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The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

3.8 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Random House Audible; Abridged edition (19 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739314777
  • ISBN-13: 978-1415913277
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 3.1 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,780,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

-Praise for "Tides of War:
"Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising scenes...but many moments of valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor....Even more impressively, he delivers a nuanced portrait of ancient Athens."--"Esquire
"Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving."--"Kirkus Reviews
and for "Gates of Fire:
"Vivid and exciting, Pressfield gives the reader a perspective no ancient historian offers, a soldier's-eye view...remarkable." ---"The New York Times Book Review
""Gates of Fire lives up to its billing as an epic novel....His Greeks and Persians come across as the real thing."--"San Francisco Chronicle


-Praise for "Tides of War:
""Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising scenes...but many moments of valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor....Even more impressively, he delivers a nuanced portrait of ancient Athens."--"Esquire
""Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving."--"Kirkus Reviews
"and for "Gates of Fire:
""Vivid and exciting, Pressfield gives the reader a perspective no ancient historian offers, a soldier's-eye view...remarkable." ---"The New York Times Book Review
"""Gates of Fire "lives up to its billing as an epic novel....His Greeks and Persians come across as the real thing."--"San Francisco Chronicle
"

"From the Hardcover edition."

Praise for "Tides of War:
" Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising scenes but many moments of valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor. Even more impressively, he delivers a nuanced portrait of ancient Athens. "Esquire
" Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving. "Kirkus Reviews
"and for "Gates of Fire:
" Vivid and exciting, Pressfield gives the reader a perspective no ancient historian offers, a soldier s eye view remarkable. - "The New York Times Book Review
" "Gates of Fire "lives up to its billing as an epic novel. His Greeks and Persians come across as the real thing. "San Francisco Chronicle
"

"From the Hardcover edition.""

-Praise for Tides of War:
"Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising scenes...but many moments of valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor....Even more impressively, he delivers a nuanced portrait of ancient Athens."--Esquire
"Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving."--Kirkus Reviews
and for Gates of Fire:
"Vivid and exciting, Pressfield gives the reader a perspective no ancient historian offers, a soldier's-eye view...remarkable." ---The New York Times Book Review
"Gates of Fire lives up to its billing as an epic novel....His Greeks and Persians come across as the real thing."--San Francisco Chronicle

From the Hardcover edition.

-Praise for Tides of War:
-Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising scenes...but many moments of valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor....Even more impressively, he delivers a nuanced portrait of ancient Athens.---Esquire
-Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving.---Kirkus Reviews
and for Gates of Fire:
-Vivid and exciting, Pressfield gives the reader a perspective no ancient historian offers, a soldier's-eye view...remarkable.- ---The New York Times Book Review
-Gates of Fire lives up to its billing as an epic novel....His Greeks and Persians come across as the real thing.---San Francisco Chronicle

From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Pressfield brings his magisterial touch to the story of the colossus of the ancient world: Alexander the Great. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Product description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read Mr Pressfield's book, Gates of Fire. This is written to the same high standard. This author can make the reader feel he writes having been present as an observer in Alexander's inner circle. It is nothing short of an excellent read. (One small point only would I quibble over and that was his description of Hephaestion as "a good friend", when a majority of academics can concur he was all of that and in all likelihood, far more). Further, the author's description of the passing of Hephaestion and his subsequent funeral was passed off in more or less one paragraph! If any one event affected Alexander in his life more than any other, it was the death of his "good friend". It devastated Alexander & diminished him. So deeply tragic and despite this young king's faults, only the coldest of hearts would not even now reach out to him in his grief and hurt and loneliness.
Nonetheless, very highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, I enjoy Pressfield's style of writing very much and have read Gates of Fire multiple times at this stage. If you like Greek history and epic battles give this a read.
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Format: Hardcover
(I gave this book 5 stars, but the site keeps changing it to 4, or even 2!)
I fell in love with Alexander when reading about him at the age of 12, the age at which he met the life and death love of his life, Hephaestion (Pressfield calls him his best friend). The history of the Great Alexander (and the books of Mary Renault amongst others) entranced me, but now I have met their match. The writing is splendid. One may laugh with delight at many of Alexander's comments ('A cavalryman's horse should be smarter than he is. But the horse must never be allowed to know this.') or weep for pity at the sad cadence of loss.
The battles, including the greatest victories of all time, are described in detail and at length, without ever tiring. The tactics of confused conflicts are made clearer than they ever were to those involved, whose courage and staying-power are unbelievable today. The repetition of lists of names of renowned soldiers and heroes, far from palling, becomes music. Achilles, Hector and Lysander, and such great names as these, are eclipsed.
Alexander inspired his men by his character, his actions, and his words, and all of these are beautifully portrayed in this book. I wish I had been with him for those 11,000 miles of glory. - You see the effect it has?
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
The Virtues of War is almost, but not quite, as good as Gates of Fire or Tides of War. First of all, I must admit that I sometimes surprised when reading previous comments from other readers. I appreciate, of course, that we all might have very different views about the same book. However, criticizing the author because he made "the character of Alexander come across as vain, childish, aloof and self obsessed" seems to be somehow missing the point: this is EXACTLY what the author wanted to do, and, to these elements should also be added a (growing) tendancy to be paranoïd and magalomaniac.

These features go together with the traditional qualities that you can find in all of the sources. Pressfield clearly shows Alexander as almost insanely brave, leading from the front but "overdoing it", as he always tended to do. He also shows his military genius, Although here I may have wished for a few more qualifications because, when you look closely, you will realize that Alexander came very close to losing almost ALL of his battles, given the huge risks that he systematically took. By and large, this is the MODERN view of Alexander. He is portrayed as a high stakes gambler taking huge risks and putting everyone's life on the line, starting with his own, in the hope of huge rewards (at least while the Empire was being conquered).

Other commentators have complained about the book being written in the first person and of being dull because it was all about troop strengths, deployments and fighting. I can understand why they might have disliked this although I absolutly do NOT share their view. However, once the author had decided that he would write in the first person, then the consequence was that this would be essentially about WAR, campaigns and fighting.
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Format: Hardcover
(I've had other reviews where the wrong number of stars has shown - so for the record I'm giving this one 4 stars.)
In 'Alexander: Virtues of War', Steven Pressfield adopts the voice of Alexander the Great, to recount the history of his conquests. Alexander's listener is Itanes, his brother-in-law, the son of a Bactrian nobleman who has recently joined the corps of Royal Pages. Throughout the book we are subjected to detailed descriptions of all of Alexander's major battles, sieges and skirmishes.
Pressfield's first novel about Ancient Greece, 'Gates of Fire', remains one of the best historical novels I have read. Gritty with realism, and evocative of 5th century Greece. I was hugely disappointed with the follow-up, 'Tides of War', and somewhat mollified by 'Last of the Amazons', which I felt was a return nearly to the form of the first. I am undecided about 'Virtues of War'.
On the one hand, the battles are described in detail, although less viscerally than in Pressfield's previous novels. Where 'Gates of Fire' made you wince, 'Virtues of War' makes you appreciate the tactics. Pressfield describes the 'fog of war' extremely well, and you really get a sense of the chaos of battle; but you just don't get down and dirty in the thick of the blood and dust, and I never felt truly engaged emotionally. (Having said that, his description of the battle of Gaugamela goes a long way to rectifying this, but I still never got the emotional connection.) When I compare it with the fighting in 'Gates of Fire', 'Virtues of War' does, I'm afraid, pale in comparison.
I've focused purely on the battles so far, which leads me to one of the book's problems: it's all battles.
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