Beacon Press: Swole
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The Making of Men and the Meaning of Muscle

Author: Michael Andor Brodeur   Narrated by: Mark Sanderlin

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From a Washington Post critic and self-described meathead, a witty, incisive, poignant exploration of male body image, from the history of the gym to the politics of superheroes to the world of manfluencers

Michael Andor Brodeur is a Gen-X gay writer with a passion for bodybuilding and an insatiable curiosity about masculinity—a concept in which many men are currently struggling to find their place. In our current moment, where “manfluencers” on TikTok tease their audiences with their latest videos, where right-wing men espouse the importance of being “alpha,” as toxic masculinity and the patriarchy are being rightfully criticized, the nature of masculinity has become murkier than ever.

In excavating this complex topic, Brodeur uses the male body as his guide: its role in cultures from the gymnasia of ancient Greece to Walt Whitman’s essays on manly health, from the rise of Muscular Christianity in 19th-century America to the swollen superheroes and Arnold Schwarzeneggers of Brodeur’s childhood. Interweaving history, cultural criticism, memoir, and reportage, laced with an irrepressible wit, Brodeur takes us into the unique culture centered around men’s bodies, probing its limitations and the promise beyond: how men can love themselves while rejecting the aggression, objectification, and misogyny that have for so long accompanied the quest to become swole.
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“A memoir, history, and critical essay in one, sure to captivate anyone who’s ever pumped—or dreamed of pumping—iron.”
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

“Brodeur maintains a sharp focus on the way Western culture’s perceived mind-body divide has shaped ideas about masculinity . . . Punchy, entertaining, and perceptive, this delivers.”
Publishers Weekly

“[A] semiotic history that doubles as an autobiography in lifting . . . Brodeur writes witty, allusive prose about an enthusiasm not today considered highbrow.”
Washington Post

“Brodeur’s glorious, insightful, and cackle-out-loud hilarious book is destined to be a classic.”
—Kevin Alexander, author of Burn the Ice

“A timely, unprecedented survey of an unexpected, often overlooked figure in body politics: the meathead. . . . Necessary . . . Crucial . . . For anyone engaged in the Sisyphean pursuit of muscle and bulk—and to anyone interested in engaging with a critical examination of masculinity—Swole is an invitation to broaden our view on what it means to want to get big.”
—Colin Self, artist and composer


ISBN: 978-080703505-4
Publication Date: 5/28/2024
Size: x
Price:  $28.00
Format: Audio
Availability: In stock.

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