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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 and utterly merciless Alexander recounts with a warrior’s unflinching eye for deta 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 seuences were written as if Pressfield was sitting astride his own mount on the periphery of the battlefield Spectacular technical description was combined flawlessly with gruesome action The sarissa s song is a sad songHe pipes it soft and lowI would ply a gentler trade says heBut war is all I knowIn case you are curious as to what a sarissa is the link below shows one in all its glory and illustrates why Alexander s army was so terrible to face on the field The Macedonian and his sarissa are on the left this one up if you enjoy fiction involving history war military life biography philosophy bah just read itFive stars all the wayGet your copy here The Black Painting utterly merciless Alexander recounts with a warrior’s Fire and Desire unflinching eye for deta 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 seuences were written as if Pressfield was sitting astride his own mount on the periphery of the battlefield Spectacular technical description was combined flawlessly with gruesome action The sarissa s song is a sad songHe pipes it soft and lowI would ply a gentler trade says heBut war is all I knowIn case you are curious as to what a sarissa is the link below shows one in all its glory and illustrates why Alexander s army was so terrible to face on the field The Macedonian and his sarissa are on the left this one The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox up if you enjoy fiction involving history war military life biography philosophy bah just read itFive stars all the wayGet your copy here

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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 conuered every enemy the world stood against him–but the one he never saw coming Written in first person this novel tells the story of Alexander s conuests 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 me not in the least What I was looking for was a story about Alexander and how he came to power not a checklist of his supplies But in the end I realized that my expectations were probably set too high When you consider that Alexander spent his entire adult life making war it s probably a pretty accurate depiction of who he really was What else could be said about a guy who was always thinking ahead to his next battle So perhaps the novel s weaknesses shouldn t be blamed on Pressfield but instead on Alexander who maybe just wasn t as interesting as I would ve thought I would like to add however that there were parts to the story that I liked very much especially toward the end when Alexander begins to express a faint sense of regret If this had been a bigger part of the plot I would have given it a much better recommendation Double Jeopardy utilized and why they were so effective in certain situations Also a lot of detail on battlefield strategy which interested me not in the least What I was looking for was a story about Alexander and how he came to power not a checklist of his supplies But in the end I realized that my expectations were probably set too high When you consider that Alexander spent his entire adult life making war it s probably a pretty accurate depiction of who he really was What else could be said about a guy who was always thinking ahead to his next battle So perhaps the novel s weaknesses shouldn t be blamed on Pressfield but instead on Alexander who maybe just wasn t as interesting as I would ve thought I would like to add however that there were parts to the story that I liked very much especially toward the end when Alexander begins to express a faint sense of regret If this had been a bigger part of the plot I would have given it a much better recommendation

