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Extended Audio Sample Natural Born Heroes: How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance, by Christopher McDougall Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Christopher McDougall Narrator: Nicholas Guy Smith Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2015 ISBN: 9780804194150
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The bestselling 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Traces the grueling routes taken the Crete Resistance fighters and British special-services officers who kidnapped German General Heinrich Kreipe and then skillfully outraced thousands of Nazi pursuers…Captures the bravery, endurance, and tenacity of these true heroes.”

    Barnes&Noble.com, editorial review

  • “In the thoroughly absorbing Natural Born Heroes…McDougall makes it clear that incredible acts of strength and endurance are doable…McDougall seeks to understand how they did what they did—and how heroes are made. That takes him, and us, on a wild ride…McDougall [is] uniquely able to weave all these threads into a riveting narrative.”.”


  • “McDougall travels to the Greek island of Crete to serve up a mixture of mythic heroics and still-applicable fitness techniques….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.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Investigat[es] the long-standing techniques for endurance, natural movement, and nutrition that allowed Greek soldiers of yore to run all night through the mountains. Even if you’re not planning to run all night, these techniques could do a lot for you.”

    Library Journal

  • “A book beyond category…Using examples and anecdotes spanning decades, the author shows how ordinary people can display extraordinary heroism, a quality not limited by age or gender. He suggests that in ‘natural training,’ a sense of play trumps the rigors of working out…[An] engaging mix of World War II history, Greek mythology, endurance training, and spiritual self-help.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A BookPage Top Pick in Nonfiction for April 2015
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