Bodybuilding novel weaves York Barbell legends, York, Pa., into story

Legacy of Iron

York, Pa., plays a role in historical novels written by Brooks Kubik. ‘Legacy of Iron’ and ‘Clouds of War’ are available via the Web. York Barbell legend Tommy Kono wrote this testimonial about Kubik’s work: “Great book! Don’t take too long in coming up with the next one.” Also of interest: All York Barbell posts from the start and Author muscles way into York’s weightlifting, bodybuilding world and York, Pa.’s link to the use of steroids in sports: ‘Pecs, pink pills and power’.

Brooks Kubik is a weightlifter and author of several weight training books and two novels.
The novels are set in the late 1930’s and 1940’s and feature York Barbell owner Bob Hoffman, John Grimek, Steve Stanko, Harry Paschall and others at the York, Pa.-based weightlifting giant.
Here’s an edited and excerpted e-mail from the author describing his work, York Barbell and York, Pa.:

The fictional characters interact with the York lifters and attend actual events — lifting contests and shows and so on.
I research the novels in old issues of Strength and Health and old books by Bob Hoffman.
So really, they’re historical novels.
A number of older lifters have given them a thumbs up and said they really capture the
spirit of the men and women who are portrayed in them. That includes Tommy Kono and Ike Berger — as well as Jim Schmitz and Clarence Bass. Ditto for Jan Dellinger, who
used to work for Strength and Health and York Barbell and shared an office with John Grimek.
They do honor to York, to the York Barbell Co. and to the men and women who created the “Muscletown” era.

So here’s an opportunity for some York Town Square readers who consume a steady diet of York, Pa.-related works – fictional and non-fiction – to pick up and read.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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12 Responses to Bodybuilding novel weaves York Barbell legends, York, Pa., into story

  1. Jon Schultheis says:

    While I missed most of the “great ones” by a few years, I did have the opportunity to visit both the old and new facilities of the York Barbell Company. Just wanted to say thanks to you folks in PA for some great memories of my younger days and to Brooks for bringing an era of York glory to life!

  2. Joseph Perkins says:

    Sadly I missed out on all the greats but thanks to The Legacy of Iron Novels I feel as if I am there.
    I appreciate what The York Gang and Bob Hoffman did for weightlifting and physical culture.

  3. Christian Tackett says:

    I read both Legacy of Iron and Clouds of War, which all I can say is WOW! How wonderful it was to go back in time for a brief minute and have a dinner with Bob Hoffman or kid around with Harry Paschall or talk geese with Steve Stanko or have breakfast with John Davis…or knowing what Sig Klein thought of “standards” (at a certain place!). Truly, how great our tradition is…
    I plan on keeping these books and reading them to my son (and for my own motivation!).
    Thank you Brooks once again…ct

  4. Michael Intemann says:

    Usually you read about a workout or meet results but the Legacy series is like stepping back into time and getting more than a glimpse of life with the crew from York. Be right there with the greats Stanko, Grimek, Paschall, Hoffman, and many others. Working and training at York, the meals with Gracie, the camaraderie, and competition.You see these people not only as fierce competitors, but also as real people. It’s very entertaining, motivating and an easy read. Did I say motivating, definitely inspirational. If you’re a fan of the Iron Game and the whole physical culture movement this is a must read!

  5. Dennis Perez says:

    Brooks really struck a chord with me when I read Dinosaur Training the first time and now he continues to motivate and inspire with these great historical novels. I have all three books and I read them again and again. They always fire me up for a session with the Iron and I’m eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series!

  6. Tom Lucas says:

    Not only is Brooks an old school hard core lifter he’s also a very good writer. In the Legacy novels he combines fictional withe non fiction history on the old york gang. If your an old school ,hard core trainer,this is a must read.You’ll also see the way legandary lifters like Grimek and Stanko trained.Every time I read one am emailing Brooks to see when the next one will be out.

