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Question to Mr Roark


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What was the name of the rare book by Desbonet that you mentioned some time ago?

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Edmond Desbonnet was profiled by David Chapman

in Ironman August 1990 page 96, and David outlines

the contributuions that Desbonnet gave to the iron

game, including his magazines etc. Edmond began

La Culture Physique in 1904.

The book is Les Rois de la Force (The Kings of Strength).

A friend looking for a copy found one for $600. (yes, six

hundred). It is written of course, in French. I am aware of

two people who have translated it, one manuscript has

probably been lost (Leo Gaudreau's) and the other I am

not at liberty to reveal in specifics.

Apparently David Willoughby, when he wrote his Kings of

Strength series for Ironman, cut out photos from a copy

of Les Rois de la Force for use with that series! So if you

have seen Willoughby's Ironman series you will have a sense

of the wondrous photos that are contained in the book. Years

ago I urged John Balik to rerun the series for modern readers

because many have not seen the mid 1950s magazines. John

of course must consider the bottom line, and so far has not

reprinted the series. A sound business decision; an unfortunate consequence for us because there was GREAT

grip info in there.


An aside: I certainly am aware that many people enjoy

general statements about the modern bodybuilding magazines

and like to willy-nilly dismiss them. Ironman is now running

a series on oldtimers by David Chapman, and Ironman has a

lengthy history of respecting the oldtimers. In Flex, our

Hall of Fame series has included some pioneers of modern

bodybuilding. So the question becomes, how many pages

of a magazine must interest a person before the urge to

buy a magazine is justified?

These magazines contain no more misinformation

than do many of the forums on the net, where the only

advantage to the misinformation is that it is free.

Anyway if you can find the book, you will probably have

found one of the rarest texts in muscledom. Good luck!

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Thank you for all your infomation! Today I got a message from Lund University Libraries. They had found Edmond Desbonnet's book Les Rois de la Force. Hopefully I have the book in my hand´s very soon.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I remember that you mention another very rare book here on Brip Board.

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I will ask David Chapman for a short list of

rare books in the field; he knows FAR more than

I about such books, and when I get the list I will

post it for all to salivate over.

Regarding old magazines, about which I do have

some knowledge, Jan & Terry Todd and I composed

what, so far as I know, is the only major listing of

physical culture magazines, and presented it in

Iron Game History years ago (March 1991).

The earliest listed mag was The Journal of Health

from 1829, when Wannagrip was just a mere lad.

The list needs updating, but that probably will not

happen anytime soon. Do you have that issue of IGH?

Old grip toys were sometimes featured in the old

mags; interesting reading.

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Arne, and all collectors:

Here is a complete list of Desbonnet's books as

provided by David Chapman, who, it is only fair

to mention, has a monthly column in Ironman:

Un coup de tocsin avant le glas (Paris, 1913)

[a warming bell before the death knell]

Les rois de la force (1911)

[The kings of strength]

Les rois de la lutte (1910)

[The kings of wrestling]

Apollon: un demi-dieu de la force (1913?)

[Apollon: Demi god of strength]

Pour devenir fort et le rester (1916)

[How to getstrong and stay so]

La force physique: culture rationelle (1901)

[Physical strength: rational bodybuilding]

Pour devenir belle...et le rester (1911)

[How to become beautiful and stay so]

Comment on devient Athelte (1909)

[How to become an athlete]

L'Art de creer le pur-sang humain (1908 co author by

Georges Rouhet)

[The art of creating the thoroughbred human]

Comment in obtient la force physique et la sante

(1933, co author Pierre Chevillet)

[How to achieve physical strength and health]

La Gymnastique des organes

(1936 co author Pierre Chevillet))

[Organ gymnastics]

-compiled by David Chapman; thanks, David!

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I'm very grateful for all your impressive replies!

Arne Persson

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