Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
Mature and moving
on 4 July 2001
Pressfield's previous book, Gates of Fire, is a ripping yarn. Tides of War is much different. It is a much more mature work, and strangely moving once you learn to empathise with the main characters.
Like in life, Pressfield's characters are varying shades of grey - deeply flawed, making valiant attempts at self-justification.
The background to this tale, the Peloponnesian war, is a difficult conflict to comprehend. In effect a civil war, one doesn't expect outrageous acts of heroism similar to those described in Pressfield's depiction of the Persian wars. Add to this the remarkably complex character of Alcibiades and the uneasy decline of the principal nation states of Athens and Sparta.
What the author has achieved is remarkable: he breathes life into an ancient and distant culture, made the crazy decisions of the Athenian powers seem plausible, and turned the central character into a slightly deluded superstar of his time.
I think this was a difficult work for Pressfied to create, but he has pulled it off.