The Strongest Men on Earth

Words by:
Yusef Sayed
Featured in:
December 2012

The Strongest Men on Earth by Graeme Kent
Published by The Robson Press, £20
Boston based author, Graeme Kent shines the spotlight on the muscle men who once entertained the masses, on stage in music halls and elsewhere prior to the beginning of the First World War. Garnering applause and adulation for their mind-boggling feats of strength, the strongmen and women were media sensations and many were welcomed in every strata of society. Already the author of several acclaimed titles, Kent here brings his passion for sport to bear on a peculiar and colourful subject and provides a valuable insight into a somewhat overlooked area of our social and entertainment history. There’s the ‘body beautiful’ of Eugen Sandow, whose postcard sold in the tens of thousands, the ‘Russian Lion’, Georg Hackenschmidt who was a friend of writer George Bernard Shaw, and all manner of rivalries and scams that will have readers engrossed.


This year, attention has been turned to the significance of Bomber Command’s role in the Second World War, with a memorial unveiled by the Queen this summer. In keeping with this mood of reflection and remembrance, aviation enthusiasts are sure to enjoy this compelling account of the brave RAF Pathfinder Squadrons and their key role in Bomber Command’s operations against the Third Reich. Richly illustrated and printed in an easily readable large text, the book is nevertheless dense with detail – names, numbers and ranks; technical and tactical specifics – which may even seem a little daunting to the casual reader. But the clear layout and short sections will no doubt keep anyone interested in these important operations turning the page.


Fours years ago, the Kirton-in-Lindsey Society published an oral history book, ‘Sticking the Pig’. The success of that book prompted this follow-up, which aims to capture the memories, experiences and individuality of the residents of this small north Lincolnshire town. The book contains interviews with fifteen local people, all aged sixty years or older, who recount years spent supporting the war effort, local business life and their own social activities. Standalone articles add valuable detail to the town’s history, from rationing and clothing to a long gone cinema and the post office. Possibly of interest to those with a general interest in social history, the book will appeal mainly to locals. An accompanying CD of the recorded interviews offers the chance to hear these reminiscences being shared.

With Christmas on the way, bookworms will no doubt be looking forward to snuggling up in the warm, taking their minds off the frantic preparations for a while and enjoying a good read.

Many fascinating, informative and personal books have been added to the Lincolnshire Life Bookshelf this year, and many of the titles we have reviewed are available from our online shop at – so, if you’re looking for an interesting gift this month, you’re sure to be inspired by our selection. We look forward to seeing what our local authors will surprise us with next year, as the creativity and history of our beloved county continue to be brought to light.

There will be many readers eager to crack open Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’, still the most popular festive read, in order to get into the spirit of Christmas. And there is no better time to re-read, or to follow Ebenezer Scrooge’s story for the first time, since 2012 marks the bicentenary of the author’s birth. But the book is just one of many Christmas tales that Dickens penned. Those looking for something different might wish to try ‘The Cricket on the Hearth’, or ‘The Chimes.’

Tech-savvy readers across the county may well be unwrapping an eBook reader on Christmas Day this year. If you are a passionate reader, but already have stuffed shelves and precarious stacks of books lying around the house, the benefits are obvious. For those who are happy to give up the weighty hardbacks and well-cracked spines, some Lincolnshire authors are embracing the trend for eBooks.

Lindum Scribes have recently published ‘The Lincolnshire Tales’ for Amazon Kindle. The writing group first published the title in 2006, selling out the first run. Now available for download, it contains contributions from all members of the group with themes of love, intrigue and murder.

Local writer Milly Reynolds’s detective fiction has been greeted warmly by crime writing aficionados. Her Mike Malone series is set in Lincolnshire and mixes the rural murder mystery style of Morse and Midsomer with a winning humour. So if the thought of another Jo Nesbo thriller gives you too much of a chill this season…

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