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Il 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 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 really don t think is the author s fault and I ll do my best to explain whyAlexander is brilliant and relentlessly shoved onward by what he calls his daimon peeling apart and smashing the armies of the Greek Persian and Indian armies who stand against him but he s also cold as ice I felt like Pressfield tried to avoid this by including his interactions with his friend Hephaestion and scenes of him getting all weepy over stuff They don t work and why should they I don t think anyone has said that Alexander was a warm compassionate humanist He started a war with a pretty dubious casus belli and caused the deaths of so so many people and the destabilization of a huge part of earth as well as even managing to posthumously cause the wars of the Diadochi which caused even death and chaos Yet for some reason we kind of look at him in a romanticized lover warrior kind of view The best reason for this that I can come up with is that he came from a Hellenistic culture and a lot of people including myself grew up with kind of this nice ideal of them which we don t have for similar cultures who raised gifted conuerors like the Huns Mongols etc At first I kind of balked at this calculating alien portrayal of Alexander but then I realized that this is who these people were they valued glory and power and catapulting themselves into legend through fire and death This probably leaves very little room left for small time stuff like compassion rationality selflessness etc All of this stuff still makes it a compelling portrait of what someone who achieved this kind of wide scale subjugation might be like I just had to resign myself to the fact that I wasn t gonna like Alexander That saidI still had a thrill in watching him take on such huge Persian armies and smash through them with his repeated uses of deception feints and insane cavalry charges straight at the enemy commander often Darius himself that basically cause every enemy on the field to shit their pants and stampede each other trying to get away The battles are always always fascinating as they present this huge picture of what Alexander is seeing in his head before during and after the fighting and Pressfield writes him as a very very smart and talented soldier I might be a little too hard on him as he does obviously feel some remorse over Thebes and generally wasn t as hard on his conuered peoples and enemies as some but overall a pretty icy and even disingenuous dudeSo another good one from Pressfield just one that I had a relatively limited connection with and that s probably how it should be If you find yourself connecting too much with a person who killed thousands upon thousands of people and caused so much turmoil for an ultimately futile and kind of misguided cause you re probably a little unbalanced or the next Alexander the Great Despite all that ranting I did about Alexander s character in this novel I still kept turning the pages and enjoying myself as I learned about him once I let go of the desire to like him Kind of makes me want to revisit another book with a character I thought turned into a totally murderous dick that ended up making me dislike the story Conn Iggulden s Lords of the Bow which is another credit to Pressfield Two out of two so far although certainly not as affecting as Gates of Fire which all fans of historical fiction should probably give a shot if they haven t The Illusionists 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 really don t think is the author s fault and I ll do my best to explain whyAlexander is brilliant and relentlessly shoved onward by what he calls his daimon peeling apart and smashing the armies of the Greek Persian and Indian armies who stand against him but he s also cold as ice I felt like Pressfield tried to avoid this by including his interactions with his friend Hephaestion and scenes of him getting all weepy over stuff They don t work and why should they I don t think anyone has said that Alexander was a warm compassionate humanist He started a war with a pretty dubious casus belli and caused the deaths of so so many people and the destabilization of a huge part of earth as well as even managing to posthumously cause the wars of the Diadochi which caused even death and chaos Yet for some reason we kind of look at him in a romanticized lover warrior kind of view The best reason for this that I can come O Último Testamento (Maggie Costello, up with is that he came from a Hellenistic culture and a lot of people including myself grew One for My Baby up with kind of this nice ideal of them which we don t have for similar cultures who raised gifted conuerors like the Huns Mongols etc At first I kind of balked at this calculating alien portrayal of Alexander but then I realized that this is who these people were they valued glory and power and catapulting themselves into legend through fire and death This probably leaves very little room left for small time stuff like compassion rationality selflessness etc All of this stuff still makes it a compelling portrait of what someone who achieved this kind of wide scale subjugation might be like I just had to resign myself to the fact that I wasn t gonna like Alexander That saidI still had a thrill in watching him take on such huge Persian armies and smash through them with his repeated Paragon Walk (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, uses of deception feints and insane cavalry charges straight at the enemy commander often Darius himself that basically cause every enemy on the field to shit their pants and stampede each other trying to get away The battles are always always fascinating as they present this huge picture of what Alexander is seeing in his head before during and after the fighting and Pressfield writes him as a very very smart and talented soldier I might be a little too hard on him as he does obviously feel some remorse over Thebes and generally wasn t as hard on his conuered peoples and enemies as some but overall a pretty icy and even disingenuous dudeSo another good one from Pressfield just one that I had a relatively limited connection with and that s probably how it should be If you find yourself connecting too much with a person who killed thousands We upon thousands of people and caused so much turmoil for an The Moon Platoon (Space Runners, ultimately futile and kind of misguided cause you re probably a little The Echo (The Anomaly Quartet, unbalanced or the next Alexander the Great Despite all that ranting I did about Alexander s character in this novel I still kept turning the pages and enjoying myself as I learned about him once I let go of the desire to like him Kind of makes me want to revisit another book with a character I thought turned into a totally murderous dick that ended The Asset (Wounded Warrior up making me dislike the story Conn Iggulden s Lords of the Bow which is another credit to Pressfield Two out of two so far although certainly not as affecting as Gates of Fire which all fans of historical fiction should probably give a shot if they haven t


About the Author: Steven Pressfield

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 a



10 thoughts on “The Virtues of War A Novel of Alexander the Great

  1. says:

    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

  2. says:

    A great book about an even greater warrior I thoroughly enjoyed reading this account of Alexander the Great Instantly it was 327 BC

  3. says:

    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

  4. says:

    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 t

  5. says:

    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

  6. says:

    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 m

  7. says:

    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 sti

  8. says:

    An imagination of dazzling and epic scopeWith “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 stor

  9. says:

    Written in first person this novel tells the story of Alexander's conuests through his own words This book was a major turn off in t

  10. says:

    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

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