Q&A with Steven Pressfield discussion

The Ending

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message 1: by Ben (new)

Ben | 2 comments First, I just want to say that I loved this book. The ending was very, very moving and really got to me. The honor between soldiers was powerful, to say the least.

My question is about the encounter between Rommel and Chapman. Do you think that this encounter could have taken place between Chapman and other German generals, or was Rommel unique in this respect? Did he conduct his war in a way unique from other German generals, or was he similar to the other generals?

I guess a larger question would be whether the choice of writing about Rommel was motivated by a desire to show the honor with which soldiers treated each other during WWII, or did that theme develop as you researched Rommel?

message 2: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenpressfield) | 47 comments Mod
It was specific to Rommel, Ben. That was the man's character. He wrote a book about the North Africa campaign which he titled Krieg Ohne Hass, "War Without Hate." One true story among many: Rommel's panzers overran a British field hospital, in which the English medical staff had refused to evacuate to save themselves but had stayed on, caring for their patients, a number of whom were captured German soldiers. When Rommel learned of this, he went straight to the hospital, shook the hands of every member of the British staff and thanked them for their care of his men. He asked them to stay on (which they agreed to) until he could bring up his own medical staff to replace them. Then he made sure that they were not taken captive as POWs but had them repatriated via neutral Switzerland.

That was Rommel. That was why I wanted to write about him.

message 3: by Ben (new)

Ben | 2 comments Wow. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
Reading what you wrote about Rommel in the book, and what you added here, reminds me of growing up in the south and all that I heard about Robert E. Lee. How Lee was the prototypical gentleman-soldier. A lot of what you said about Rommel in the book has made me think of Lee. Is Lee someone that you've ever considered writing about?

message 4: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenpressfield) | 47 comments Mod
No, Ben, but I do remember this toast (made with water, not alcohol) from the KA fraternity:

"Knights, Gentlemen, Brethren ... let us lift high our glasses here tonight and, in the clear liquid as spotless as his fame, pledge the spiritual founder of the Kappa Alpha order -- Robert Edward Lee of Old Virginia!"

Quote unquote.

message 5: by Doug (new)

Doug | 2 comments Had no idea you were a fraternity man mr. pressfield. Which chapter?

message 6: by Steven (new)

Steven (stevenpressfield) | 47 comments Mod
Actually I wasn't a member, Doug. That toast just stuck with me over the years. I never forgot it. I'll tell you who was a member of KA at Duke at that time: Charlie Rose of TV fame.

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