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Bernarr Macfadden (born Bernard McFadden) was nothing if not an interesting man. Considered to be a pioneer of physical culture as we know it, he was hailed by some and mocked by others. Detractors targeted him because of his tremendous ego, but no one could deny the man’s love for the human body. That love shines through his prose in Physical Training—one of the first of his numerous published books. The work is quaint by today’s standards of fitness and health: Macfadden’s exercise equipment is antiquated (and often quite curious), his dietary advice is outdated (not surprising, given the decades of science that have elapsed), and his views on beauty are old-world. If you are looking for practical or current knowledge related to fitness, there are better places to look, but for sheer pleasure and historical appreciation, Macfadden’s passion and eccentricity make Physical Training a fascinating read.
Milne Library Publishing
McFadden, Bernarr A., "McFadden’s System of Physical Training: An illustrated system of exercise for the development of health, strength and beauty" (1895). Genesee Valley Historical Reprints. 28.
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