  7. Ron Root says:

    Great books describing the strongmen of the past..The addition of other characters makes the books and the era come alive again. If you’re into the old york gang and how they influenced the lifting scene,these books are a must. Great job,Brooks and looking forward to the next edition.

  8. Rob Drucker says:

    Would you like to meet John Grimek, Steve Stanko, Harry Paschall, and other York stars during the heyday of American weightlifting? Well, now you can thanks to the Legacy of Iron series. In this series, Brooks Kubik uses the power of fiction to vividly recreate the world of the York Barbell Club as it was during the Golden Age of Muscle. Kubik’s writing is gripping, convincing, dramatic, informative, adventurous, and entertaining. The Legacy of Iron series will make you feel that you are living in York, Pennsylvania and “hanging out” with some of the most famous strongmen in history. And, what powerful lessons about muscle building you will learn – straight from Bob Hoffman and his mighty barbell men. Simply put, the Legacy of Iron series is the most authentic recreation of America’s weightlifting past ever written. It is a magnificent work, and I highly recommend it.
    Rob Drucker

  9. David Schlehuber says:

    After reading Dinosaur Training I couldn’t wait for the next one that Brooks put out. Then when I found out it was a novel I have to say I was disappointed but had to try it anyway. I now have to admit publicly that I was wrong, Brooks is not only a great example for training he is also a great writer who not only wrote a story which is very entertaining he also managed to weave into it some of the best training advise I have received. I must say without reservation that you are only hurting yourself if you don’t give these a read. Thanks Brooks, I’m anxiously waiting for the next installment. David

  10. Robert Beauchamp says:

    I read Dinosaur Training many years ago and continued to read Broos Kubik’s articles in Hardgainer magazine. I read Legacy of Iron in one sitting, the same holds true for the sequel and the third in the series – much to the exasperation of my wife. Gripping, entertaining yet full of down-to-earth training information and suspense – in short a series of excellently written ‘historical’ novels – surprisingly so for an ‘ironhead’ Bench Press champion, I cannot wait for the next book. Get amongst Brooks’ books and the Dinosaur community.

  11. Derek C says:

    After reading Brooks’s Dinosaur Training I did some pretty insane lifting. After reading his Legacy of Iron series, I doubled it! These books force you to push it to the limit.
    thanks brooks

  12. Leonard I. says:

    I have read all three of the “Legacy of Iron” books. In many ways I enjoyed the first the best, very good creation of the lead characters, and I like the introduction to the men who were a part of the York ‘gang’. So far we have met one woman who was, Gracie, who was Bob Hoffman’s girlfriend.
    This book series tells the story of the York Barbell club, its camaraderie, the power for good and health of ‘iron pills’, and the story of many of the characters. This last book focusses upon Steve Stanko, who has been prominent so far in the series, and the competition he had with John Davis for the 1000 pound total in the three Olympic lifts. They are both central figures in American weightlifting history, Davis having won two Olympic gold medals, and many world championships, and Stanko being world champion, but having his career cut short by phlebitis from an old injury. Too bad, he had more in him to achieve in weightlifting. He should reappear, as after this affliction halted his weightlifting, he turned to bodybuilding.
    As a young man in college I discovered the York magazines, and I soaked in and enjoyed the physical culture that York sought to transmit, values of health and strength, and good nutrition for health for a lifetime. This book series helps to recreate a bit of that atmosphere.
    Thanks Brooks, for the series. Keep going, and do tell more of the stories. Your last newsletter, on Tony Terlazzo, I hope that makes it into the books, and we haven’t seen enough of anyone. When will Abbye Stockton make it in? How about Milo Steinborn, and more of Siegmund Klein? Klein’s training routine, that he advocated, was a little different from what we have seen so far. Have we seen his adage ‘train for shape, and size will follow’? I think this is misunderstood by people. From what I have gained from Klein’s writings, he was for a variety of exercises, to train the body fully, and to achieve a fuller development thusly. Grimek advocates this quite a lot in his replies in letters to the editor.

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