Tides of War: A outlet sale Novel of Alcibiades new arrival and the Peloponnesian War outlet online sale

Tides of War: A outlet sale Novel of Alcibiades new arrival and the Peloponnesian War outlet online sale

Tides of War: A outlet sale Novel of Alcibiades new arrival and the Peloponnesian War outlet online sale

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In Tides of War, Steven Pressfield brings the historical precision and heartbreaking human scale that made his previous novel Gates of Fire an international bestseller to an even more epic saga of Greek strife and conflict.

One man.

Two armies.

The fate of the ancient world in the balance.

If history is the biography of extraordinary men, the life of Alcibiades (451-404 B.C.) comprises an indispensable chapter in the chronicle of the Western world. Kinsman of Pericles, protégé of Socrates, Alcibiades was acknowledged the most brilliant and charismatic personality of his day. Plutarch, Plato, and Thucydides have all immortalized him. As the pride of Achilles drove the course of the Trojan War, so Alcibiades'' will and ambition set their stamp upon the Peloponnesian War--the twenty-seven-year civil conflagration between the Athenian empires, Sparta, and the Peloponnesian league.

As a commander on land and sea, Alcibiades was never defeated. The destinies of Athens and her favored son were inextricably intertwined. Man and city mirrored each other in boldness, ambition, and vulnerability. Allied, they swept from victory to victory. Apart, he guided her foes to glory. Of the spell Alcibiades cast over his contemporaries, Aristophanes wrote that Athens "loves, and hates, and cannot do without him." To the end, their renown and ruin were indissoluble.

Recounted by Alcibiades'' captain of marines in a mesmerizing death-row confession, Tides of War is historical fiction at its finest--a multidimensional, flesh-and-blood renarration of one of history''s pivotal conflicts.

Amazon.com Review

After chronicling the Spartan stand at Thermopylae in his audacious Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield once again proves that it''s all Greek to him. In Tides of War, he tells the tale of Athenian soldier extraordinaire Alcibiades. Despite the vaunted claims for Periclean democracy, he is undoubtedly first among equals--a great warrior and an impressive physical specimen to boot: "The beauty of his person easily won over those previously disposed, and disarmed even those who abhorred his character and conduct." He is also a formidable orator, whose stump speeches are paradoxically heightened by what some might consider an impediment:

Even his lisp worked in Alcibiades'' favor. It was a flaw; it made him human. It took the curse off his otherwise godlike self-presentation and made one, despite all misgivings, like the fellow.
This tale of arms and the man requires two narrators. One, Jason, is an aging noble who serves as a sort of recording angel of the Athenian golden age. The other, Polymides, was long Alcibiades'' right-hand man, yet is now imprisoned for his murder.

As they were in his previous novel, Pressfield''s battle scenes are extraordinarily vivid and visceral. This time, however, many of these elemental clashes take place on water. "As far as sight could carry, the sea stood curtained with smoke and paved with warcraft. Immediately left, a battleship had rammed one of the vessels in the wall; all three of her banks were backing water furiously, to extract and ram again, while across the breach screamed storms of stones, darts, and brands of such density that the air appeared solid with steel and flame."

In addition to his gift for rendering patriotic gore, the author excels at quieter but no less deadly forms of combat. As Alcibiades'' star rises and falls and rises again, we are escorted directly into the snakepit of Athenian realpolitik. Bathing us in the details of a distant era, Pressfield is largely convincing. But it must be said that his diction exhibits a sometimes comical variegation, sliding from Homeric rhetoric to tough-guy speak to the sort of casual Anglicisms we might expect from Evelyn Waugh''s far-from-bright young things. No matter. Tides of War conquers by sheer storytelling prowess, reminding us that war was--and is--a highly addictive version of hell. --Darya Silver

