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The Hero: The Enduring Myth That Makes Us Human

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  592 ratings  ·  53 reviews
In his first work of nonfiction, the creator of the multimillion-selling Jack Reacher series explores the endurance of heroes from Achilles to Bond, showing us how this age-old myth is a fundamental part of what makes us human. He demonstrates how hero stories continue to shape our world – arguing that we need them now more than ever.

From the Stone Age to the Greek
Kindle Edition, 96 pages
Published November 26th 2019 by TLS Books
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Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
The hero trap

I am a bit disappointed and dissatisfied with this book. I will be the first to admit I bought this because it was written by Lee Childs. It is probobly my own fault for not finding out what the book was about.

The first half of the book is about the progression of language and creating words. This part of the book feels like Childs is given a topic and he and he let's rip for that chapter. Example the first chapter starts from a poppy to heroine. I still do not understand why this
kartik narayanan
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Hero is a short non-fiction work by Lee Child which ought to have been even shorter.

At the outset, let me say that I would have probably read this book even if it wasn't authored by Lee Child due to its core question - what is a Hero? The icing on the cake is that it is authored by Lee Child whose books I loved.

Unfortunately, this book has few high notes and a lot of rambling around.

He starts with explaining the origin of the word - nothing wrong with that - except that it is boring an
Brandon Forsyth
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I guess I have to read a Jack Reacher now.

This is an eloquent, well-argued treatise that somehow manages to be a big history of the world, a literary examination of storytelling, and an examination of political rhetoric in just 70-odd pages. It’s kind of brilliant.
Alan Teder
Not a Reacher Short Story, more of a quirky History Essay
Review of the Audible Audio audiobook edition (Nov. 26, 2019)

Lee Child eventually gets around to explaining the template for his iconic wandering vigilante character Reacher by tracing the story back to Ovid's Theseus in Metamorphoses and then through to Ian Fleming's James Bond in Doctor No:
A man of rank, a prince, a commander of the royal navy, not exactly cast out but disapproved of and barely tolerated, fights an opponent of a
Pam Bales
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Hero defined

Lee Child? Get it. Interesting read and plausible definition of a hero. You have to be in the mood for information and not pure entertainment, but it is a great read. I "love" anything Robin Hood, and here is a satisfying explanation of various iterations through which one of my favorites characters has evolved. Enjoyed it. When people ask me what I read anymore I tend to tell them I don't read what is supposedly good for me, but what I enjoy, as twisted and weird as it might be.
Dimitris Passas (TapTheLine)
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
"This was a radical mental jump in a completely different direction, never before attempted. This was imagining a parallel or theoretical universe where things could happen based on experience, but not constrained by fact. In other words, they invented fiction". (43%- Kindle edition)

Lee Child is one of the most popular contemporary American crime fiction writers, widely known for his hugely successful Jack Reacher series which were adapted for the big screen, starring Tom Cruise in the
Cathy Hayes
Dec 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
Interesting read and not quite what I thought it would be about. Lee Child discusses the meaning of the word hero through history, but in a very engaging way. I love the way he uses the female line to illustrate his points and I like his clear writing style.

However, this is not so much a book as a long article, so has hardly got started before it is finished!
Jack Hardy
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where do you come from?

This is a book every writer, author or aspiring wordsmith must read. It gives unusual perspective to the choice of words, structure and characters needed to effectively reach an audience.
David Highton
Well written but I did not find this to be an engaging book.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
I should have researched the hero before I bought it. I expected another thriller by lee child. It was not. Loaded with info but 50 pages later I was finished and disappointed I will research next time.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
What the hell is this book?.....

Nothing remotely like his other books but amazon pushed it to me. No jack reacher. A tiny book on etymology? about a heads up before you ask me to buy it.
Robert Bidinotto
Nov 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
I really had looked forward to this book.

Lee Child had been one of my inspirations as a writer. His Jack Reacher character has become a heroic cultural icon, and with good reason. Reacher is extraordinarily tough, resourceful, brilliant, and relentless in his pursuit of vigilante justice for victims of powerful predators. Child's personal example, as an unemployed TV director who turned to writing thrillers in mid-life -- encouraged me (then pushing 60) to finally get around to writing my own
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
There are only two real people in fiction—the storyteller and the listener. The story proceeds based on the teller's aims and the listener's needs. If the listener needs light entertainment, and the teller aims to be loved, then light entertainment is what the listener will get. But if the listener needs reassurance of some kind, or consolation, and the teller aims to better equip her family for future trials, then the story will likely be
Dec 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
This was... disappointing.

Going into it, I knew The Hero was Lee Child's first work of non-fiction, and that it would be a different type of read than his normal work. Having read a couple of the Jack Reacher novels in the past, and having seen both of the Reacher movies, I consider myself to be a fan of all of his work that I've come into contact with.

