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Pumping Iron: The Art and Sport of Bodybuilding Paperback – 1974

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster (1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671219227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671219222
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #673,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
This engrossing documentary/commentary of bodybuilding is the Bible of what bodybuilding IS. It does not drown you with technical detail, nor attempt to teach you HOW to bodybuild. What it does is bring you inside the gyms, (where the competitors work out) the arenas (where they compete) and inside their minds, where the peculiar and fascinating drive for the physical ideal finds its germination, growth and finally fruit on the posing platform. Why they do what they do, and just a smattering of detail of the equipment they use to accomplish their ends, rounds out this book. It is centered around a not-then-well-known Arnold Schwarzeneggar in his quest for the ultimate bodybuilding title, the Mr. Olympia. A few other competitors are also featured along with their quest for physical perfection and recognition of that by the bodybuilding contest judges. The well-placed and very informative pictures of the athletes at work in the gym, at play and in competition were a constant source of fascination to me as a teenaged boy, and I spent uncounted hours slowly flipping through the pages and examining every detail of what I thought a physique SHOULD look like. If you have ever been mildly curious of what essence makes men into bodybuilders, or have wondered WHY they do this, this book is for you. I recommend it very highly, and would probably be flipping through it right now if I had it, so inexhaustible is its supply of interesting information!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on August 9, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is no overstatement to attribute to the publication of this book much of the fitness revolution that first began in the 1970s. It lionized the then relatively obscure sport of bodybuilding, and in particular made much notice of the then only marginally known figure of a relatively young Austrian muscle freak with the unlikely name of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The book proved such a trenchant and penetrating look into the shadowy subculture of fitness freaks and muscle-heads that it created a boom in the gym business, which previously existed only in a few locations where the numbers of bodybuilders reached enough of a critical mass to allow such a commercial venture. In fact, as Gaines points out in the narrative, most of the gyms were owned by guys like Joe Gold, who weren't in the gym business to make a profit, and who merely managed to eke out a living, and who rarely made much of a return on their original investment.
Of course, this affectionate and knowing look at the life and lifestyles of several serious competitive bodybuilders was so successful that it encouraged the photographer, George Butler, to try to find backing for a film version of the book. And it was a difficult sell, for the movie mavens had little appreciation for the degree of public interest in muscles and muscle men then. Indeed, the movie was never released for wide commercial viewing, but was rather relegated to showings at art cinemas and other venues. Yet the book was a resounding success, and was on the best-selling trade books for months and months.
The book can still be found in used bookstores, and is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in the history of bodybuilding or the lifestyles of the most famous musclemen of the late 1960s and 1970s.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "rjgrib" on February 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Before this book, bodybuilding was an obscure sport that nobody cared about or was interested in. Pumping Iron changed all that with it's realistic look at the sport with many pictures of the champions of the 70's & early 80's at work and play. Shattered many of the myths that people believed about bodybuilders and presented them as ordinary people with an intense drive and competitive will.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michelle Hill on April 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My husband is really into Bodybuilding and he had been looking for this book as he had lost his copy from back in his teen years. I was so glad I was able to find this for him!! He was very happy to receive it!He likes this original book as opposed to the "revised" one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brandon Andrew Goddard on November 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The images and study of body building culture is really amazing.
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Format: Hardcover
This is just great story of bodybuilding,history at its finest, a must read for any builder, the fitness boom birth and the rest is history so to say, I loved it in some way more exciting than the movie.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
I book this book back in 1973 and then lost it in a flood but was able to get a copy at a used book store.These were the real champions and pioneers of bodybuilding; Arnold, Nubret, Columbu, Zane, Corney, Waller, Katz etc.You rarely see training photo's like this and heretofore, never saw bodybuilders depicted as real people as Gaines and Butler did with this work and the movie that followed.Pumping Iron and a Mega-Superstar German with a hard to prononunce last name literally took bodybuilding into the mainstream and turned the stars of our sport into household names.While I was lucky to find a copy of this book at a used book store, I really feel that Gaines and Butler should have a reprint for people who would like a new, first class copy; perhaps even a revised version showing where those champions are today.Great book Mr. Gaines and Mr. Butler.
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By Armin Erbsland on May 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book came in the shape it was advertised to be in. Good price for some interesting history. Would most likely buy this type of literature again through Amazon.
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