In the brilliantly imagined first-person voice of Alexander the Great, acclaimed novelist Steven Pressfield brings to life his epic battles, his unerring command of his forces, and the passions and ambitions that drove him. A full-blooded, multi-dimensional portrait, The Virtues of War captures Alexander's complex character. No one tells of battles as brilliantly as Pressfield, and here he vividly describes the seminal conflicts of Alexander's career, revealing the tactics behind them and capturing the blood, heat, and terror of the battlefield.
©2004 Steven Pressfield; (P)2004 Books on Tape, Inc.
Pressfield did such great work with the Spartans in "Gates of Fire" and Alcibiades in "Tides of War", that I expected a similar enthralling story of Alexander. Unfortunately I was a bit disappoiinted still enjoyed the story but found myself more confused at times than interested.
This is not a novel. This is (maybe) a diary. Mostly, it is a war log. It gives excruciating detail on each battle Alexander fought (the formation, how many foot soldiers, how many cavalry, how the soldiers were equipped, each blow they landed). I listened to about half... waiting for the story to begin. When I realized that this was a military history tome, I stopped and moved on to something more interesting.
Readers who expect another "Gates of Fire" from Pressfield will be slightly disappointed here, as I was, because "Virtues of War" seems to be sold as a similar novel, but is in fact, more tame, and more of a character study than a novel of war. It is about war, while not having much war in it. So, going in with this knowledge, you might be better prepared. Alexander is an interesting figure here, and we get some good insight to how he felt about his life. There are some pieces missing... there's no talk of his mother and the relationship with Hephastion seems to be skirted slightly (Pressfield not wanting to get into the bisexuality issue?). Read this if you like military history, the topic of war, and the time period. But if you're looking for a true, gritty war novel, there might be some other choices you'd make first.
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