Gates Of Fire

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Gates Of Fire

by Steven Pressfield

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group | October 20, 1998 | Hardcover

Gates Of Fire is rated 4.5625 out of 5 by 16.
Thousands of years ago, Herodotus and Plutarch immortalized Spartan society in their histories; but today, little is left of the ancient city or the social structure of this momentous culture.  One of the few antiquarian marks of the civilization that has survived lies scores of miles away from Sparta, at a narrow Greek mountain pass called Thermopylae.

It was there that three hundred of Sparta's finest warriors held back the invading millions of the Persian empire and valiantly gave their lives in the selfless service of democracy and freedom.  A simple engraved stone marks their burial ground.

Inspired by this stone and intrigued by the lore of Sparta, author Steven Pressfield has brilliantly combined scholarship with storytelling.  Narrated by the sole survivor of the epic battle--a squire in the Spartan heavy infantry--Gates of Fire is a mesmerizing depiction of one man's indoctrination into the Spartan way of life and death, and of the legendary men and women who gave the culture an immortal gravity.

Culminating in the electrifying and horrifying epic battle, Gates of Fire weaves history, mystery, and heartbreaking romance into a literary page-turner that brings the Homeric tradition into the twenty-first century.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 400 pages, 9.54 × 6.44 × 1.23 in

