“Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give. It is inherent in the spirit of man. It is a divine gift…everyone has this most precious of all life’s endowments—the gift of free agency; man’s inherited and inalienable right.”
--David O. McKay
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The One with Gates of Fire
Genre: Fiction—Historical Fiction
Completed: 2 February 2014
Summary & Review:
In the year 480 B.C., the mighty army of the Persian Empire was bearing down on the free Greek city states. While vastly outnumbered, the officers of the Spartan army found one location where the numerical advantage of their foes would be diminished: a small pass between the mountains and seaside cliffs known as Thermopylae, or traslanted, the “hot gates.” Here, three hundred Spartan warriors would lead a tiny force of allied Greeks against the full might of the Persian forces. While they would all give their lives in an epic defeat, their bravery, tenacity, and example would motivate all of Hellas to resist the yoke of Persian conquest.
Wow. This really was an “epic novel” as the subtitle claims. Reading it, I was in awe of the Spartan way of life, especially their bravery and selflessness. Pressfield did an outstanding job of exploring the mind of these warriors, examining the sheer terror of war that all experienced and explaining what values and virtues they were taught from birth that allowed them to go into battle anyway.
Only about the last third of the book was the actual battle. Pressfield used the majority to examine Spartan culture and training. This section was not only fascinating and entertaining, but also served to set up the final battle expertly. The ready was able to more fully understand why these men would so willingly give their lives.
I recommend this book.