For the modern reader, looking to gain insight to ancient military science without a lifetime of study (and on a recreational timeline), I can recommend no better work than "The Virtues of War." The combination of strategy and spectacle, tactics and entertainment found in this novel have few equals in the genre of historical fiction.
Furthermore, never has there been a more romanticized historical character than Alexander of Macedon, recreated in so many works of fiction which range from slanderous to sycophantic, it becomes impossible to single out where the historical accuracy truly lies. This novel creates an Alexander, that for the first time in all the works involving this historical paradigm of a person that I've read, in which I actually believed the character could have achieved what the real man actually did.
Pressfield is a prodigy of historical insight, constantly lusting to relive these ancient moments himself, that he brings the reader along for a ride so palpable each of us feels like a veteran just off campaign once we put the book down. I've been a Pressfield fan for years now, and I thoroughly enjoyed both The Gates of Fire, as well as the less popular Tides of War, but I can say without conviction that "Virtues" is Pressfield's masterpiece. There are vast campaign details which may frustrate the reader interested purely in the fiction. But for others like myself, looking to combine the historical account with insight and tangibility only possible in fiction, I can recommend no better work than "The Virtues of War."
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