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Muscletown USA Bob Hoffman and the Manly Culture of York Barbell cover
  • ISBN: 9780271018553
  • ISBN10: 0271018550

Muscletown USA Bob Hoffman and the Manly Culture of York Barbell

by John D. Fair

  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 05/01/1999
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From the 1930s to the 1980s, the capital of weightlifting in America was York, Pennsylvania, the home of the York Barbell Company. Bob Hoffman, the founder of York Barbell, propagated an ideology of success for Americans seeking physical improvement. Often called the "Father of World Weightlifting," Hoffman was a pioneer in marketing barbells & health foods. He popularized weight training & inaugurated a golden age of American weightlifting. Muscletown USA-part biography, part business history, & part sports history-chronicles how Hoffman made York the mecca of manly culture for millions of followers worldwide. Hoffman created his so-called muscle empire out of an oil-burner business that he started in the early 1920s. Within a decade, his passion for sport exceeded his need to produce oil burners & by the outset of the Depression he began manufacturing barbells at the factory. He soon discovered a willing public of aspiring weightlifters like himself who would buy not only barbells but also health & fitness products. Hoffman soon recruited a remarkable group of athletes, whom he tagged his "York Gang." He gave these men jobs in the factory, where they trained for national & international meets. Gradually, Hoffman emerged as one of the most prominent muscle peddlers in America, using his fame & fortune to promote competitive weightlifting, bodybuilding, & powerlifting. Muscletown USA reveals other innovations in which Hoffman played a major role, including weight training for athletes, health foods, bottled spring water, isometrics, & women's weightlifting. Even anabolic steroids, first used by weightlifters in the early 1960s, were a direct outgrowth of the fitness culture spawned by Hoffman. Meticulously researched & engagingly written, Fair's book will appeal to a wide range of readers, including anyone fascinated by American sports history & the iron game.
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