Gates of Fire

April 27, 2006

Gates of FireI recently finished what has to be one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has fully inspired and peaked my interest in a time in history that was both breathtakingly vivid and alive and depressingly violent.

The book is Stephen Pressfield’s Gates of Fire. If you’ve never heard of it or know nothing about it, I urge you to pick it up. If you do, then you’ve no doubt already read it and know what I’m talking about.

Oberon turned me onto this book. He said it was something he thought I would really enjoy. He couldn’t have understated it more.

This book is powerful, evocative, inspirational, and sobering. It’s like a strong kick in the stomach from a mule after you’ve been out partying all night. The characterization is nothing short of brilliant. The men are heroic and yet human. They are the things we want all humanity to be even though deep down in are secret places we know humanity isn’t even close. The women, while seemingly secondary to the story, are actually the noblest of all.

I can’t say enough good things about this book. It was so good, I’m actually stunned it hasn’t been a movie yet (even though there is an apparent script called “The 300” based on a Frank Miller comic coming out next year). Especially after the likes of Gladiator and Troy.

The battle of Thermopylae is something I have known bits and pieces of for sometime. I’m sad that I’ve missed out on such a rich and vibrant piece of history. But this will be remedied quickly. I’m already hip deep in another Pressfield novel “Last of the Amazons” and I fully intend to read everything he’s written. I’m also going to begin to track down his source materials to read as well.

Another friend of mine not to long ago convinced me to read “Killer Angels” about the battle of Gettysburg. He’s a bit of a fanatic when it comes to civil war history. I guess you could call it ‘his’ time period. I believe now I have found mine. The richness of ancient Greece is calling.