Reader Comments - Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors

Reader Comments

What the readers are saying:


The book shows a remarkable degree of scholarship and research and demonstrates that the contestant with the very best physique, overall, may not always win even the most important competition in the bodybuilding world.

Eddie Tabash


The book was incredible. I also have volume 1 &2 as well. You are a great writer and muscle/strength/ iron game historian.
Hope you continue and have more coming in the future.

Greg Gimenez


It’s an excellent book. If more volumes become available I will be first in line!

Perry Koussiafes

LOVED IT! I’ve loved all your writings thus far though, so feel a bit biased… I’ve always been a fervent student of the iron game, especially with regards to sports performance and strength training in the realm of said sports performance. But, what having read all your work has done is made me realize just how much the history of bodybuilding inevitably ties into all this. Not to mention that I now have to admit that I’m a much bigger history of bodybuilding buff than I would have otherwise guessed

I finished that latest book in under a week. I always have a dozen books going at once, but whenever I get one like your latest, it ends up taking precedence over everything else. I think the fact that it was shorter also influenced this…

Thanks for providing such a unique perspective and knowledge into this; much appreciated!!!

Eric LÈpine

Absolutely…I am looking forward to the next one. Your three books are a permanent part of my library at home.

Bruce C.

I loved the book! And…I look forward to more from you. I have read the other Smoke and Mirrors books and loved them as well, even to the point of purchasing an extra copy of the first one for my sister, not so much for the bodybuilding history, but the “extra” tidbits…history, medicine, food, etc.

John McFadden

Mr. Roach,

Phenomenal! Fantastic history and backstory to bodybuilding. I especially love the drama surrounding the ’80 Olympia, and the questioning of the judging for Arnold to have won. As much as I love Arnold, and as much as he has inspired me, this was indeed an odd decision. I even went to YouTube to try to catch the documentary made of the ’80 Olympia, and found it interesting focusing on Tom Platz and editing out the raucous crowd after the decision was rendered!

My favorite was your point as to how out of era Arnold had been at that contest; as bodybuilding was supposed to have moved on but yet was pulled back to award Arnold the top prize.

Anyways, thank you again for your great work, and I can’t wait for Part II.

Paul Redman

The book was fantastic! I have enjoyed the whole series of “Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors” and this one was no exception. I now have much more insight into the Olympia contests of 1980 and 1981. I knew they were controversial due to the decisions made regarding the winners but there was a lot more to it than I thought. Never understood until now that the conspiracy to keep Arnold and Franco on top even when they were past their primes ran so deep among the powers that be in the bodybuilding world.

Keep putting these books out! No one is doing what you are doing-giving the fans the true history of bodybuilding and diet. Thanks so much for your contributions.

Joel Smithgall


Great book and much needed too. You have done those interested in the body building world a great service

Lowell Stanley


I thought the book (part 1 of Vol 3) was excellent. It was up to the standard set in Vol 1 and 2. I knew the 1980 Mr O was a farce, but I never knew that there were so many underhand moves at the 1981 event.

Keep up the superb work!
Jason Weir

The book is great! Thank you for your extensive coverage of Iron Game History. I am so glad that it was offered in a printed format, not just Kindle. I look forward to the next installment.
Michael Fera

I loved the book. I think the Muscle Smoke and Mirrors books are probably the best “bodybuilding history” books ever. I thought the first one was an A+, the second one a B+ (too much Arthur Jones for me lol) and this third book is an A. I’ve always been particularly interested in the 1980 Mr. Olympia, because of all the controversy. I hope that the future books will include similar discussions of the behind the scenes controversies and the athletes stories, as well as the discussion of training, diet and drug supplementation from the 80s thru the present day. I definitely plan to buy any future “Muscle Smoke and Mirrors” books. Thanks for all your hard work in writing them!

Christopher Lauer

Superb, I believe I could read them start to finish multiple times over. I recommend them to others on a weekly basis.

