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Publishers Weekly, 1993-06-28 Sociologist/anthropologist Klein ( Sugarball: The American Game, The Dominican Dream ) spent seven years hanging out at four elite West Coast bodybuilding gyms, and his observations of this strange, hyper-masculine subculture, though sometimes shackled by academic jargon, are telling. He tracks bodybuilding's roots in Charles Atlas ads and the film Pumping Iron , then offers a taxonomy of gym characters, from onlookers to professional bodybuilders. He savvily analyzes ``the political economy of bodybuilding,'' describing how a few entrepreneurs and promoters control the sport, and how competitors find jobs--as bouncers, bodyguards and the like--at which they can put their muscle to use. Klein finds much irony in the view that one's body is entirely in one's control, since genetics affect potential, and steroids destroy more than they add. Moreover, though bodybuilding is enshrined in the minds of its practitioners as heterosexual, large numbers of competitors survive by homosexual hustling. In contrast to male bodybuilders, female ones see the sport more as a means than as an end in itself; and many male bodybuilders, Klein suggests, find support for misogyny and homophobia in their barbell world. (Aug.)
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