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Posted on Feb 8, 2004 in History News

A Fitness Publisher Turns to Warfare

Editorial Staff

February 2, 2004

A Fitness Publisher Turns to Warfare

By DAVID CARR (The New York Times)

Eric Weider, a member of the Weider family famous for publishing fitness magazines, is flexing new muscles this week. His venture, Armchair General, which puts readers in the middle of military battles – some old, some not so old – will begin publishing this week, bristling with tanks, generals and all kinds of small armaments.

With an initial distribution of 95,000, Armchair General uses columns like “You Command” to put readers in the driver’s seat, second-guessing decisions in major historical battles. The inaugural issue includes some recent history, like a photographic feature on “The Battle for Uday and Qusay.”

“The perception of military history is that it is a bunch of old guys in recliners,” Mr. Weider said. “What I tried to do was come up with something that is attractive and contemporary that will engage all kinds of readers, no matter what their ages.”

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Mr. Weider, who was chairman of Weider Publications in 2002 when the family sold it to American Media Inc., says he has been interested in military history since he was a teenager. “My research suggests that there are 10 million military history buffs out there, and that’s a pretty large audience,” he said.

The magazine is designed to interact with readers, sending them to different pages based on their military decisions, or asking for mailed solutions to knotty military problems.

“I would like to reach teens who think that they can blow off history because it’s just a bunch of memorization,” he said. “This magazine tells them the kinds of stories they will remember.”

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