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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of Born to Run 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 ready to be unleashed in the muscles and minds of casual athletes and aspiring heroes everywhere.

After running an ultramarathon through the Copper Canyons of Mexico, Christopher McDougall finds his next great adventure on the razor-sharp mountains of Crete, where a band of Resistance fighters in World War II plotted the daring abduction of a German general from the heart of the Nazi occupation. How did a penniless artist, a young shepherd, and a playboy poet believe they could carry out such a remarkable feat of strength and endurance, smuggling the general past thousands of Nazi pursuers, with little more than their own wits and courage to guide them?

McDougall makes his way to the island to find the answer and retrace their steps, experiencing firsthand the extreme physical challenges the Resistance fighters and their local allies faced. On Crete, the birthplace of the classical Greek heroism that spawned the likes of Herakles and Odysseus, McDougall discovers the tools of the hero - natural movement, extraordinary endurance, and efficient nutrition. All of these skills, McDougall learns, are still practiced in far-flung pockets throughout the world today.

More than a mystery of remarkable people and cunning schemes, Natural Born Heroes is a fascinating investigation into the lost art of the hero, taking us from the streets of London at midnight to the beaches of Brazil at dawn, from the mountains of Colorado to McDougall's own backyard in Pennsylvania, all places where modern-day athletes are honing ancient skills so they're ready for anything.

Just as Born to Run inspired readers to get off the treadmill, out of their shoes, and into the natural world, Natural Born Heroes will inspire them to leave the gym and take their fitness routine to nature - to climb, swim, skip, throw, and jump their way to their own heroic feats.

©2015 Christopher McDougall (P)2015 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!!

I am a big fan of Born to Run...so I gave this book a shot. It was slow to start, but it ended up drawing me in. I was a little disappointed at the end of the book...but only because it was over. I know I will end up listening to this book again.

If you liked Born to Run....you will like this story as well. It blends great information with even better stories to back it up.

I hope Chris McDougall is researching his next story right now....I am already looking forward to reading/listening to it!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A solid follow-up

Historians and health enthusiasts alike will both enjoy this book, though it takes a little while to get cooking. The story is engaging but the info about natural movement was the most compelling part. There's a little too much back and forth between the two and I never quite got the connection but I'd listen to it again and recommend it to all.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another Great Read from McDougall

This book is a first rate thriller in the McDougall style, centering on a remarkable guerrilla campaign against the Nazis on Crete. As in Born to Run, there are fascinating digressions for biographical sketches and discussions of Greek history, parkour, the power of "fascial snapping," the anthropology of unarmed combat, sports nutrition, and hydration. His discussion of hydration will definitely amaze you, as it runs counter to everything you have heard.

McDougall is a master story teller, and his breadth of knowledge is stunning. Just like Born to Run, this one is very tough to put down.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Lots of good pieces

There was so much great information in this book. The story was told but everything seems a bit scattered. There are many sections and I'll revisit overtime and I hope there's a lot that stays with me. But you've got to be patient with it all the way to the end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Chaos

Some interesting sections and story has potential. But very hard to follow. The story does not have a good flow.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • Lakewood, CO, United States
  • 09-28-15

Missed in so many placed Born To Run was a hit

When I read Born To Run it was inspirational, educational, entertaining, and wove all those elements together beautifully. This isn't that. It's an attempt to re-create that formula verbatim and it fails pretty badly. It's to bad, too, because I agree with a lot of his arguments about changing our diets, the pushing of gatoraide and hydration to the detriment in performance (and even risk to health), and even some of the movement discussions. However, instead of focusing the book on science or finding a more relevant story to tie into, McDougall stretches to make the adventures of the British special forces and Greek resistance fit his research. The result is disjointed, sometimes makes bizarre leaps of logic, and made the book a struggle to read.

I really wanted the book to work and I think the information he presents on the failure of the USDA recommendations for the past 40 years is really important, but the British reader doesn't make sense for the story, the story line doesn't match the research and he's just trying too hard to re-create Born To Run. I can recommend a number of health tips that I pulled from the book, but I can't recommend the book. Go paleo, don't overhydrate and let thirst drive your drinking, and learn to move dynamically in the world and not in a gym. Take those three things away and you've got the gist of it without the hours of suffering through an meaningless story with a bad reader.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Rarely is a book this good

I'm a huge fan of Born to Run and believe this book is as good or better. I learned so many items that history seemingly has forgotten. The exercise/health part of the book is top notch research and interesting. I'm so thankful that Chris wrote it. Lastly, my 13 year old son loved it also.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Angus
  • Port ElizabethSouth Africa
  • 08-10-17

very poor effort


This is not a well written book. effectively some hazy hackneyed theory of "true heroes"  set on the back of an uninteresting ww2 story.  in an effort to make it more marketable there are bits of sports nutrition thrown in combined with unsubstantiated disjointed sports medicine anecdotes.  Basically it is a book without merit

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

fun and full of history

Would you listen to Natural Born Heroes again? Why?

yup and i did!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Natural Born Heroes?

!he phrase when in doubt walk!!!!!!

What does Nicholas Guy Smith bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Accents and dialects

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

yup

Any additional comments?

not really! it was good!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jae
  • U.S.A.
  • 04-22-15

A world-changing adventure story

An excellent sequel to Born to Run though the "natural movement" portion of this book wasn't as fully developed as the "natural running" side of McDougall's first book. As for the narrator, he reads it like he's telling a good story... but in an English accent?! It's an odd choice of reader, and his halfhearted attempts at the accents and languages of the various voices in the book were a shame. Despite this, I really enjoyed the book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful