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Synopsis

During two feverish decades between the world wars, Bernarr Macfadden did more to educate the world about healthy eating, alternative medicine, regular sexual activity, and exercise than anyone in history. A tubercular orphan at age eight, he discovered the nascent fields of vegetarianism and weight lifting, and at the turn of the century founded Physical Culture, the most influential health magazine of all time and the cornerstone of a thirty-million-dollar media empire. His disciples included Upton Sinclair and Charles Atlas; among his employees were Walter Winchell, Ed Sullivan, and Eleanor Roosevelt. He launched the worst newspaper in U.S. history, founded a whole-grain utopian community in the New Jersey suburbs, trained fascist cadets for Mussolini, and came within a hair's breadth of being elected senator from Florida—running on a physical fitness platform.

Yet today few have heard of this larger-than-life entrepreneur who changed American society. In Mr. America, Mark Adams illuminates Macfadden's captivating, ambitious, and unparalleled life. After examining the thousands of diets in Macfadden's revolutionary five-volume Encyclopedia of Physical Culture, Adams plays guinea pig and tests several of the most extreme ones on himself—with amazing, and sometimes hilarious, results.

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