Steven Pressfield: The Gates of Fire
Pressfield's first novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was about golf, but here he puts aside his putter and picks up sword and shield as he cleverly and convincingly portrays the clash between Greek hoplites and Persian heavy infantry in the most heroic confrontation of the Hellenic Age: the battle of Thermopylae ('the Hot Gates') in 480 B.C. The terrifying spectacle of classical infantry battle becomes vividly clear in his epic treatment of the Greeks' magnificent last stand against the invading Persians. Driven to understand the courage and sacrifice of his Greek foes, the Persian king, Xerxes, compels Xeones, a captured Greek slave, to explain why the Greeks would give their lives to fight against overwhelming odds. Xeones' tale covers his years of training and adventure as the loyal and devoted servant of Dienekes, a noble Spartan soldier, and he describes the six-day ordeal during which a few hundred Greeks held off thousands of Persian spears and arrows, until a Greek traitor led the Persians to an alternate route. Rich with historical detail, hot action and crafty storytelling, Pressfield's riveting story reveals the social and political framework of Spartan life ending with the hysteria and brutality of the spear-thrusting, shield-bashing clamor that defined a Spartan's relationship with his family, community, country and fellow warriors. Film rights were sold to Universal Studios for George Clooney and Robert Lawrence's Maysville Pictures but ultimately Pressfield story lost to Frank Miller’s storyboarded comic book version of the epic battle.
The Afghan Campaign
In words that might have been ripped from today's combat dispatches, Steven Pressfield, the best-selling novelist of ancient warfare, returns with a riveting historical novel that re-creates Alexander the Great's invasion of the Afghan kingdoms in 330 b.c., a campaign that eerily foreshadows the tactics, terrors, and frustrations of contemporary conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Narrated by Matthias, a young infantryman in Alexander's army, The Afghan Campaign explores the challenges, both military and moral, that Alexander and his soldiers face as they embark on a new type of war and are forced to adapt to the methods of a ruthless foe that employs terror and insurgent tactics, conceals itself among the civilian populace, and recruits women and boys as combatants. Matthias joins Alexander's army after it has conquered the Persian empire and is advancing east into Afghanistan on its way to the riches of India. Part of a unit that includes recruits his own age as well as veterans, Matthias chronicles his rapid coming-of-age as a soldier as he enacts Alexander's scorch-and-burn strategies, experiences the joys and sorrows of a romance with an Afghan girl, and faces the barbarism of the Afghans, his fellow soldiers, and ultimately himself. As Matthias relates the brutal day-to-day encounters between the two sides, he exposes the human cost borne by a company of men whose code is humanist and secular when they seek to impose their will on a people of deep religiosity, insularity, unbending pride, and a passionate readiness to die for their cause.
An edge-of-your-seat adventure that brings to life the confrontation between an invading Western army and fierce Eastern warriors determined at all costs to defend their homeland, The Afghan Campaign once again demonstrates Steven Pressfield's profound understanding of the hopes and desperation of men in battle and of the historical realities that continue to influence our world.
Alexander: The Virtues of War
Alexander the Great (356-332 B.C.) ascended to the throne of Macedon at the age of only 19. He fought his greatest battles — including the conquest of the mighty Persian Empire — before he was 25. He died at the age of 33, undefeated by any enemy. His reputation as a supreme warrior and leader of men is unsurpassed in the annals of history.
Narrated in the brilliantly imagined first-person voice of Alexander himself, Steven Pressfield's new novel brings to life the epic battles, the unerring command of his forces, and the passions and ambitions that drove arguably the greatest commander the world has ever known and paints a full-blooded, multi-dimensional portrait of this complex character. Alexander was a fearless commander who moved with such daring and speed that no army could withstand him; a driven leader whose ambitions knew no limits; and a man with boundless compassion for his troops, deep friendships with his generals, and profound respect for his enemies. Yet in the end, his noble qualities were subsumed by his insatiable lust for glory.
No one evokes the ancient battlefield as brilliantly as Pressfield and in ALEXANDER: THE VIRTUES OF WAR, he vividly describes the seminal confrontations of Alexander’s career, the tactics and the blood, heat, and terror of man-to-man combat in the ancient world. He follows Alexander’s forces as they faced and defeated armies that far outnumbered them - from a thrilling frontline