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Universal Hunks - A Pictorial History of Muscular Men around the World, 1895-1975

Universal Hunks

A Pictorial History of Muscular Men around the World, 1895-1975

By David L. Chapman
Foreword by Douglas Brown
Categories: Visual Arts, LGBTQ+, Gay Literature, Cultural Studies, Photography, History, Popular Culture
Paperback : 9781551525099, 304 pages, 2013


A lively, wide-ranging visual history of muscular men from around the world.

Over the last 100 years, the image of the muscular man has known no boundaries; it has been the object of envy, admiration, and desire, and used to convey optimal health and fitness, product appeal, political power, and military might. Universal Hunks, David L. Chapman's follow-up to American Hunks, is a captivating collection of historical images of muscular men from around the world beginning in the 19th century up until the 1970s, including photographs, posters, advertisements, magazine and comic book covers, and product packaging. The book considers the eroticized, politicized, and commercialized male image through history, and evaluates its fascinating cultural context by country and continent; culled from the author's personal collections, it includes materials never published before, including images of Asian bodybuilders, European comic-book superheroes, African tribesmen, and muscleman posters from the Soviet Union. The book also includes a foreword by cultural and sports historian Douglas Brown.

Full-color throughout, Universal Hunks is a thought-provoking and sexy visual tour of musclemen from all parts of the globe.


A captivating visual tour.
-The Advocate

- The Advocate

As substantial as it is salacious. . . showing us men with a wide range of skin tones and facial features, but also provokes readers to think about their commonalities.
-Passport Magazine

- Passport

A fascinating work, wonderfully illustrated.
-Fugues Magazine

- Fugues

Chapman has amassed a vast collection of fascinating, humorous and alluring "hunk" ephemera from around the globe.
-EDGE Publications


A fun, attractive book full of musclemen.
-The Stranger

- The Stranger

Light, smart, breezy, and very sexy.
-ION Magazine

- ION Magazine

Authors David L. Chapman and Douglas Brown trace the origins of the sculpted, nearly nude, or totally bare male silhouette across the globe.
-The Atlantic

- The Atlantic

Universal Hunks highlights diverse historical contexts in a global sweep, to bring under one cover a better understanding of the diversity of cultures and traditions as regards the art of the physique. And it nails right on the head the very thing that draws us to the art of the physique and its practitioners . .. [An] ethnographic feast.
-Bay Area Reporter

- Bay Area Reporter

Filled with delightful historical photographs of body builders from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, Universal Hunks does not fail to deliver exactly what its title suggests. Every page is full of photographs, advertisements, and even propaganda posters featuring muscle men throughout the world and history. Hunks is definitely a feast for the eyes. -American Library Association GLBT Reviews

- ALA GLBT Reviews