Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance

Christopher McDougall. Knopf, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-307-59496-9
Journalist McDougall (Born to Run) travels to the Greek island of Crete to serve up a mixture of mythic heroics and still-applicable fitness techniques. There, with amateur historian Chris White's help, he explores how, in 1944, Greek partisans and British commandos abducted Nazi Gen. Heinrich Kreipe. Further delving into the Greek resistance, McDougall offers astonishing stories about shepherds turned partisans, George "the Clown" Psychoundakis, known to run over 50 miles nightly with a 60-pound pack on his back and on a diet of nothing but boiled hay, and Costi Paterakis, who ran cross-country to shoot, from a quarter mile away, a German commander about to order a massacre. He also documents contemporary heroes like the Pennsylvania elementary school principal who singlehandedly saved her school from a machete-wielding stranger. Throughout, McDougall pauses to consider what exactly makes a hero a hero, examining history, anatomy, physiology, and fitness. This book reads as a page-turning historical account, with fitness techniques and instruction embedded throughout. Readers, regardless of their fitness levels, should come to the end feeling both inspired and a little bit winded. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/2015
Release date: 04/14/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 11 pages - 978-0-8041-9414-3
Ebook - 488 pages - 978-1-84765-933-0
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-307-74222-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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