Published: October 20, 1998

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385492510

ISBN - 13: 9780385492515

Found in: Historical

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Interesting The movie 300 was based on this book. The book itself delves deeper into the Spartans' lives - their discipline, their way of living and their philosophy of war and life. Their training is described in detail and so is war with its gore and muck. You can almost feel the heavy armour and the superhuman effort that the 300 made at the Hot Gates.
Date published: 2012-11-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from New Author Challenge #4 This was the final book in my New Author Challenge, and it was worth the time. Even though I found the beginning of this book to be a bit slow, things certainly picked up when the Spartans left for the Hot Gates to make their final stand. Pressfield's description of the battle scenes is feral, gory and intense. He deftly mixes fiction with fact and portrays the Spartans in a very realistic way. I can easily imagine his description of Leonidas as being accurate; as if he based it on a photo and an official biography from the Discovery Channel. He even does Xerxes justice by making him a lot more "human" (as much as a king can be) than the Xerxes portrayed in the film "300". Not that I didn't like that movie, but if you want to really experience the Battle of Thermopylae, Pressfield's novel is the way to do it.
Date published: 2010-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Read this book! Steven Pressfield delivers one of the best descriptions of ancient battlefields. After several chapters, your arm feels weary from battle fatigue, sweat forms on your skin from the pure intensity of the story. As you read this book, you are there, fighting side by side with the greatest warriors this world has ever seen. His tale of the brave Spartan stand at Thermopylae stands in the halls of great works which envoke a new (however fictional) ideal of the ancient warrior, and the courage and bravery and sacrifice committed to this battle. Pressfield uses the best descriptions of camaraderie, friendship, and the prime life of a warrior. The way Pressfield writes fictional second, third, even fourth hand accounts along with his extreme descriptions make this novel seem as much as a historical document as Herodotus' "The Histories."
Date published: 2007-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest historical novel of all time! Bought the book prior to the release of '300' and thought Pressfield's account of the battle to save Westerrn Civilization was better than the cinematic visual representations. This book carries the reader back to 480 BC, smack in the middle between the warring armies of Xerxes and King Leonidas. Upon reading the book one realizes how tough and skilled a Spartan Peer had to be. All of us owe a great debt to King Leonidas and his brave army. Awesome book!
Date published: 2007-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I'm a 13 year old boy and I absolutely loved it. I also loved the word choice; it really described what was happening and made it feel like you were right there.
Date published: 2007-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Buy it, Read it, Love it, Read it again. It takes an amazing author to write a novel and keep an audience deeply intrigued when the audience knows how the story ends, and Steven Pressfield does that. Pressfield not only keeps you intrigued, but keeps you on the edge of your seat and plays with your emotions as he turns the main characters in this novel into your best friends. The battles and friendships are strikingly vivid and one can't help but feel more than sorry for them at their lows and ecstatic for them at their highs. My heart reached out for the characters in this story as i came to respect and revere them more than any person I know. I was reminded of honour and chivalry and was honestly inspired to be a better person because when i compared myself to the men in this story i found myself sorely lacking. Before i go into another personal rant i would just like to say that Steven Pressfield's, "Gates of Fire," may perhaps be one of the best books ever written. Ps. for lovers of battle and war, and sometimes gore, this is also a great read as the battles are more intense and brilliantly described than any other book I have ever read. .... Just read it.
Date published: 2006-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Friggin Fantastic This book was one of the best I have read in a very long time. The history was blended very well with the 'story' that accompanied it - making the reader truly feel what the author was trying to convey. I really enjoyed the characters and their interactions with eachother. READ THIS BOOK. It is now one of my fav's...after I finished the last page i couldn't wait to read it again.
Date published: 2003-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I havn't read a better book in my life!!! What more can you ask for. It is action packed and teaches everybody something new, interresting and different. Nobody has ever reconstructed ancient Sparta and battles like that. It gave me goosebumps. Pressfield should definately write more of these!!!!!!!
Date published: 2001-04-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Hmmm, . . . not bad While Prescott combined the improbable with the stupid, he nevertheless managed to tell the tale of the actual battle in an exciting manner. Overall, as a soft diversion, I quite enjoyed reading the book.
Date published: 2000-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gates of Fire is fantastic An absolute must read. I read this book in one day. I just couldn’t put it down, it was like I was watching an epic film.
Date published: 2000-06-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from "And I alone escaped to tell you" Job 1 In 480 BC 300 Spartans, charged with defending the Pass at Thermopylae (the "Gates of Fire") against the advancing Persian army, made a heroic stand in the face of overwhelming odds and certain death. They held out for 6 days before they were massacred to a man. Their story of courage and self-sacrifice is a moving and inspiring tale. It would be difficult for any author to make this story boring. Sadly, Steven Pressfield managed. Gates of Fire is narrated by the sole survivor, a slave at Sparta, who recounts not only the battle but also the circumstances which brought him to Sparta and his life in Sparta. His motivation for moving to and remaining at Sparta is unbelievable, the story of his lost love trite, and the ending of the novel hackneyed. The account of the battle itself does have some exciting scenes, most of which were written by the original sources which, to his credit, Pressfield did consult. Readers would be better off reading the primary sources as well.
Date published: 2000-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Peter Great story. Excellent potrayal of battle field tatics in the ancient greek world. Makes you feel like you are standing in the shield wall with the Spartans.
Date published: 2000-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply awesome This book was simply great. As a 2nd year history student at Nipissing university I really enjoyed this "soldier-eye" account of a battle I have studied many times. It was also great to be able to see the inner workings of the Spartan system. The characters, settings, politics and situations are all incredibly well researched and written. Simply amazing.
Date published: 1999-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gates of Fire This novel was well researched and is realistic. Narrated by Xeones, a survivor of the Battle of Thermopylae, who recounts his story to the court historian of Persia's King Xerxes. Xeones' story is one of an outsider, who as a young boy fled to Sparta after his own city was sacked. Through his eyes, we see what life was like in Sparta, not only for an outsider, but also for its own men and women. The battle accounts - especially the final narrative of Thermopylae - are very well done. The author has chosen not to candy-coat them, showing war in all its horrors. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Date published: 1999-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gates of Fire A historical novel which takes the reader into the life of an ancient Spartan. There was no doubt that the Spartans would perish in the battle of Thermopylae, with only 300 soldiers against massive forces of Xerxes, King of Persia. But by going into great detail about the battles, and even having a sense of humour, the author makes the story suspenseful nonetheless. I really enjoyed this book, even though it was a little slow at the beginning, and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys reading ancient history.
Date published: 1999-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gates of Fire Possibly the best book released in 1998! Narrated by the fictitious sole survivor of the 480 BC battle of Thermopylae, where three-hundred Spartans and their allies held off the Persians, who outnumbered them two-thousand to one for an amazing seven days. Highly recommended for those who like the historical fiction of Christian Jacq, Colleen McCullough, Margaret or Wilbur Smith. Like watching Titanic, you know how it will end, but the characters are so compelling you can't stop.
Date published: 1999-03-19

– More About This Product –

Gates Of Fire

by Steven Pressfield

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 400 pages, 9.54 × 6.44 × 1.23 in

