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Brothers of Iron: Building the Weider Empire Hardcover – September 1, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Sports Publishing (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596701242
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596701243
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #794,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Joe Weider has long been recognized for his leadership, dedication, and outstanding contributions to the field of physical fitness. The honor that he is perhaps most proud of is the Distinguished Citizen Award presented to him by the Boy Scouts of America in 1991 that refers to him as "the father of fitness." Past titles include Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding (McGraw-Hill, 1989). Joe lives in Los Angeles, California.

Ben Weider is the president of the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB), which he founded in Montreal in 1946. The IFBB has over 170 countries as members and was granted official recognition in 1998 by the International Olympic Committee. Past titles include Assassination at St. Helena Revisited (Wiley, 1995) and The Murder of Napoleon (Book Sales, 1986). Ben lives in Hampstead, Quebec, Canada.

Mike Steere is a professional freelance writer who writes for Outside, Worth, and other magazines. Mike lives in Los Angeles, California.


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Customer Reviews

If you are into the sport of bodybuilding, then this is a must reading.
Nicholas Rivera
All through the book Joe Weider brags about all he did for the sport of bodybuilding and he takes full credit for it all.
Susanna Hutcheson
They didn't wind up killing themselves like DeMayo, or killing others like Bertil Fox or Craig Titus.
Joseph P. Nicholson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Crane on October 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This engaging memoir deserves a wide audience. Anyone interested in bodybuilding, weightlifting, sports medicine, the history of the fitness movement, magazine publishing, marketing, motivational thought, Napoleonic history, or diplomacy will find this book worth reading. Schwarzenegger fans may learn a few new things about the Governator, who was Joe "Master Blaster" Weider's star protégé in the early 70's and features prominently in the narrative.

Since the Weiders pretty much created modern bodybuilding (bodybuilding = improving the fitness, shape and size of your body through exercise), this is a must-read for anyone who is seriously interested in that subject. How the Wieders differentiated bodybuilding from weightlifting, and the running battle that weightlifting impresario Bob Hoffman fought against Joe Weider for decades, is one of the major narrative threads. Another is Ben Weider's quest to establish the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) worldwide, and have bodybuilding recognized by the International Olympic Committee. Building the Weider enterprise -- publishing, exercise equipment, food supplements and so forth is another thread that provides an interesting case study in entrepreneurship, with all the good luck, bad luck, shrewd decisions and blunders you would expect in a sixty year career.

On the motivational side, this memoir reminded me of a Somerset Maugham short story where a verger (lay minister) loses his job because of illiteracy, becomes a tobacco store magnate, and is asked by an astounded banker where he would be if he could read and write. He answers "I'd be verger of St. Peter's, Neville Square.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susanna Hutcheson TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Joe Weider made his name and his fortune promoting the sport he loves and for which he has an astounding amount of passion --- bodybuilding. There is no one who even comes close to putting the sport of bodybuilding on a par with other sports. Nor is there anyone who has come close to promoting bodybuilding or resistance training as a way to gain health that can last a lifetime.

This book is extremely well written. I suspect that's because a professional writer was brought in to make that happen and Mike Steere did a wonderful job. However, one can certainly see the different styles in communication in the chapters written by Joe and by brother Ben.

The really fun reading, the wonderful reading was that in the chapters written by Joe. But one will notice soon into the book that it is a love fest by Joe Weider to Joe Weider.

Weider blames other people for his failures, including a near bankruptcy and a failed first marriage. He also shows an incredible lack of love or human caring for his one and only child by his first wife. He mentions the child in passing and with no emotion. One wonders why he married a woman he didn't love or resect.

All through the book Joe Weider brags about all he did for the sport of bodybuilding and he takes full credit for it all. He puts down numerous other people in the business.

When Arnold was giving a speech and didn't give Joe credit for making it all happen for him, Joe was angry and upset. He wanted the credit and he wanted it publically. Well, truth be told, he deserved the credit. Arnold would still be a nobody in Austria without Joe Weider. And one needs to understand that egos are as huge as muscles in bodybuilding.

This book gives us a look at the golden years of bodybuilding.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Winters on September 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
One of the more important facets of Joe Weider's legacy was that he was busted on NUMEROUS occasions by the US government for making misleading claims about some of the supplements and other products he was hocking. He was exposed for being a cheat and a liar and was forced to pay back money he stole from his customers. Tellingly, none of this is mentioned in this book. What you have here is litany of lies from a man who made a fortune from telling lies, and from exploiting the misguided dreams of young men who dreamed of being in his magazines. As a piece of "nonfiction," it's worthless. As another piece of evidence of Joe Weider's megalomania, this can be thrown on the pile.
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20 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Nicholson on April 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Joe Weider destroyed bodybuilding. Prior the rise of the Weider empire, and the drugs and mis-information that are a huge part of it, bodybuilding was a healthy endeavor. Before the early 1960's bodybuilders actually got big and stayed big for deacdes without drugs. Training programs were sensable and healthy. A guy like Grimek or Clancy Ross could compete at a natural 220 lbs., look great for deacades and live to a ripe old age. Weider and the drug culture that he promoted ruined all that. Weider created a system where the only way to win was to get bigger and bigger year after year. Of course this means taking more and more drugs. All the while Weider is raking in the cash while guys like Andreas Munzer and Mohammed Benaziza (sp?) died horrible deaths chasing down that Sandow trophy. Their blood is on Weiders hands. To all the young guns tempted by Weider and the glossy magazines (muscle comics), realize this.....it's all an illusion. You can't have what you see is those ridiculous magazines. There is nothing in those magazines that is going to help you in any way. They exist solely to sell suppliments that you don't even need. There is a better way. Forget Weider and the fantasy he sells. Study the ways of the old timers who got big before drugs were even available. They got big and stayed big. They were as strong as they looked. They were as mentally healthy as they were physically healthy. They didn't wind up killing themselves like DeMayo, or killing others like Bertil Fox or Craig Titus. There was a Golden Age of bodybuilding that existed before you or I were even born. Ironically, this is the only time that Joe Weider, himself, ever had ANY muscle. Back then men got big by using what worked and scrapping what was nonsense. These days no one is getting big. Forget Weider and the unatainable fantasy he sells. Work towards something that you can actually achieve.
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