[The Virtues of War A Novel of Alexander the Great read] epub By Steven Pressfield

characters 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. 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 shutit is my role to instruct you in the art of war He then delivers a book long series of monologues to Itanes on that very subject I had visions of a pompous professor in a gown like an English don delivering very long lectures to a class of oneAlexander instructs Itanes on his Alexander s life through various wars and battles Alexander has fought Itanes s presence isn t even acknowledged until 80 some pages into the novel and after that sporadically Alexander gives his ideas on what makes a good soldier The battle descriptions were well done and Alexander s advice to various officers and his Maxims on War were very common sense I was reminded of Sun Tzu s writings on the latterI didn t like this portrayal of Alexander He came across as arrogant devious excessively cruel at some points almost wooden my teeth were set on edge He came across as a braggart For the most part he was unsympathetic until he and his men fought the Persians and he saw the suffering of his men I did like his description of how he met Hephaestion who became his life long close friend and soulmate his description of Babylonian society his even handedness in his appraisal of Memnon his Greek mercenary opponent in the Persian War the Chronology at the end of the book I did a double take when he mentioned striking the bone in battle to count the cadence of marching men Immediately I thought of the symandron used to this day To those who may not know what a symandron is it is a special board struck rhythmically with a mallet to call monks and nuns to prayer in Greek Orthodox monasteries and conventsAll in all this book was good enough but not outstanding I feel it s basically for people who want to read Pressfield or for those who devour everything on Alexander the Great This book has influenced me to dislike anything Alexander the Great It left such a bad taste in my mouth

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The Virtues of War A Novel of Alexander the Great

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. 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 factor in any novel tackling this historic person presenting the author with the challenge of trying to capture his uixotic charisma unusual intelligence and powerful emotions To my surprise Pressfield actually does a reasonable job here sort of Let me explain Other reviewers have praised the strength of descriptions of war in this book and they re dead on The entire book reads like a series of anecdotes about battle war and the lessons Alexander has learned about being a commander And it s written well The battle scenes are clearly described if at times occasionally heavy on technical detail and the anecdotes and snippets of wisdom are easily readable and page turning Alexander s words of wisdom feel true to the historical figure s intelligence and battle experience so his voice did feel plausible hereHowever that s all we get The novel is very narrowly focused on just this one aspect on the seuence of just one particular sort of event I felt like Alexander the general was here but Alexander the ruler the dreamer the man was oddly absent His charisma personal dynamism and human challenges felt like they were missing I went through it at a good pace enjoying the story thinking it was uite well written but also missing those aspects that had been omitted For me the book didn t capture the essence of Alexander it just captured one strand in the essence of Alexander Good but it s not going to supplant Mary Renault s trilogy any time soon6 out of 10

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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. 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 storytellingEven 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 of his men and found himself later possessed of an empire that demanded too much for the price of an ambition For that alone I stand in awe yet again of this author s skillEvery chapter is vivid with imagery and every conflict a real human drama The king s moments of anguish were brutal eerily honest and sometimes understandable as he becomes torn between love for his army and the desire to conuer the world beyond India Indeed Alexander was thrown in a surreal mix of otherworldliness for his exceptional military prowess and glaring human frailty for succumbing to the snare of arrogance and pride There were times when Pressfield s narration seemed like it was being apologetic of Alexander s actions towards his men and their growing disuiet but then I suddenly remember that this book ostensibly echoed only Alexander s voice so I suppose it couldn t help but have that biased feelI only wished the book imagined a little bit outside of the battlefield Like his relations with his mother during his youth with his wives or even just with Roxanne and with the other soldiers besides his dear mates who trekked with him across the plains of Asia There were some parts as well that felt hurried while others felt too protracted And in some instances I was on the verge of becoming almost bored whenever the book took the tone of becoming of a manual for warfare what with the winded accounts of the number of infantry cavalry archers etc But I suppose you really cannot get to being an exalted commander without being anal about these thingsAll in all The Virtues of War is still a highly recommended read epic artistic and an honest to goodness page turner


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 enjo

  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 and I was standing alongside him in the most fierce battles—fast paced storytelling account of one of the most feared warriors King and most certainly legend Historically correct from what I can remember Wait w

  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 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 his

  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’t all

  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 sta

  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

  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 storytellingEven 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

  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 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 s

  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