Amazing re-telling of the famous battle & more! Jun 11, 2007
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!