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Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of…
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Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost…

by Christopher McDougall

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Natural Born Heroes is three books in one. The first book tells the story of how the daring resistance movement on Crete kidnapped a German General and then disappeared. The second book is a study of the hero in Greek mythology, suggesting links between the Greek heroes and modern Cretans. The third book is an autobiographical glimpse into McDougall's studies in endurance diets and fitness training.

I picked up Natural Born Heroes on the strength of McDougall's first book, Born to Run. While Born to Run was an inspiring book that actually made me want to run more, his sophomore effort lost me. The World War II story was exciting, but in order to fit the other material in he had to draw it out to an unnatural length. His fascial fitness ideas were exciting, but ended up sounded like fringe science.

While the idea was interesting, the execution left me wishing I could have just read a complete history of the Cretan resistance or a scientific study of endurance training. Both subjects are well worth their own treatment! ( )
  StephenBarkley | Nov 6, 2017 |
2015, Nonfiction ( )
  swampygirl | Nov 4, 2015 |
Okay, I’ve started and deleted this book review several times. Why? Definitely not because I did not like the book … I enjoyed it very much. It’s just that the book is so crammed full of different things I have no idea how to offer a book description.

1. It’s about WWII and how the resistance fighters on Crete foiled Hitler’s attempt to capture the island in “24 hours”.
2. It’s about fitness gurus past and present.
3. It’s about how a rag-tag group of villagers; some British intellectuals and Aussie farm boys bested the Nazi invaders and kidnapped a German general.
4. It’s discusses nutrition idea past and present.
5. It’s about using fascia as opposed to muscle, parkour, martial arts and natural fitness methods.
6. It’s about Lawrence of Arabia, Bruce Lee, Arnaold Schwarzenegger and many other people famous and otherwise.

Intrigued yet?

It sounds like a lot! It is, yet Mr. McDougall makes it work in a well-written, comprehensive and interesting book. Mr. McDougall intersperses the history with examples of ancient and modern fitness techniques and theories that are aimed at the “everyman”. We can all be “heroes”.

In “Born to Run” Mr. McDougall took me to Mexico and introduced me to barefoot runners and ultra-marathoners. In this book he took me to the Greek island of Crete to meet “Natural Born Heroes”. I am not an athlete nor am I a runner so why do I find Mr. McDougall’s books so riveting? He is a natural born storyteller. If you are curious about fitness or if you need a little inspiration this would be great book to pick up. Even if you are not and you just want some interesting history and some background on health, fitness and diet (and the billion dollar industry it has become) it is definitely a very readable and interesting book.
( )
1 vote ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
Excellent blend of history, spy story, mystery, thriller anthropology, physiology. British misfits and Cretan resistance fighters pull off an unprecedented heist: they kidnap a Nazi general out from under the noses of Gestapo, and escape with him across unforgiving terrain. ( )
  DavidO1103 | Jul 11, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307594963, Hardcover)

Author of the phenomenal national best seller, Born to Run, Christopher McDougall now travels to the Mediterranean where he discovers that the secrets of ancient Greek heroes are still alive and well on the island of Crete and in the muscles and minds of fitness enthusiasts everywhere.

While researching Born to Run, Chris McDougall encountered the story of Pheidippides, the legendary ancient Greek "all-day runner." Later, when McDougall met a dedicated amateur historian, he saw a connection to one of the most fascinating mysteries of World War II: How did a small band of Resistance fighters surrounded by German troops kidnap a top German general? What he discovered is that ancestral techniques for extraordinary endurance, natural movement, and nutrition allowed ancient Greek soldiers and Cretan shepherds to race across mountains on all-night missions. Inspired by their heroic acts, McDougall sets off to discover the lost art of the hero, both throughout history and across the world. Just as Born to Runinspired casual runners to get off the treadmill, out of their shoes, and into nature, Natural-Born Heroes will inspire casual athletes to leave the gym and take their fitness to nature doing cross-training, mud runs, parkour and free-running to bound--and climb, swim, skip, wade, and jump--their way to heroic feats.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:46 -0400)

"Author of the phenomenal national best seller, Born to Run, Christopher McDougall now travels to the Mediterranean where he discovers that the secrets of ancient Greek heroes are still alive and well on the island of Crete and in the muscles and minds of fitness enthusiasts everywhere. While researching Born to Run, Chris McDougall encountered the story of Pheidippides, the legendary ancient Greek 'all-day runner.' Later, when McDougall met a dedicated amateur historian, he saw a connection to one of the most fascinating mysteries of World War II: How did a small band of Resistance fighters surrounded by German troops kidnap a top German general? What he discovered is that ancestral techniques for extraordinary endurance, natural movement, and nutrition allowed ancient Greek soldiers and Cretan shepherds to race across mountains on all-night missions. Inspired by their heroic acts, McDougall sets off to discover the lost art of the hero, both throughout history and across the world. Just as Born to Run inspired casual runners to get off the treadmill, out of their shoes, and into nature, Natural-Born Heroes will inspire casual athletes to leave the gym and take their fitness to nature doing cross-training, mud runs, parkour and free-running to bound--and climb, swim, skip, wade, and jump--their way to heroic feats"--… (more)

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