Les Rois de la Force (The Kings of Strength), written by French physical culturist and magazine publisher Edmond Desbonnet, is regarded by sports historians and private collectors as one most significant books ever published on the history of the Iron Game. Although not yet published in an English translation, what makes the book so valuable is Desbonnet’s personal observations on seeing many of the strongmen and strongwomen perform who are chronicled in the book and the more than 700 rare and often very early drawings and photographs of these early performers. Relatively few copies of the book still exist and so we decided to digitize our copy from The Collection of Ottley Coulter and make it into a flipping book so others can also see Desbonnet’s encyclopedic history of these early performers.
Poly-linguist and author of Sandow the Magnificent David Chapman translated several sections from Le Rois de la Force for Iron Game History. His translation of Desbonnet’s biography of the French strongman Apollon and its introduction can be found in Iron Game History Volume 4, Issue 5 & 6 edition from August 1997. His translation of Hippolyte Triat’s biography can be found in Iron Game History as two parts: Part One: Volume 4 Issues 1 from July 1995 and Part Two: Volume 4 Issue 4 from September 1996.