From Publishers Weekly

After Pressfield''s stunning 1998 best-seller, Gates of Fire, which documented the Spartans'' heroic last stand at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., comes this follow-up epic novel of the Peloponnesian War, as Athens and Sparta slug it out for Greek hegemony during the Hellenic Age. Once again, Pressfield''s narrator is a condemned man, in this instance the Athenian soldier and assassin Polemides, who is awaiting execution for treason. Spanning the 27 years of conflict, famine and plague that marked the Peloponnesian War, Polemides'' death-row confession reveals the rise and fall of the powerful and mercurial Alcibiades, a brilliant general and shrewd politician, whose ego and ambition were as threatening to his jealous friends and allies as to his enemies. As his formerly trusted bodyguard, Polemides shows Alcibiades battling his enemies in his relentless pursuit of glory and power, only to die in exile at the hand of a familiar assassin. Despite his bloody victories on land and sea, Alcibiades changes sides too often to ensure his long-lasting legacy, and though over time he fights for the Athenians, Spartans, Persians and Thracians, he eventually discovers that he is an outcast and perceived as a danger to all of them. The voice of Polemides is ideal, for he relates this astounding, historically accurate tale with the hot, sweaty hack-and-stab awareness of an armored infantryman, the blood lust of a paid killer and the wisdom of a keen observer of complex and deadly Greek politics. Pressfield is a masterful storyteller, especially adept in his graphic and embracing descriptions of the land and naval battles, political intrigues and colorful personalities, which come together in an intense and credible portrait of war-torn ancient Greece.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The battle of Thermopylae doesn''t sound like best seller material, but Pressfield made it work in Gates of Fire. Here he moves on to Greek military leader Alcibiades (c.450-404 BCE).
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Taking place 50 years after the Spartan stand at Thermopylae, which was covered in Pressfield''s first book ( Gates of Fire, 1998), this work extends his saga of the Greeks in perhaps their most dramatic period. It is the time of Pericles, Sophocles, and Socrates. The city-state of Athens rose in power until it became a threat to Spartan dominance. Beyond the rest of the personalities that illuminated that period was a single outstanding leader whose ambition for power almost destroyed Athens: Alcibiades. He was a general who captured the Grecian esthetic: renowned for his strength and good looks as well as his brilliance on the battlefield. When he couldn''t incite Athens to fight Sparta, he went to the Spartans to wage war on the Athenians. Eventually he became such a threat to the city-state that it had him assassinated. The story is told in two voices: by Polemides, the assassin who served with Alcibiades, and by Jason, a noble who considered Polemides a villain yet eventually helped him to escape from prison. Pressfield''s historic fiction has the ability to captivate readers, letting them feel as if they have intimate knowledge of the times and people. This work is sure to expand his popularity and whet appetites for his next installment. Eric Robbins

From Kirkus Reviews

Pressfield produces an even greater spectacleand, in its honest, incremental way, an even greater heart-tuggerthan in his acclaimed tale of the battle of Thermopylae, Gates of Fire (1999). Jason, son of Alexicles, lived almost to 92, in the prime of that long life having fought for Athens and been close friend to Socrates. When a grandson asks him whether, of all those he''d known in his life, there had been ``one whom memory has driven deepest,'''' Jason responds immediately: yes, Polemides, the man who assassinated Alcibiades. Thus unfolds the most remarkable of tales, told partly in Jason''s own words and partly in the words of the imprisoned and treason-charged soldier Polemides asover the same few days that Socrates waits to drink the hemlockhe tells Jason the story of the many intertwinings of his own military life, during the ``thrice nine years'''' of the Peloponnesian War, with the life of that bold, brilliant, gifted, immeasurably ambitious leader, Alcibiades. The political complexities between Sparta and Athens, not to mention the cultural competition between them, are handled with a clarity that enlightens and captivates the reader at onceas Polemides becomes a mercy killer in the ghastly Great Plague in Athens early in the war; as Alcibiades all but single-handedly launches the Athenian fleet in its attack on Sicilyonly then, when he''s recalled on charges of treason, to abandon the fleet (and Polemides) to one of history''s most ungodly, cruel, costly defeats; and as the same Alcibiades afterward piles up one glorious naval victory after another in Asia and the Hellespont, returning to Athens in glory only later to be declared, through his enemies'' skilled manipulations of the demos, the greatest danger to her. On every page are color, splendor, sorrow, the unforgiving details of battle, daily life, and of the fighter''s lot. Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving.-- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

Praise for Tides of War:

"Pressfield''s attention to historic detail is exquisite, but he shines brightest in his graphic and brutal descriptions of battle and its horrific affects on soldier and civilian alike. This novel will remain with the reader long after the final chapter is finished."
-- Library Journal

