Natural Born Heroes

Natural Born Heroes 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.

Book Reviews

Drey Day 83

Easily Going In My Top 5 Ever5 star

Wow. This is one of the most incredible books I’ve ever read. Part health, part fitness, part adventure, and part history all wrapped up in one book; I’ve never read anything like it! I just can’t get over at how this really happened! The epic story of these people and how they overcame the odds during the war is a true underdog story that should be turned into a movie. Highly recommend this one. I found out about it from Tim Ferris’ book Tools For Titans, when he was interviewing Laird Hamilton. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!55


Wow, just wow!5 star

I rushed into this book after reading three other ultra-athlete type books and I expected this to be much the same (which is what I love). I was initially a little disappointed with the drawn out discussion on the war since I am definitely not a war buff, but then I got it. In learning about the war, I was gaining an appreciation for the super-athletes who had to use mind & body to defeat the enemy. I love all the twists and turns in this book. I came away with so much knowledge of the German invasion of Greece, of the true heart of the Greek people, and also a true appreciation for the level of fitness and heroics involved for those living/fighting on the ground. Keep writing Chris!55


Natural Born Heroes is just superb history5 star

A fascinating story of World War II daring on the island of Crete. A little known story of how a rag tag group of British SOE operatives kidnap a German general and, after an extraordinary journey over the mountainous Cretan countryside, are able to extricate him off the island.55


Amazing5 star

This book has everything, it's a guide for your health and a adventurous recounting that may leave you a bit teary eyed. I can't describe how eye opening yet fulfilling this book is, it moves between times so pleasantly that I had a real sense of nostalgia while reading and simultaneously a yearning to utilize my newly acquired knowledge learned through its pages. I can't recommend this book enough.55

2013 MC

Natural Born Heroes5 star

An outstanding book that is part WWII history and part a book about physicality. It kept me interested from beginning to end. If you liked "Born to Run" you'll like this book as well.55


Right there with born to run if not better5 star

Natural Born Heroes is a must read. If Born to Run moved you to run, Natural Born Heroes will move you to be a better person (and maybe try some Parkour on the side). Even if you don't feel the urge to help a stranger, true to form this book motivates you to get active.55

Other Books by Christopher McDougall

Born to Run


Born to Run
4.5     2866
Running with Sherman


Running with Sherman
4.5     112

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