Tides of War

Narrated by: Derek Jacobi
Length: 7 hrs
4.2 out of 5 stars (294 ratings)

Audible Premium Plus

$14.95 a month

1 audiobook of your choice.
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
$14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $19.93

Buy for $19.93

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Brilliant at war, a master of politics, and a charismatic lover, Alcibiades was Athens’ favorite son and the city’s greatest general. 

A prodigal follower of Socrates, he embodied both the best and the worst of the Golden Age of Greece. A commander on both land and sea, he led his armies to victory after victory. 

But like the heroes in a great Greek tragedy, he was a victim of his own pride, arrogance, excess, and ambition. Accused of crimes against the state, he was banished from his beloved Athens, only to take up arms in the service of his former enemies. 

For nearly three decades, Greece burned with war and Alcibiades helped bring victories to both sides - and ended up trusted by neither. 

Narrated from death row by Alcibiades’ bodyguard and assassin, a man whose own love and loathing for his former commander mirrors the mixed emotions felt by all Athens, Tides of War tells an epic saga of an extraordinary century, a war that changed history, and a complex leader who seduced a nation. 

©2000 Steven Pressfield (P)2000 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Pressfield’s battlefield scenes rank with the most convincing ever written.” (USA Today)

“Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Pressfield’s attention to historic detail is exquisite.... This novel will remain with the reader long after the final chapter is finished.”(Library Journal)

What listeners say about Tides of War

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    138
  • 4 Stars
    94
  • 3 Stars
    44
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    6
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    147
  • 4 Stars
    49
  • 3 Stars
    15
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    117
  • 4 Stars
    66
  • 3 Stars
    25
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Different Themes than Gates of Fire

Another excellent book by Steven Pressfield. But this time instead of dealing with the the themes of might and valor, Tides of War deals with betrayal, redemption, and forgiveness, and not just of others, but of one's self.

As the narration bounces from sources at the beginning, the story is a little hard to follow. But this only lasts for a short period of time. Then the story takes off.

The cascading effects of the wrongs people do against one another is at the forefront of this whole story. It's a vicious cycle that no one can stop.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good, but doesn't sparkle.

Pressfield writes well and researches professionally. "Gates of Fire", the book before this one (though not necessary to read first) cracked with an energy that "Tides of War" never quite achieves. This book is interesting in its exploration of the wide canvas that was the Peleponisian (sp?) War, and of the character of Alcibiades, who, thorough cunning and generalship, fought for all three sides in the 30-year conflict, making each love him and despise him. However, the narrative device of telling the story through the remove of not one but two recollections tends to make the story less urgent and more "historical" feeling, rather than "immediate drama". While I loved the setting and the details of the story, I found it was easy to hit the "pause" button whenever something else called my attention. If you liked "Gates of War" this book might indeed be for you, although I wonder if it isn't better read than listened to. Those who like military themes, historical narratives and anything having to do with Ancient Greece will enjoy this book.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Pressfield is Terrific

This book was not as good as Gates of Fire (AWESOME!) but still another terrific story. The narrator should win an award of some kind. His voice transitions for the characters and inflection is flawless.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A master storyteller

Steven Pressfield is better known for another great story, The Legend of Bagger Vance. In Tides of War, Pressfield also shows that he is a masterful storyteller, with history, characters, plots and sub-plots all entertwined but all progressing throughout the story.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

I loved Gates of Fire and thought I couldn't go wrong with this offering from Steven Pressfield. Perhaps the bar was set too high, but I was bored at times with Tides of War. Thankfully I could speed up the audio version of the book, otherwise I might have just put it down permanently.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book except that it’s ABRIDGED

I recommend you buy the book in print instead of audio. This is one of my favorite books, and Derek Jacobi does an incredible job as the narrator. Sadly, its heavily abridged to the point that many crucial parts of the story and character development have been cut. Despite incredible narration, this was a big disappointment. I’ve read the print edition a few times and the story is much worse off without the missing parts.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting

Makes you feel like you are setting at the knee of your Grandfather as he recounts his own life. Derek Jacobi is the best!!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent story, wonderful language

The writing was just as good as Robert Graves. My only criticism is that it was abridged.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

If only it weren't abridged

I loved the story as well as the delivery by Sir Derek Jacobi. My only complaint is that it was abridged, and it wasn't clear that it was abridged. This is Steven Pressfield at his best, and it deserves a listen!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Story

This is more than I expected from this story. It's an interesting story told from more than one perspective. Very enjoyable from start to finish.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J. M. Poulain
  • J. M. Poulain
  • 10-01-20

Great look at Hellenic Greek life

I've been a big fan of Pressfield and found this on his website listed as his favourite thing he'd ever written so wanted to try it out. The structure is more confusing as I didn't know much about the Penopolisian Wars and the framing device is an Assassin on trial for murder telling an Officer telling his Grandson the story which can be confusing. The book makes a good attempt of Athens herself being a character with her swings in opinions and favour a core issue, arguing that full direct democracy leads to absurb mob results (execution of Socrates, banishment of their greatest generals). All with Pressfield's trademark realism in warfare and philosophical issues.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BlackenedNeo
  • BlackenedNeo
  • 03-13-19

Fantastic book

This is a really good book. The reader is absolutely fantastic. It is such a wonderful story, a bit sad albet, but still fantasticly written and read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for edward sidsaph
  • edward sidsaph
  • 12-04-18

overall good

But......sometimes a bit of a chore to get through.Overall good and educational listening for historical fiction lovers.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr
  • Mr
  • 03-28-17

Great for going deeper into the period.

A student quizzes his grandfather to recall the story of a soldier/assassin who fought with Alcebiades. This is Historical Fiction, it centers around Alcebiades and the war, and the democracy. Well researched, somewhat compelling if you have an interest in this period. Told through this prism of a companion of Alcebiades we track the events of this fratricidal war, it's an interesting and digestible way to learn the history of the characters.

I don't really *do* fiction so can't comment on it as a novel. But it's great as history, it made these historical characters relatable for me.

I think you need a decent understanding of the war already, to follow the narrative of this story. For example the author takes no time to explain the city states, if you are not already aware of terms like Lacedaemonian, Thrace, or Hellespont then much of this book might pass you by you will be wondering what is going on. So my recommendation: download first the audio book for "The Peloponnesian War" by "the Great Courses" it's on Audible , or listen to Donald Kegan's Yale lecture series which is on YouTube.

Very enjoyable if you want to go deeper into this interesting period of history of war and democracy.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr.Aziz
  • Mr.Aziz
  • 06-05-16

Fabulous storytelling

Fabulous storytelling evocative of the politics, intrigue and drama of a bygone era steeped in the eternal conflict of personal loyalty and acting in the interests of the greater good. Thoroughly enjoyed it and David Jacobi's voice adds an air of gravitas and dignity that such a tale warrants and deserves.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Denise
  • Denise
  • 09-25-09

Brilliant!

Best novel ever written on the "Spartans Last Stand" Some parts of it brought me to tears. It has so much - the characters brought to life so completely. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

2 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 09-19-20

great story alcibadies was truly an amazing man.

great way to learn about ancient Greece. Alcibadies has not been remembered with the true admiration he deserves