"Pressfield is a masterful storyteller, especially adept in his graphic and embracing  descriptions of the land and naval battles, political intrigues and colorful personalities, which come together in an intense and credible portrait of war-torn Greece."
-- Publishers Weekly

"On every page are color, splendor, sorrow, the unforgiving details of battle, daily life, and of the fighter''s lot. Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"As he did in Gates of Fire...Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising battle scenes...but many moments of valor  and valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor. Even more impressively, he delivers a nuanced portrait of ancient Athens, complete with political skullduggery, overarching ambitions, and reflections on the nature of leadership and the pitfalls of imperialism."
-- Esquire

Praise for Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

"Pressfield''s powerful, historically accurate novel explores Spartan society and the nature of courage without ever losing its narrative momentum."
-- The New Yorker

"A first-rate storyteller with a first-rate story to tell. It is truly epic."
--Margaret George, author of The Memoirs of Cleopatra

"Intricate and arresting and, once begun, almost impossible to put down."
-- New York Daily News

"Pressfield brings the battle of Thermopylae to brilliant life, and he does for that war what Charles Frazier did for the Civil War in Cold Mountain."
--Pat Conroy

"Fascinating and exciting...worthy of the top prizes in literature."
-- Abilene Reporter-News

"A tale worthy of Homer, a timeless epic of man and war exquisitely researched and boldly written. Pressfield has created a new classic deserving of a place beside the very best of the old."
--Stephen Coonts

"An incredibly gripping, moving, and literate work of art."
--Nelson DeMille

From the Inside Flap

es of War, Steven Pressfield brings the historical precision and heartbreaking human scale that made his previous novel Gates of Fire an international bestseller to an even more epic saga of Greek strife and conflict.

One man.

Two armies.

The fate of the ancient world in the balance.

If history is the biography of extraordinary men, the life of Alcibiades (451-404 B.C.) comprises an indispensable chapter in the chronicle of the Western world. Kinsman of Pericles, protégé of Socrates, Alcibiades was acknowledged the most brilliant and charismatic personality of his day. Plutarch, Plato, and Thucydides have all immortalized him. As the pride of Achilles drove the course of the Trojan War, so Alcibiades'' will and ambition set their stamp upon the Peloponnesian War--the twenty-seven-year civil conflagration between the Athenian empires, Sparta, and the Peloponnesian league.

As a commander on land and sea, Alcib

From the Back Cover

Praise for Tides of War:

"Pressfield''s attention to historic detail is exquisite, but he shines brightest in his graphic and brutal descriptions of battle and its horrific affects on soldier and civilian alike. This novel will remain with the reader long after the final chapter is finished."
-- Library Journal

"Pressfield is a masterful storyteller, especially adept in his graphic and embracing descriptions of the land and naval battles, political intrigues and colorful personalities, which come together in an intense and credible portrait of war-torn Greece."
-- Publishers Weekly

"On every page are color, splendor, sorrow, the unforgiving details of battle, daily life, and of the fighter''s lot. Unabashedly brilliant, epic, intelligent, and moving."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"As he did in Gates of Fire...Pressfield serves up not just hair-raising battle scenes...but many moments of valor and valor and cowardice, lust and bawdy humor. Even more impressively, he delivers a nuanced portrait of ancient Athens, complete with political skullduggery, overarching ambitions, and reflections on the nature of leadership and the pitfalls of imperialism."
-- Esquire

Praise for Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

"Pressfield''s powerful, historically accurate novel explores Spartan society and the nature of courage without ever losing its narrative momentum."
-- The New Yorker

"A first-rate storyteller with a first-rate story to tell. It is truly epic."
--Margaret George, author of The Memoirs of Cleopatra

"Intricate and arresting and, once begun, almost impossible to put down."
-- New York Daily News

"Pressfield brings the battle of Thermopylae to brilliant life, and he does for that war what Charles Frazier did for the Civil War in Cold Mountain."
--Pat Conroy

"Fascinating and exciting...worthy of the top prizes in literature."
-- Abilene Reporter-News

"A tale worthy of Homer, a timeless epic of man and war exquisitely researched and boldly written. Pressfield has created a new classic deserving of a place beside the very best of the old."
--Stephen Coonts

"An incredibly gripping, moving, and literate work of art."
--Nelson DeMille

About the Author

Steven Pressfield is author of the international bestseller Gates of Fire, an epic novel of the battle of Thermopylae, and The Legend of Bagger Vance. He lives in Los Angeles.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

My Grandfather Jason

My grandfather, Jason the son of Alexicles of the district of Alopece, died just before sunset on the fourteenth day of Boedromion, one year past, two months prior to his ninety-second birthday. He was the last of that informal but fiercely devoted circle of comrades and friends who attended the philosopher Socrates.

