Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors Volume II – Review By Mike Brown
Several years ago a friend of mine, a professional wrestler, bought some muscle magazines before he boarded an airplane. He told me that he had read everything he needed to read in those magazines before the plane left the runway a short time later.
It’s a sad state of affairs when you can go to a magazine devoted to the subject you want to learn more about and learn absolutely nothing. Some of you may remember the old Iron Man magazine, published by Peary Rader and his wife Mabel from 1936 until they sold it in 1986. I used to write for that magazine, starting in 1973.
Two things distinguished the old Iron Man magazine of yesterday and the current crop of catalogs. First, the Raders published different points of view and would accept advertising from different people. Second, the Raders tried to bring their readers and subscribers accurate information. Those days are long gone.
Or are they?
Just recently Randy Roach sent me his first two volumes of Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors. What I thought was merely a history of bodybuilding turned out to be a whole lot more. What I found in those two volumes (the third is as yet unfinished) was the type of training and nutrition information that was obtainable from the old Iron Man and other magazines decades ago.
And then it dawned on me. Randy roach has distilled basic bodybuilding knowledge from the last hundred years for anyone to access who wants accurate bodybuilding information. That information is interwoven with the history of the “iron game,” which in itself makes fascinating reading.
According to the author of the book, Looking Good: Male Body Image In Modern
America, Lynne Luciano, there are 85 million male bodybuilders in the United States. My own observation has been that, regardless of the numbers, more than 90% of them are being fed misinformation that hampers their progress (such as training to failure, six small meals a day, etc.) through the modern muscle magazines.
Randy Roach’s books may be a step backwards into the past but they’re a step in the right direction. As one fellow who had failed using the modern nonsense told me, “Brown, you old-timers knew what you were doing. Now I’m making gains.”
In addition, volume I contains two chapters that are alone worth the price of the book: the history of processed foods, the medical profession, and the pharmaceutical industry and the scientists who fought them, a struggle that is still taking place today. See e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org, a friend of mine who is now in a court battle with the FDA over natural foods (the FDA wants his products labeled as drugs). Let Randy Roach introduce you to the old-timers, their training methods, their nutritional knowledge, and their history. His three-volume set will not only educate you, it will entertain you as well.
December 01, 2011