Published: October 20, 1998

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0385492510

ISBN - 13: 9780385492515

Read from the Book

I had always wondered what it felt like to die.There was an exercise we of the battle train practiced when we served as  punching bags for the Spartan heavy infantry. It was called the Oak  because we took our positions along a line of oaks at the edge of the  plain of Otona, where the Spartiates and the Gentleman-Rankers ran their  field exercises in fall and winter. We would line up ten deep with  body-length wicker shields braced upon the earth and they would hit us,  the shock troops, coming across the flat in line of battle, eight deep, at  a walk, then a pace, then a trot and finally a dead run. The shock of  their interleaved shields was meant to knock the breath out of you, and it  did. It was like being hit by a mountain. Your knees, no matter how braced  you held them, buckled like saplings before an earthslide; in an instant  all courage fled our hearts; we were rooted up like dried stalks before  the ploughman's blade.That was how it felt to die. The weapon which slew me at Thermopylae was  an Egyptian hoplite spear, driven in beneath the plexus of the ribcage.  But the sensation was not what one would have anticipated, not being  pierced but rather slammed, like we sparring fodder felt beneath the  oaks.I had imagined that the dead would be detached. That they would look upon  life with the eyes of objective wisdom. But the experience proved the  opposite. Emotion ruled. It seemed nothing remained but emotion. My heart  ached and broke as never it could on earth.
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From the Publisher

Thousands of years ago, Herodotus and Plutarch immortalized Spartan society in their histories; but today, little is left of the ancient city or the social structure of this momentous culture.  One of the few antiquarian marks of the civilization that has survived lies scores of miles away from Sparta, at a narrow Greek mountain pass called Thermopylae.

It was there that three hundred of Sparta's finest warriors held back the invading millions of the Persian empire and valiantly gave their lives in the selfless service of democracy and freedom.  A simple engraved stone marks their burial ground.

Inspired by this stone and intrigued by the lore of Sparta, author Steven Pressfield has brilliantly combined scholarship with storytelling.  Narrated by the sole survivor of the epic battle--a squire in the Spartan heavy infantry--Gates of Fire is a mesmerizing depiction of one man's indoctrination into the Spartan way of life and death, and of the legendary men and women who gave the culture an immortal gravity.

Culminating in the electrifying and horrifying epic battle, Gates of Fire weaves history, mystery, and heartbreaking romance into a literary page-turner that brings the Homeric tradition into the twenty-first century.

From the Jacket

Thousands of years ago, Herodotus and Plutarch immortalized Spartan society in their histories; but today, little is left of the ancient city or the social structure of this momentous culture. One of the few antiquarian marks of the civilization that has survived lies scores of miles away from Sparta, at a narrow Greek mountain pass called Thermopylae.
It was there that three hundred of Sparta's finest warriors held back the invading millions of the Persian empire and valiantly gave their lives in the selfless service of democracy and freedom. A simple engraved stone marks their burial ground.
Inspired by this stone and intrigued by the lore of Sparta, author Steven Pressfield has brilliantly combined scholarship with storytelling. Narrated by the sole survivor of the epic battle--a squire in the Spartan heavy infantry--"Gates of Fire is a mesmerizing depiction of one man's indoctrination into the Spartan way of life and death, and of the legendary men and women who gave the culture an immortal gravity.
Culminating in the electrifying and horrifying epic battle, "Gates of Fire weaves history, mystery, and heartbreaking romance into a literary page-turner that brings the Homeric tradition into the twenty-first century.

About the Author

Steven Pressfield is the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, a mystical golf novel currently under option with Robert Redford and Jake Eberts (Dances with Wolves, Driving Miss Daisy) for feature film adaptation.  He makes his home in Malibu, California.

From Our Editors

Travel back in time to 480 BC when two million Persian warriors invaded the narrow pass of Thermoplyae and were defeated by 300 Spartan warriors defending Greece. Left battered and bloody, one Spartan soldier finds himself caught and interrogated by the Persian King his tiny army. The dying man tells about the mesmerizing indoctrination into the Spartan way of life, and of the legendary men and women who gave the culture an immortal gravity. Culminating in the electrifying and horrifying epic battle at Thermoplyae, Gates of Fire is a brilliantly-written novel sure to takes its place among the classics of historical fiction.