Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, That here, obedient to their laws, we lie. Nearly 2,500 years ago, in 480BC, at a bleak pass in a far-flung corner of eastern Greece, three hundred Spartan warriors faced the army of Xerxes of Persia, a massive force rumoured to be over a million strong. Their orders were simple: to delay the enemy for as ...
Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, That here, obedient to their laws, we lie. Nearly 2,500 years ago, in 480BC, at a bleak pass in a far-flung corner of eastern Greece, three hundred Spartan warriors faced the army of Xerxes of Persia, a massive force rumoured to be over a million strong. Their orders were simple: to delay the enemy for as long as possible while the main Greek armies mobilized. For six days the Spartans held the invaders at bay. In the final hours - their shields broken, swords and spears shattered - they fought with their bare hands before being overwhelmed. It was battle that would become synonymous with extraordinary courage, heroism and self-sacrifice: it was Thermopylae. In Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield tells the epic story of those legendary Spartans: the men and women who helped shaped our history and have themselves become as immortal as their gods.
I enjoyed this book, It was a little hard following all the charactoers, But it seem to get better as you got further into it.
Sep 30, 2009
Live thru the great feat with a great description
Great book, have read a couple from this time but this one stands out with a great narrative, based on the facts, the characters come alive, and the storyteller wraps you with great ability, if you are looking just for facts search somewhere else, this is a great story based on the historical facts, but not a scientific book
Sep 13, 2007
Living the History
I would recommend all of Pressfield's historical fiction books. My son attending college is taking Greek History and Philosophy and we discussed Thucidides' History of the Peloponnesian War which I read over 30 years ago. He bought this book for me for Christmas and I have read all three of his Greek and Macedonian novels. Magnificent, and the artifices Pressfield uses to tell the story are noticeable but acceptable and effective. Great read!
Jun 11, 2007
Amazing re-telling of the famous battle & more!
The main theme of this book was indeed the famous Battle of Thermopylae, where about 4,000 Greeks, led by the 300 Spartans and their King Leonidas, held out a force of the Persian warriors about 5 times their numbers.
However, Mr. Pressfield push the story wider to tell about the legendary Spartan way of life and their attitude towards military lifestyle. He chose a remarkable character, a stateless/cityless young man who chose to move to Sparta because he was impressed by the Spartans' military & physical prowess. The urge to emulate the Spartans came mainly from his bitter experiences after the enemies ravaged his city-state and drove him (along with his pretty cousin and crippled tutor/slave) from his home.
Mr. Pressfield cleverly weave the story to bring us closer to the Greek society of that time, in particular the Spartans. The battle scenes were evocative and quite detailed, while the background story which took place in the Spartan home country provide us with a descriptive and informative views on the Spartan philosophy, way of life and history.
Mr. Pressfield was quite balanced in depicting both the Greeks and the Persians. He presented the Persians (the antagonists of the story) as remarkable and honorable warriors, and Xerxes I as a good military commander, and not a bloodthirsty monster.
Overall, this is an entertaining and informative book, a good balance especially for you who first hear about the Battle of Thermopylae from the movie or comics 300!
May 11, 2007
Pressfield presents the story of the Battle of Thermopylae, in which a small contingent of Spartans and their few allies made a brave, desperate stand against a huge force led by the conquering Persians. I love history but you don?t have to love history to love this book ? it?s as much about life, and people, as it is about war. Each character is as important as the battle (and man, does Pressfield put you right in the scene ? you?ll feel like showering after his nitty gritty presentation of each skirmish). The book touches upon all the important stuff of life: friendship, love, and the question of what?s worth fighting for. Pressfield respectfully acknowledges a debt to Mary Renault, and while it would be hard to find any author with her towering talent, I believe Ms. Renault would?ve enjoyed this book tremendously.
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