Except, that is, for this one.

From the description, I had anticipated a well-researched book (which is short, by the way - 91 pages from cover to
Dec 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This short book by Lee Child is more about him than ancient history. He shares interesting if underbaked theories of the origins of human storytelling, leading to defining how he envisions "the hero" in stories that compel readers' attention. Like Jack Reacher, Child's "hero" is something of an outcast, male, not an aristocrat, and suffers much as well as undergoing lonely ordeals and forgoing family happiness to surmount injustice; a hero is human and, in this conception, male. (Although in ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it

Huge Reacher fan, read many of them twice (when I can’t find anything else of interest). Found this to be, well a bit boring. I get the premise, sort of like a college course exploring the underpinnings of literature. It just seemed to be a labor, not a labor of love. Plodding, academic (although there’s nothing wrong with being academic): and, while I finished it, sort of missed the mark. 3 stars (not 2) ‘cause I admire Childs and don’t want him to send Reacher looking for me.
dennis barron
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Hero. Lee Child

The word "hero" can have many different meanings. It can be a type of sandwich. A mythical character who triumphs over adversity. A defender of the people. A soldier, a police officer, in short a protector. The storytellers of old and the newer tellers of stories invent them.A hero can be anyone. An inventor, a doctor. It's up to your imagination or life experiences.
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is an hour long small talk about anthropology, the role of fiction in human evolution and why we make up fictional heroes and like the ones that others make up. It is exactly as advertised. If you're an avid Lee Child reader and if you like watching his talks or seminars, you're already familiar with the style in which The Hero is written. And if you like listening to Lee Child talk, you'll like this book.
Judy Howard
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this work! Extremely thought-out and well-written. I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading, but I found the comments on the beginnings of homo sapiens sapiens and the development of language to be very interesting. Mr. Child tantalizingly describes what is likely to have been the origins of and needs for fiction in the human race, and the various meanings of "hero" throughout the ages. I would love to read more of this type of work from Lee Child. I highly recommend it.
H. Lee
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent and readable review of the history of "the hero" in literature.

Every bit as readable as any Lee Child thriller. A gripping historical trip through the social need for hero stories and the story tellers who gave them to us-and are still giving them. Why we need them and how our nerd forms and changes them. Great fun too. Five stars if it had been longer!
Luke Eadie
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
I love Lee Child's work, specifically "Bad Luck and Trouble". I came into this one really excited, not caring about the $2.99 I was losing. Don't get me wrong, I don't NOT like it, but I expected it to be more about writing and developing heroes, rather than about evolution and different theories regarding it.
Yousuf Rafi
Nov 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am a devotee of Jack Reacher but when I started reading The Hero, it felt like I am reading some other author. Throughout the novel I kept wishing Jack can pop-out and make this novel some better but I guess you don't always get what you wish for.

For Jack Reacher fans please avoid this one. There is nothing for you. A sheer disappointment!!
Dec 12, 2019 rated it liked it
May be the weirdest book I’ve read

This may be the weirdest book I’ve ever read, but I couldn’t put it down. The reason for 3 stars is I still don’t know if I loved it or hated it. I will have to look back 3000 women or so in my past to figure it out I guess.
Nov 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
As much as I love Lee Child and his Reacher books, all I can say is, this was just terrible. I don't know how he could have dreamed that anyone who enjoys his fiction would suffer reading this without complaint. So, that was mine.
Roger D. Robertson
Dec 09, 2019 rated it did not like it

Didn't care for this book at all. It was not interesting to me. I saw no plot that was of any interest. Jess hoping for a book no in line with what he usually wrote waste of my money!!!!!!!!
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not what I expected

I have read everything Lee Child has published. I now have a very different prospective on his Reacher character. Very interesting, and though provoking on his idea of Hero. Not sure I totally agree. Was a good short read
David Patsel
Dec 08, 2019 rated it did not like it

Couldn’t add thru the minutiae, the wordy thoughts. How this ever got above a one star rank is above me. It’s terrible, unless you enjoy reading a boring textbook type of material. Love lee child but "...........
Kathy H
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well done

Lee is one of a small handful of Authors that I buy everything he writes. This non-fiction essay is one of my favorites. Strong voice, a hundred talking points. I didn’t want it to end.
Jerry Drook
Nov 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Eh . . . HighBrow Literary Pondering

Not all that interesting, but maybe I’m not “literary” enough. His premise is valid, but I was bored. Like back in a college seminar about something I’m not really in to
David Richey
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Grandma Reacher

It is interesting to contemplate the people in Reacher's background. To understand how early man survived and encouraged sons and daughters.
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Lee Child was born October 29th, 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theater he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a ...more
“There are only two real people in fiction – the storyteller and the listener” 1 likes
“on the Neanderthals. Then” 0 likes
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