A compelling new biography by David Waller
“Waller’s lively, colourful and fascinating book should help restore interest in an unjustly forgotten icon.” Miranda Seymour, The Daily Telegraph
Eugen Sandow (1867-1925) was a Victorian strongman who was colossally famous in his day and possessed what was deemed to be the most perfect male body. He rose from obscurity in Prussia to become a music-hall sensation in late Victorian London, going on to great success as a performer in North America and throughout the British Empire. He was a friend to King Edward VII and was appointed Professor of Physical Culture to King George V. Sandow’s physical culture system was adopted by hundreds of thousands around the world. He lost his fortune at the time of the First World War and ended up being buried in an unmarked grave in Putney Vale Cemetery.
Written with humour and insight into the popular culture of late Victorian England, David Waller’s book argues that Sandow deserves to be resurrected as a significant cultural figure whose life, like that of Oscar Wilde, tells us a great deal about sexuality and celebrity at the Fin de Siècle.
David Waller’s previous biography, The Magnificent Mrs Tennant, was runner-up for The Biographers’ Club Prize in 2009, and was described by the Independent as like “Thackeray at his best”.
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