Curtiss's Reviews > Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
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Oct 16, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: adventure-thriller, historical-novel, all-time-favorites

Perhaps the best historical novel which concerns itself with the reasons why men fight. In it, King Leonidas of Sparta delivers several stirring speeches about the nature of combat in defense of the values men hold dear. No one knows what Leonidas may have said in real-life to motivate his men (and their wives and mothers) - but this is what he SHOULD have said!

Steven Pressfield serves up a heavy dose of the severe Spartan lifestyle on his way to the Battle of Thermopylae, where the Spartan 300 showed the rest of Greece how and why to unite against the Persian invaders. The story's resolution in the aftermath of the decisive Battle of Plataea, which eliminated the Persian threat the year after Thermopylae, is intensely satisfying.
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Quotes Curtiss Liked

Steven Pressfield
“A king does not abide within his tent while his men bleed and die upon the field. A king does not dine while his men go hungry, nor sleep when they stand at watch upon the wall. A king does not command his men's loyalty through fear nor purchase it with gold; he earns their love by the sweat of his own back and the pains he endures for their sake. That which comprises the harshest burden, a king lifts first and sets down last. A king does not require service of those he leads but provides it to them...A king does not expend his substance to enslave men, but by his conduct and example makes them free.”
Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae


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