The span of my grandfather''s years ran from the imperial days of Pericles, the construction of the Parthenon and Erechtheum, through the Great Plague, the rise and fall of Alcibiades, and the full tenure of that calamitous twenty-seven-year conflagration called in our city the Spartan War and known throughout greater Greece, as recorded by the historian Thucydides, as the Peloponnesian War.

As a young man my grandfather served as a sail lieutenant at Sybota, Potidaea, and Scione and later in the East as a trierarch and squadron commander at the battles of Bitch''s Tomb, Abydos (for which he was awarded the prize of valor and incidentally lost an eye and the use of his right leg), and the Arginousai Islands. As a private citizen he spoke out in the Assembly, alone save Euryptolemus and Axiochus, against the mob in defense of the Ten Generals. In his years he buried two wives and eleven children. He served his city from her peak of preeminence, mistress of two hundred tributary states, to the hour of her vanquishment at the hands of her most inclement foes. In short he was a man who not only witnessed but participated in most of the significant events of the modern era and who knew personally many of its principal actors.

In the waning seasons of my grandfather''s life, when his vigor began to fail and he could move about only with the aid of a companion''s arm, I took to visiting him daily. There appears ever one among a family, the physicians testify, whose disposition invites and upon whom falls the duty to succor its elderly and infirm members.

To me this was never a chore. Not only did I hold my grandfather in the loftiest esteem, but I delighted in his society with an intensity that frequently bordered upon the ecstatic. I could listen to him talk for hours and, I fear, tired him more severely than charity served with my inquiries and importunities.

To me he was like one of our hardy Attic vines, assaulted season after season by the invader''s torch and ax, blistered by summer sun, frost-jacketed in winter, yet unkillable, ever-enduring, drawing strength from deep within the earth to yield up despite all privations or perhaps because of them the sweetest and most mellifluent of wines. I felt keenly that with his passing an era would close, not alone of Athens'' greatness but of a caliber of man with whom we contemporary specimens stood no longer familiar, nor to whose standard of virtue we could hope to obtain.

The loss to typhus of my own dear son, aged two and a half, earlier in that season, had altered every aspect of my being. Nowhere could I discover consolation save in the company of my grandfather. That fragile purchase we mortals hold upon existence, the fleeting nature of our hours beneath the sun, stood vividly upon my heart; only with him could I find footing upon some stony but stabler soil.

My regimen upon those mornings was to rise before dawn and, summoning my dog Sentinel (or, more accurately, responding to his summons), ride down to the port along the Carriage Road, returning through the foothills to our family''s mains at Holm Oak Hill. The early hours were a balm to me. From the high road one could see the naval crews already at drill in the harbor. We passed other gentlemen upon the track to their estates, saluted athletes training along the roads, and greeted the young cavalrymen at their exercises in the hills. Upon completion of the morning''s business of the farm, I stabled my mount and proceeded on foot, alone save Sentinel, up the sere olive-dotted slope to my grandfather''s cottage.

I brought him his lunch. We would talk in the shade of the overlook porch, or sometimes simply sit, side by side, with Sentinel reclining on the cool stones between us, saying nothing.

"Memory is a queer goddess, whose gifts metamorphose with the passage of the years," my grandfather observed upon one such afternoon. "One cannot call to mind that which occurred an hour past, yet summon events seventy years gone, as if they were unfolding here and now."

I interrogated him, often ruthlessly I fear, upon these distant holdings of his heart. Perhaps for his part he welcomed the eager ear of youth, for once launched upon a tale he would pursue its passage, like the tireless campaigner he was, in detail to its close. In his day the scribe''s art had not yet triumphed; the faculty of memory stood unatrophied. Men could recite extended passages from the Iliad and Odyssey, quote stanzas of a hundred hymns, and relate passage and verse of the tragedy attended days previous.

