Fit Nation: The Gains and Pains of America's Exercise Obsession

Product Details
$29.00  $26.97
University of Chicago Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.63 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Natalia Mehlman Petrzela is a historian of contemporary American politics and culture and associate professor of history at the New School. A certified fitness instructor, she has worked out at home and in gyms for nearly three decades. She is the author of Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture, and her work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and CNN. She is coproducer and host of the acclaimed podcast Welcome to Your Fantasy and cohost of the Past Present podcast. She lives in New York City
"Fit Nation is a comprehensive, analytically rich history that offers an expert guided tour of fitness entrepreneurs and practices. Petrzela uses the lens of fitness to offer a fascinating history of transformations in conceptions of masculinity and femininity, consumption practices, and entrepreneurialism. The result is a political history of ideas--about the body, community, and the proper relations between the state and the individual--that is not only fascinating but strikingly relevant."-- "Lawrence B. Glickman, Cornell University"
"This is the book I've been waiting for my whole career! As someone who has straddled the fitness industry and public health academia for decades, I truly cannot underscore strongly enough the importance of what Petrzela has so perfectly and poignantly presented here. Both long overdue and impeccably timed, Fit Nation is a necessary key to the future of fitness."-- "Shauna Harrison, yogi, trainer, and academic"
"Throughout, Petrzela critiques the fitness industry's lack of attention to poor, working-class, and nonwhite communities, and marshals a wealth of information into a coherent narrative. This is a valuable survey of what exercise means in America."-- "Publishers Weekly"
"Petrzela has brought us an intellectually rich and delightfully informative history of how people in the United States have understood, obsessed over, and changed their bodies. In a thorough look at the trends, characters, and ideologies that have informed the body politic and the politics of bodies, Petrzela helps us recognize the weight of constant messaging from industries trying to convince the public to seek perfection endlessly. An important and enjoyable read."-- "Marcia Chatelain, author of Pulitzer Prize-winning "Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America""
"America's current obsession with fitness, exercise, and wellness has a deep and fascinating history, one that Petrzela has been at the forefront of illuminating as a historian, writer, educator, activist--and instructor. In Fit Nation, Petrzela brings to bear her tremendous narrative gifts through a rich cast of characters and entrepreneurs while deepening our understanding of the complex social, cultural, political, and economic forces that have helped to shape our bodies figuratively and literally. Whatever your relationship to exercise, this entertaining and transformative book is a must-read."-- "Marisa Meltzer, author of "This Is Big: How the Founder of Weight Watchers Changed the World (and Me)""
"A pensive survey of the evolution of exercise in America and a pessimistic view of our nation's current fitness."-- "Booklist"
"Petrzela takes us on a whirlwind journey. . . She traces how the United States simultaneously became obsessed with working out and failed to provide necessary resources for it."-- "New York Times"
"Petrzela demonstrates that chic, pricey gyms have an outsize influence on our collective mentality around fitness, and she does so effectively. Her analysis of elitist workout culture has a sharp edge. . . . [Fit Nation] provocatively and firmly argues that fitness is not an unmitigated good in American culture."-- "Washington Post"
"Petrzela's account moves at a quick-lap pace: She scans the market from top to bottom, from the Equinox gym to the Zumba class in a local church hall."-- "Wall Street Journal"