Let’s Get Physical (Hardback)

How Women Discovered Exercise and Reshaped the World

Danielle Friedman

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'Well-researched and readable' – Financial Times
'An absorbing, pacy read' – New Statesman
'Canny and informative' – The New Yorker

The untold history of women's exercise culture, from jogging and Jazzercise to Jane Fonda.

Author of The Cut's viral article shared thousands of times unearthing the little-known origins of barre workouts, Danielle Friedman explores the history of women's exercise, and how physical strength has been converted into other forms of power.

Only in the 60s, thanks to a few forward-thinking fitness pioneers, did women begin to move en masse. In doing so, they were pursuing not only physical strength, but personal autonomy.

Exploring barre, jogging, aerobics, weight training and yoga, Danielle Friedman tells the story of how, with the rise of late-20th century feminism, women discovered the joy of physical competence – and how, going forward, we can work to transform fitness from a privilege into a right.

Danielle Friedman is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine's The Cut, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Glamour, Health, and other publications. She has worked as a senior editor at NBC News Digital and The Daily Beast, and she began her career as a nonfiction book editor at the Penguin imprints Hudson Street Press and Plume. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

A well-researched and readable account of how female pioneers broke the taboos that stopped most women exercising until at least the 1960s. Friedman, a journalist, emphasises that fitness has remained accessible primarily to white women with time and resources. Now some pioneers are trying to break those exclusionary barriers too.Financial Times, best summer books of 2022
An absorbing, pacy read – and her enthusiasm for exercise is contagious.New Statesman
Fact-packed but bouncy … Most enjoyable is when Friedman shines light on less hallowed figures, like Judi Sheppard Missett, the relentlessly upbeat founder of Jazzercise, whose classes "changed the rhythm of women's days"; and Bonnie Prudden, "the lady in the leotite" and a descendant of Davy Crockett…[Friedman's] book is very much "pro" exercise, but for the right reasons: not slimming down but mood management, community, spirituality in the corporal.The New York Times
Astute and entertaining … With an emphasis on barrier breakers, business dynamos, and exceptional athletes, Friedman explores how physical training can be a means of personal liberation … This zippy history is bursting with energy.Publishers Weekly


about this book

ISBN: 9781785788093

Price: 16.99 GBP

Pages: 352

Publication date: 06/01/2022


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