Get Your Free Audiobook

  • Mr. America: The Tragic History of a Bodybuilding Icon

  • Terry and Jan Todd Series on Physical Culture and Sports
  • By: John D. Fair
  • Narrated by: Brian McKiernan
  • Length: 19 hrs and 30 mins
  • Categories: History, Americas

Non-member price: $34.76

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

For most of the 20th century, the “Mr. America” image epitomized muscular manhood. From humble beginnings in 1939 at a small gym in Schenectady, New York, the Mr. America Contest became the world’s premier bodybuilding event over the next 30 years. Rooted in ancient Greek virtues of health, fitness, beauty, and athleticism, it showcased some of the finest specimens of American masculinity. Interviewing nearly one hundred major figures in the physical culture movement (including 25 Mr. Americas) and incorporating copious printed and manuscript sources, John D. Fair has created the definitive study of this iconic phenomenon.

Revealing the ways in which the contest provided a model of functional and fit manhood, Mr. America captures the event’s path to idealism and its slow descent into obscurity. As the 1960s marked a turbulent transition in American society - from the civil rights movement to the rise of feminism and increasing acceptance of homosexuality - Mr. America changed as well. Exploring the influence of other bodily displays, such as the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia contests and the Miss America Pageant, Fair focuses on commercialism, size obsession, and drugs that corrupted the competition’s original intent. Accessible and engaging, Mr. America is a compelling portrayal of the glory days of American muscle.

The book is published by University of Texas Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

©2015 University of Texas Press (P)2020 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

“Deftly written and superbly researched..will remain one of the best sources for both the story of American bodybuilding and the “tragic history” of its most famous contest.” (Journal of Sport History

“Has the potential to be a paradigm-changer...bound to become the new text of record on its subject.” (Charles Kupfer, Penn State Harrisburg

What listeners say about Mr. America: The Tragic History of a Bodybuilding Icon

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.