Natural Born Heroes

Natural Born Heroes

How A Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance

Book - 2015
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The author of the best-selling Born to Run describes his investigation into ancestral training techniques that have enabled Mediterranean athletes to achieve extraordinary levels of strength and fitness.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780307594969
Branch Call Number: 940.54 Mc
Characteristics: 337 pages : map ; 25 cm


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Jan 12, 2018

I really wanted to fling handfuls of stars on this title when I heard Patrick Leigh Fermor was in it. Fermor's walking to Constantinople from the Bight of Holland was recounted in three books, with the first, "A Time of Gifts", being my favorite. McDougall recounts a later adventure of Fermor: kidnapping a German General in Crete with a band of Cretan "bandits" and shipping him to Cairo during the Second World War. McDougall also includes archaeology, Greek mythology, the nature of the hero, Parkour, and nutrition. Which was why I took away one star: no index. This many topics, one needs an index. I also have a grouse about the single map; I think the reader deserves a better map(s) including Fermor's route to the coast. On the bright side, it has a decent bibliography. I was disappointed to see the absence of Patience Gray's "Honey From a Weed" in the books cited for nutritional information.
Old reference librarian grumbles notwithstanding, I did find the story interesting and enjoyed my visit to Crete.

Jan 03, 2017

Just read the author's other book "Born to Run" on the Tarahumara Indian runners. It was so good, felt I should REVISIT this newer book that I found too difficult to follow before. But a few chapters later, found myself began to skip pages, then chapters and gave up altogether again. Hope he would get his brain trust from "Born to Run" to rewrite and release this book in a new edition. The ultra distance running Cretan Greek resistance fighters, the British commandos in WW II and other featured characters (one-eyed archaeologist, penniless artist, wandering playboy-poet, "The Clown," "Wind Boys," "Scuttle George" ... ) make a compelling and interesting story.

Nov 17, 2016

If you want an example of how to use a lot of words while saying very little you may find this book an interesting read. I can't help but feel that this author's motivation was to sell a book, not tell a story.

Mar 29, 2016

March 29 2016...After reading the comments below, I thought I might add my own......My husband and I listened to the audio book, and we enjoyed it, however, neither of us really knew what it was about. (We listen while in bed, and sometimes don't catch the whole story!) I would fall asleep listening to a story about a Crete island, and wake up to a story about marathon running and nutrition, both very interesting, but seemingly unrelated! I would suggest getting the audio and just listening in small doses. It's really an interesting book, but I can see how it would be frustrating to read!......I might add that it has inspired me to cut down on my pop drinking, and my intake of yummy breads and donuts. (I'm a hopeless addict.) That's worth anything. I'll come back in a year and let you know how that goes!......April 21, I have checked out the actual book, and have been reading it in small doses. I look forward to reading more, and I'm finding it very interesting. As I am a chubby middle aged woman, I like the parts where the old skinny guy throws the large muscular fellow across the room, and while in a choke hold with a gun to his back proceeds to disarm the fellow in seconds. Hmm, maybe with a little training I won't feel so helpless anymore!......ah, I just read the review below on Amazon, guess I'll go back to feeling helpless, eat some donuts, and walk more!.....April 26, ok, I'm starting to find it hard to follow, will keep plugging.....May 13, this has gotten lost in the pile for a while......I'll send it back and get it again another time. I'm going to start to read some of my books on my shelves in the basement, so that I can make a little room! I went browsing down there and found some exciting looking things that are crying out to me.......and the weather has been good, so I have pumped up my tires and have been going for a few bike rides.....and eating a few donuts!

Feb 11, 2016

My advice: avoid reading this book. I read 'Born to Run' but couldn't get through 'Natural Born Heroes'. It's a collection poorly structured, rambling musings. No scholarship; a lot of magical thinking.

Sep 21, 2015

McDougall himself raises the question of how two seemingly unrelated topics,how Cretans saved their island from the Nazis, and how we have lost our resilient rebound in our search for physical 'fitness' which appears to be about the specializing and superficial appearance of good health. He pulls it off, although, keeping his cast of characters in order can be a conundrum. Still, all in all, he has a wry sense of humor and his self deprecation is charming.

LRS1969 Jun 13, 2015

Just read this review... it says it all (well, actually, like this review says, this is only the tip of the iceberg - the book is MUCH worse!)

May 15, 2015

I loved Born To Run and was excited to read this, but I found this book extremely tedious. I'm glad I didn't rush out and buy it.

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May 01, 2018

Sam_Stewart thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over


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May 01, 2018

“Solvitur ambulando: “When in doubt, walk.”


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