Rob Harris


The book was good, but I enjoyed the first two volumes more. Not because it was not a good book. Probably more for the fact that there was so much information in the first two and it was so dense. Overall I have enjoyed all of them though!

Thank you so much for writing these books. I make all of my interns and GA’s read them because I think it is important to understand the iron game as a coach of weightlifting!
Will Greenberg


I loved the most recent one (as well as the first two). The problem is waiting for the next one! I know writing and researching is a time consuming process but I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas!
Keep up the good work.

graeme jones


I loved the book, I was surprised at how fast I read through it! I was young during that era and had no idea that was the situation at that time. I really came into physical culture during the muscle media days, I can’t wait for the next volume! I’m going to re-read the first two volumes soon.

Kerry Adams

I love all the volumes Mr. Roach. The detail you are able to provide is incredible.
Can’t wait for the next book.

Chris Turner


I enjoyed it very much. I have enjoyed all your books. I read it in 2 days which for a man with 5 kids and always on the go is pretty good. Normally it takes me 2 weeks to read a book. I am looking forward to the next volume , I have always enjoyed reading about history, but to add the history of physical culture which is another passion of mine is awesome.
I look forward to the next Volume

Howard Liviskie

Subject: Re: Quick question

Dear Randy…loved the book. Love all of them. It’s really hard to wait the time period between books because I enjoy them so much. You do top shelf work…keep it up.

Darin Waldram

“The new book is great. Similar to the previous volumes, I found the history not only informative, but a very captivating one as well. The level of detail and the quality of the information and narrative maintains the same high standards set by the previous volumes. I found myself so captivated that I read the first two volumes within two months. The quality of the hardback editions is also great.

All in all, I would like to congratulate you and thank you for your hard effort in writing these books. As someone who has been involved with bodybuilding, strength training, and sport science for almost 25 years, these books have helped me gain a new perspective and a better appreciation of the history of the iron game and sports nutrition, and as a result a better understanding of today’s practices as well. I will be returning to these books many times.”
Once again, I thank you for your contribution to our field and all the time and effort you have poured into this project.

Dr Joseph Esformes, PhD., CSCS


Randy, it was awesome. I was totally obsorb by the sport in 1980 and 1981. You rekindled many memories. When is the next one? What topics will be covered?

Bobby Bigone.

I absolutely loved it. Great book. I learned quite a few things I did not know and I have been following bodybuilding religiously since the late 70’s. Really looking forward to the next one.

Bobby Kennedy


Loved the book. Especially the parts related to Paul Graham as I used to compete in Australian bodybuilding and have won the Mr Australia. Explains a lot about how he is! All the muscle smoke and mirrors are great! Everyone in bodybuilding should read they are the best record of the history of our sport there is.

Thank you for writing them!!

James Potter


No, I didn’t like the book. I loved it! Although I read it too quickly and am now waiting for the next installment, it was up to the quality of your previous two volumes. I grew up reading Strength and Health and Muscle Builder and Mr. America. Then I added IronMan and Muscle Mag and Muscle Training Illustrated. I read them all cover to cover. Our sport was kind of a secret society. My buddies knew about baseball, football, basketball but bodybuilding was mine and mine alone. I miss those days.

Thank you for your hard work. It is appreciated.

John Scirica


Yeah, loved the book. Finished it in a couple of days. Those two Olympia’s are the most talked about ever, still after 35 years. There’s a lot of talk, but I think you put together enough information to finally get a clear picture on what actually happened. Well done!

– Jarett Hulse


I thought your book was great! Very well written and lots of info. Loved your other books too.

Greg Butson

Great book! I can’t believe how much detail you research into your books, outstanding. What’s the next topic in the series?

I’m glad your doing smaller series type books….better than waiting 4 years!

 Bleu, Baker

I really enjoyed it along with the others…..I’m an old school bodybuilding guy.

Keep up the good work!

James Sweeney