Natural Born Heroes is the second book penned by Christopher McDougall, the man behind Born to Run, which was a national phenomenon several years ago. I wrote about my love for McDougall’s first book in a post last year, so it was only natural that I would want to try out his next book. This second book is so full of information that I can already tell I am going to have to go back and read it again, just to digest everything.
The subheading of this new book is “How a Daring Band of Misfits Mastered the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance.” The story is largely set on Crete during the second World War. I have very little knowledge of modern history, and I was completely unaware of the Cretan Resistance during the war, so this entire part of the story was completely new to me. Basically, McDougall explores what it was about the Cretan way of life that allowed these relatively untrained individuals to hold off Hitler’s army for so long. As he did in Born to Run, he incorporates a great deal of exercise physiology into the story. Natural Born Heroes explores the practice of natural movement, as well as the Maffetone Method, which focuses on the benefits of training the body to burn fat rather than carbs.
McDougall is a convincing storyteller, and he writes with such detail that I found myself wondering why I had never taken a previous interest in the history of WWII. The characters in his story come to life on the pages, and I found myself wishing I had a chance to meet them in person. The book also inspires an urge to examine your own dietary and training methods, at least it did for me. If you are interested in a compelling story, or a more in-depth exploration into sport science, I highly recommend Natural Born Heroes.