divine obsession, his search for identity in a bizarre, eccentric world of "health fascists," "gym bunnies" and "muscleheads"-and his devout, single-minded acceptance of illness, pain, nausea, and steroid-induced rage in his quest for the holy grail of physical perfection.
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Samuel Wilson Fussell was born in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1958 and raised there and in Europe. He graduated in 1983 from Oxford University with an honors degree in English Language and Literature. He has worked as a personal trainer, a photo researcher; a Hollywood nightclub bouncer, and an assistant in a lion-and-tiger act.From Publishers Weekly:
"I sing of arms and the man," writes Fussell in this account of his four years as a serious bodybuider. The son of academics and an Oxford graduate himself, the author returned to New York after college to find himself "in a constant state of terror in the city." At 64 and 170 pounds, Fussell reacted by pumping iron in 1984, then moved to the West Coast and eventually reached his peak: 257 pounds of bone and muscle, impressive enough to participate in local contests. While focusing on his own development the author also examines the world at large of bodybuilders, portraying their diets, drugs and dedication to the sport as a kind of religion over which Arnold Schwarzenegger presides as chief deity. Fussell finally quit, fearing he had become a human caricature--and less than human. A book of minor significance, but enjoyable reading.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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