The sub-title for the book is “A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” and like the sub-title, this book goes on and on and on. Not that I didn't love it; it was an intriguing and meandering way to talk all about running. Not only did the book cover the modern American running craze and elite ultra-runners of the world, but also crammed in a lot of running science and facts as well as a the whole book being a build up to the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.
I honestly have to admit I learned so much about my own body, the human body and how we are made to run and I am excited to start putting many of the things I learned into practice. As I read it I wanted to loosen my shoes and take off for as long as I could. And I knew why I've always preferred to run in wide, lose-fitting shoes, and maybe now I won't question the barefoot runners quite so much. I appreciated how the story-like style of the book helped the medical and scientific and evolutionary facts not seem so daunting. I also appreciated how McDougall neither preached evolution or a spiritual viewpoint but kept the information presented respectful to people from either camp.
There were a few places in the book where I lost focus on what the point was. It was easy to forget it was a book on running because of the way he weaved the story of the race through it but then it would phase back into science and facts and throw me off. I am primarily an audio reader and I'm glad for that with this book. I'm not sure, had I sat down to read it, that I could have finished it because of the way flow was broken up between the story and the science. And I did feel slightly preached at about running barefoot and the evil running shoe empire.
All in all, I feel like I learned more in this book than I could have in a hundred articles and I also learned about some pretty amazing and eccentric world-class ultra-runners. And I want to run! So off I go for a light and easy run with my son! Just in case you're interested the Harvard University has some interesting Barefoot science FAQs: http://www.barefootrunning.fas.harvard.edu/6FAQ.html