E. Lawrence Levy and Muscular Judaism, 1851-1932: Sport, Culture, and Assimilation in 19th-Century Britain

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An informative editing of Edward Lawrence Levy’s (1851-1932) historical autobiography providing fascinating insight into this remarkable man. Levy is best known as a “strongman” who won amateur weightlifting championships in both British and international competitions. He was a judge at the 1896 Olympics in Athens and helped organize the gymnastics section of the 1908 Olympics in London. Levy also was a headmaster of a predominantly Jewish school in Birmingham, edited a weekly newspaper for a brewers’ society, organized entertainments at the Midland Conservative Club, and wrote prolifically for newspapers on sport, theater, and music.


“The style and tone of the book are as interesting as the content. Levy’s assertive, ambitious, talkative and sociable personality, effervesces throughout the pages. David Fahey’s scholarly and informative editing of E. Lawrence Levy’s Autobiography, has provided a great service to historians of many different kinds.”
-Malcolm Dick,
Director of the Centre for West Midlands History,
University of Birmingham

“Lawrence Levy played a critical role as a newspaper editor, political agent, public speaker and political organizer, who tirelessly promoted unity between brewers and retailers throughout the midlands from 1890’s and for decades thereafter. As editor of the licensed Trade News, he occupied a pivotal position from which to protect the brewing industry.”
-Professor David W. Gutzke,
History Department,
Missouri State University

“reads extremely well … brilliant piece of contextualization…a very interesting figure.”
-Dr. David Dee,
School of Humanities,
De Montfort University, Leicester, England

“Strength can be measured in many ways, and Levy was a strongman in an amazing variety of realms, both physical and moral. Fahey has revealed a wonderful character in Levy, and it is a biography filled with exceedingly well-researched discoveries and insights.”
-David L. Chapman,
Author and Strongman Historian

Table of Contents

Foreword by Malcolm Dick
Preface E. Lawrence Levy
Autobiography of an Athlete
1. Early Days
2. Club Life: Political, Literary and Dramatic
3. The Athletic Life
4. Cricket, Football, Boxing, etc.
5. Some Athletes, Strong men, and Others
6. The Amateur Athletic Association, the Amateur Gymnastic Association, etc.
7. The Olympic Games in Athens, 1896; Continental Gymnastics, etc.
8. The Olympic games, London, 1908
9. Music and the Drama
10. Journalism and Literature
11. Freemasonry
Appendix I, Chat of the Clubs. Reprinted from the Birmingham Daily Times, 1886.
Chat from the Conservative Clubs
Appendix II: Cyclops v. Me, at the Birmingham Athletic Club, Jan. 29th, 1889 (1890). Press Notices
Appendix III, How I Won the Amateur Heavy Weight Lifting Championship of England, Saturday, Jan 24th, 1891, Café Monico, Piccadilly, London
Appendix IV, How I Won the International Amateur Weight Lifting Championship, and Broke World’s Amateur Records, March 28th and 30th, International Hall, Café Monico, London
Appendix V, At Northampton, November, 1892. Northampton Town and Country Amateur Athletic Club, Annual Gymnastic Display. The Record Beaten for Heavy-Weight Lifting
Appendix VI, Football Specials, Reprinted from the Birmingham Daily Times
Appendix VII, The Olympic Games, Athens, 1896
Appendix VIII, The Fire at the Brussels Exhibition
List of Subscribers
Editor’s bio-bibliography

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