The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great

The Virtues of War A Novel of Alexander the Great I have always been a soldier I have known no other life So begins Alexander s extraordinary confession on the eve of his greatest crisis of leadership By turns heroic and calculating compassionate an

I have always been a soldier I have known no other life So begins Alexander s extraordinary confession on the eve of his greatest crisis of leadership By turns heroic and calculating, compassionate and utterly merciless, Alexander recounts with a warrior s unflinching eye for detail the blood, the terror, and the tactics of his greatest battlefield victories Whether suI have always been a soldier I have known no other life So begins Alexander s extraordinary confession on the eve of his greatest crisis of leadership By turns heroic and calculating, compassionate and utterly merciless, Alexander recounts with a warrior s unflinching eye for detail the blood, the terror, and the tactics of his greatest battlefield victories Whether surviving his father s brutal assassination, presiding over a massacre, or weeping at the death of a beloved comrade in arms, Alexander never denies the hard realities of the code by which he lives the virtues of war But as much as he was feared by his enemies, he was loved and revered by his friends, his generals, and the men who followed him into battle Often outnumbered, never outfought, Alexander conquered every enemy the world stood against him but the one he never saw coming

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The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great

  1. I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943 to a Navy father and mother I graduated from Duke University in 1965 In January of 1966, when I was on the bus leaving Parris Island as a freshly minted Marine, I looked back and thought there was at least one good thing about this departure No matter what happens to me for the rest of my life, no one can ever send me back to this freakin place again Forty years later, to my surprise and gratification, I am far closely bound to the young men of the Marine Corps and to all other dirt eating, ground pounding outfits than I could ever have imagined GATES OF FIRE is one reason Dog eared paperbacks of this tale of the ancient Spartans have circulated throughout platoons of U.S troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since the first days of the invasions E mails come in by hundreds GATES OF FIRE is on the Commandant of the Marine Corps Reading list It is taught at West Point and Annapolis and at the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico TIDES OF WAR is on the curriculum of the Naval War College.From 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, which calls itself the Spartans, to ODA 316 of the Special Forces, whose forearms are tattooed with the lambda of Lakedaemon, today s young warriors find a bond to their ancient precursors in the historical narratives of these novels My struggles to earn a living as a writer it took seventeen years to get the first paycheck are detailed in my 2002 book, THE WAR OF ART I have worked as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout and attendant in a mental hospital I have picked fruit in Washington state and written screenplays in Tinseltown With the publication of THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE in 1995, I became a writer of books once and for all My writing philosophy is, not surprisingly, a kind of warrior code internal rather than external in which the enemy is identified as those forms of self sabotage that I have labeled Resistance with a capital R in THE WAR OF ART and the technique for combatting these foes can be described as turning pro I believe in previous lives I believe in the Muse I believe that books and music exist before they are written and that they are propelled into material being by their own imperative to be born, via the offices of those willing servants of discipline, imagination and inspiration, whom we call artists My conception of the artist s role is a combination of reverence for the unknowable nature of where it all comes from and a no nonsense, blue collar demystification of the process by which this mystery is approached In other words, a paradox There s a recurring character in my books named Telamon, a mercenary of ancient days Telamon doesn t say much He rarely gets hurt or wounded And he never seems to age His view of the profession of arms is a lot like my conception of art and the artist It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior s life.

751 Reply to “The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great”

  1. Steven Pressfield does it again with this haunting tale of Alexander the Great I believe this book was released the same year as the Alexander movie starring Collin Farrell, and fans of the movie would probably enjoy this book as well Both painted a vivid picture of Alexander s life through a brilliant narrative Some of the battle sequences were written as if Pressfield was sitting astride his own mount on the periphery of the battlefield Spectacular technical description was combined flawlessly [...]

  2. The novel was fairly interesting, but far from Pressfield s best I thought he reached his apogee with Gates of Fire or possibly Afghan Campaign This story begins with Alexander s men wishing to turn back from India and go home they feel they ve fought and died far enough from home for long enough Alexander s in his tent with Itanes, his young brother in law, and wants someone to talk to who can listen without judgment and keep his mouth shut is my role to instruct you in the art of war He then d [...]

  3. Virtues of War is what its title suggests, a treatise on the personality characteristics and decision making process of great warriors It is, in the guise of narrative fiction, an instruction manual for leaders of troops, and is incredibly effective at what it does I only wish I had read it before assuming my first command Pressfield is a singular writer, and this is on offer in his ability to make Alexander, a historical figure so remote as to be deified, a sympathetic character who resonates w [...]

