MacDougall provides a wide range of information about ultra marathoning and the tribe of "running savants" in Mexico. The author tries a little too hard to make a good story of what is sometimes just good information, and does some "over-writing" in the process.
I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone who is a runner. It's not only one of the better books I've read over the last five years -- it will make you want to immediately run a marathon.
I read this book and really thought I could walk out my door and run for 12 hours straight. I loved it. I always wondered if shoes really made much of a difference. They actually make things worse. Your foot has evolved to take the shock of your foot hitting the ground and if you put on an expensive shoe with good "support" it transfers all of that shock up to your hips and knees. I went out and bought some barefoot running shoes almost immediately after reading the book. I have the Disney Half marathon coming up in September. This book really motivates you.
Unexpected point of view and good sense of humor. Some mistakes like fever in giardia - it is simply incorrect. Some chapters are slightly cheesy with quite good dollop of exageration. But in general it was true fun to read. I am glad that I have chosen this book.
The last thing you want to do with an awe-inspiring story of incredible endurance is to drown it in a sea of exaggeration. Mr. McDougall uses so much cliche and hyperbole that by the time the actual facts unfold you are too weary to fully appreciate them and they no longer stand in contrast to anything else that was written. Combine this with unnecessary salacious details and gratuitous obscenity and it becomes obvious that Mr. McDougall is mentally stuck writing for the eighteen year old consumer of Men's Health magazine and not the larger public audience that this book could have reached.
I listened to this book while running instead of music. It was great! It inspired me to run more thoughtfully. Not only did I enjoy the story, I learned a lot about improving my own running. Great book. I've been recommending it to all my friends, runners or not.