  4. I actually liked this one than I thought I would I started reading it coming off the back of having read Mary Renault s excellent Alexander trilogy not long before, which, for me, is the definitive Alexander fiction, and I went into this book feeling dubious as to whether it could compare It couldn t, but it wasn t all that bad I certainly enjoyed it than I did Steven Pressfield s Last of the s, which was confusing, anachronistic, and had huge plotholes The voice of Alexander is the crucial fa [...]

  5. This my second Pressfield novel and is one of those books that inspired a lot of mixed feelings in me I originally rated it four stars but I think I have to ultimately give it three What it does, it does excellently, but what it lacks is totally nonexistent While it does have a ton of fascinating information on Alexander s military and how he carved such a massive empire in a relatively short time without losing a single battle, it s almost impossible to engage on a personal level, which I reall [...]

  6. I am the living soul of the army As blood flows from the lion s heart to its limbs, so courage flows from me to my countrymen A million mend stand in arms against us I will rout them by my will alone That line absolutely captures the feeling of Alexander in this novel Even though this work was not a good as Gates of Fire it is still and outstanding work Reading it alongside another authors rendition of Alexander, this work breathes fire Pressfield has an absolute masculine energy that is enthral [...]

  7. An imagination of dazzling and epic scope.With Steven Pressfield on the cover, it took less than a heartbeat for me to grab this book after Gates of Fire, I was than eager to be caught up again in the author s enthralling prose of storytelling.Even with the author s Note on the Reader expressly stating this as a work of fiction, I soon found myself actually believing that it really was Alexander speaking his own thoughts as he tasted the first of his numerous victories, received the adoration o [...]

  8. Written in first person, this novel tells the story of Alexander s conquests through his own words This book was a major turn off in the beginning because it was nothing than a statistical summary of all the components of his army during one campaign versus another He would list in detail the types of weapons his men carried, how much these weapons weighed, how they were utilized and why they were so effective in certain situations Also a lot of detail on battlefield strategy, which interested [...]

  9. There are very few stories in the short history of civilization that can match that of Alexander the Great The name alone inspires a kind of awe, and after reading Steven Pressfield s impressive historical fiction account, I feel as though I have a better appreciation for just how amazing Alexander s life was In his twenties he was breaking apart the Sacred Band of Thebes, assaulting the Persian empire, and conquering further and faster than anyone to the time had dreamed of doing It s one thing [...]

  10. This Alexander isn t very gay, or very megalomaniacal He does kick ass, however, and take names, all the way to the Indus and back Got yer Gaugamela right here, Darius.

  11. I dropped the book after reading than 300 pages of it, which is not something I do often It was, however, in turns frustrating and boring, and after Gaugamela I couldn t even bring myself to care if and how Alexander defeats Porus Spoiler alert Alexander died without ever losing a battle When I say the book was boring, however, I don t mean boring in the sense of ponderous, verbose or over descriptive On the contrary, The Virtues of War was awfully concise To the point of being superficial But [...]

  12. Wouldn t it be neat to have an interview with Alexander the Great in which he tells of his life as a soldier in a very introspective manner Short of a time machine, this novel provides the next best thing thanks to Steven Pressfield s ability to crawl inside the mind of the world s greatest conqueror The story as told in Alexander s voice covers the spectrum of language from noble rhetoric to earthy solder s vernacular as it narrates the stories of horror and triumph The battles are described vi [...]

  13. I get specific so I ll put this under a spoiler The short version is, I took quite a dislike to Alexander as here portrayed he wasn t a hero figure for me I thought, from an Alexander novel, what I want is a hero figure But this turned out to quite interest me, with its ambivalence I d like to be certain about the author s intentions I don t suppose I was meant to take so against Alexander view spoiler I was intrigued by the title, and in the end, it s what most interests me Alexander s the spo [...]

  14. It s a 3 star For many that translates into a fail, and most of the time it does for me too, but this one does fit well with the description of what 3 star book means to a reader Liked it Because I did I liked it It was not always thrilling or humanised enough for me I never felt connected to Alexander this is likely due to the first person narrative style of the book and yet I did not dislike the book It was simply one of those steady as she goes, beat the drum slowly kind of books Which of cou [...]

  15. I have always been a soldier I have known no other life I finished reading this just a couple of minutes ago, and I m still so emotional over it But really, I m always so emotional over Alexander the Great He is my favorite historical figure, and even though The Virtues of War is fictional, I love how the author portrayed Alexander Based on the documentaries and books I ve read about him, I think that the real Alexander would ve acted close to the way this fictional Alexander did I thoroughly en [...]

  16. There are three military commanders whom i hold in awe for their genius and prowess Napoleon, Alexander Julius Caesar All men of different times and circumstances but whose feats of valor have still been unmatched in the annals of military history I read upon the feats of these three men and cant help but think of what grandiose vision, what manic quest for glory drove them forwardHaving read and liked Steven Pressfield s rendition of the Battle of Thermopylae here i was with Virtues of War.The [...]

  17. 120 pages in a week Inconceivable.I wanted to like this book, and there were moments when I did But overall, I was bored out of my skull Couldn t make it halfway I already renewed it once at the library and I can t see holding onto it when I d rather read medication warning labels exciting stuff I think I could like Pressfield, if he d focus on characters and story rather than play by play details of battles His narrative voice for the first person Alexander is off too Doesn t make him sympathe [...]

  18. my fascination with Alexander the great started with this book pressfield, as always depicts battles in a way that makes you feel like you were there with the burning desire to fight alongside those ancient heroes and achieve glory as if that wasn t enough, the philosophies and lessons presented in this book on what it is too be a soldier and what it means to be a man were truly captivating and inspiring great read

  19. Solid 3 stars but not because of any fault of the author Just too technical for my tastes His knowledge of Alexander s campaigns is unbelievable and any student of Alexander, I m sure, will rave about this read I appreciated, near the end, the description of what is needed to vanquish an army utilizing guerrila tactics and that logic would explain the U.S inability to have success against such an eney in Vietnam

  20. Another great book from Pressfield Alexander was a military monster who didn t take no as an answer Would recommend this book to anyone into reading about old world military A

  21. Not as good as The Gates of Fire.Quotes Those who do not understand war believe it contention between armies, friend against foe No Rather friend and foe duel as one against an unseen antagonist, whose name is Fear, and seek, even entwined in death, to mount to that promontory whose ensign is honor Does it hurt he bawled, spurring up in the flush of victory, and when I answered yes, he roared, Good, it s supposed to There are further items, Telamon taught, which have no place in the soldier s ki [...]

  22. La lectura de este libro se me hizo largu sima en su momento al tratarse de una novela hist rica No obstante, leerlo vale la pena, a pesar de que no necesariamente todo lo que est ah coincide con la realidad hist rica, porque representa una fiel adaptaci n a la vida y obra de Alejandro Magno, el conquistador de Asia Menor Expone su vida temprana, el autor recrea de una manera nica y crea a un Magno diferente al que a veces acostumbramos a ver en los libros de historia Nos enteramos que Alejandro [...]

  23. Gee I very much enjoyed the book It was pretty much as I expected No fantastic literal achievement, but an honest straight forward, swashbuckling novel that reads quick I do have two items to point out 1 The book made me stop to pause a few times with the liberal use of modern language to convey action The use of highway to describe paths was a chuckle Surely an oversight Hmmm and 2 For a book that is promoted as, The Virtues of War , why is there not one battle map There should have been at lea [...]

  24. A fictionalized account of Alexander s campaign across the known world The battle descriptions in this book make it so fun to visualize every battle and watch it unfold from Alexander s point of view Every battle starts with him breaking down the field, then describing what he thinks the enemy plans to do and how he will devise his strategy based on that information Seeing the strategy broken down like this made every battle come alive.Near the end it starts to drag a little but this coincides w [...]

  25. Thoroughly enjoyed this book The in depth look inside the conqueror s mind, complete with constructed conversations brings history to life Historical fact mingled with Pressfield s imagination made this a joy to read Anyone enad with ancient kingdoms and the art of warfare may enjoy this book My favorite scenes involved Alexander meeting with his foes prior to battle chivalry and ritual, respect and honor least some of the time

  26. Haunting Pressfield summons the shade of Alexander and has him lay his soul out onto the pages for all to see and judge as he recounts his battles The sarissa s song is a sad song He pipes it soft and low I would ply a gentler trade, says he, But war is all I know Excerpt FromVirtues of WarSteven Pressfield

  27. Really enjoyed thisI really enjoyed how adept the author was in describing the tactics used, the mentality of a conquerer and the connection to greek ancestry I genuinely felt as if I were in the mind of Alexander the great Excellent read Why won t it let me submit This has to be twenty words by now

  28. Maybe Pressfield should have just written a military history of Alexander the Great Way too many technical details about the military campaigns and the glorified version of Alexander portrayed in this novel seems unwarranted So maybe Pressfield should NOT have tried his hand at an actual history

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