More vivid still stood my grandfather''s recollection of men. He remembered not alone friends and heroes but slaves and horses and dogs, even trees and vines which had graven impress upon his heart. He could summon the memory of some antique sweetheart, seventy-five years gone, and resurrect her mirage in colors so immediate that one seemed to behold her before him, yet youthful and lovely, in the flesh.

I inquired of my grandfather once, whom of all the men he had known he adjudged most exceptional.

"Noblest," he replied without hesitation, "Socrates. Boldest and most brilliant, Alcibiades. Bravest, Thrasybulus, the Brick. Wickedest, Anytus."

Impulse prompted a corollary query. "Was there one whom memory has driven deepest? One to whom you find your thoughts returning?"

At this my grandfather drew up. How odd that I should ask, he replied, for yes, there was one man who had, for cause to which he could not give name, been of late much upon his mind. This individual, my grandfather declared, stood not among the ranks of the celebrated or the renowned; he was neither admiral nor archon, nor would his name be found memorialized among the archives, save as a dark and self-condemned footnote.

"Of all I knew, this man could not but be called the most haunted. He was an aristocrat of the district of Acharnae. I helped to defend him once, on trial for his life."

I was intrigued at once and pressed my grandfather to elaborate. He smiled, declaring that to launch upon this enterprise may take many hours, for the events of the man''s tale transpired over decades and covered on land and sea most of the known world. Such prospect, far from daunting me, made me the more eager to hear. Please, I entreated; the day is well spent, but let us at least make a beginning.

"You''re a greedy whelp, aren''t you?"

"To hear you speak, Grandfather, the greediest."

He smiled. Let us start, then, and see where the tale takes us.

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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
476 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Well researched but not engaging
Reviewed in the United States on November 5, 2020
Pressfield''s Gates of Fire was one of the top five books I have ever read. So I had high hopes for Tides of War. It was well researched which I appreciate, and as usual Pressfield brings to life the ancient world, but the story itself just failed to grab me. Some of it was... See more
Pressfield''s Gates of Fire was one of the top five books I have ever read. So I had high hopes for Tides of War. It was well researched which I appreciate, and as usual Pressfield brings to life the ancient world, but the story itself just failed to grab me. Some of it was interesting, but ultimately after slogging to about two thirds of the way through I just put it down. It was just too much of a chore. Although I''m sure the historical Alcibiades was a fascinating person, I just didn''t care about him or anybody else in this book. After reading two thirds of the book, I didn''t care - at all - what was going to happen. So, to me the book was a fail. Too much minutiae in battle after battle after battle that all ended up blending together uninterestingly. Three stars for the obviously deep research and smart vocabulary only.
5 people found this helpful
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Sidi
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great entry point into one awful war and one fascinating man.
Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2019
The story of Alcibiades is not one that is that popular, certainly not with modern audiences, at least. He was a fascinating character and as is the case with most of Pressfield''s work this gives you insight into the man, the war, and the times. All three of which are... See more
The story of Alcibiades is not one that is that popular, certainly not with modern audiences, at least. He was a fascinating character and as is the case with most of Pressfield''s work this gives you insight into the man, the war, and the times. All three of which are fascinating and inspired me to go read Thucydies and other books about the period.
4 people found this helpful
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MFH
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic book. The first Pressfield novel I read
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2016
Fantastic book. The first Pressfield novel I read, and I still think his best (I''ve read them all!). Epic in scope, with three distinct "acts" playing out over a 27-year long war. Learned a great deal about the Peloponnesion War and Alcibiades, which I admittedly... See more
Fantastic book. The first Pressfield novel I read, and I still think his best (I''ve read them all!). Epic in scope, with three distinct "acts" playing out over a 27-year long war. Learned a great deal about the Peloponnesion War and Alcibiades, which I admittedly knew nothing about coming into this (though I have a good deal of classical greek knowledge in general). One of the best historical fiction pieces I''ve read, and Alcibiades is definitely one of history''s greatest and most intriguing men.
14 people found this helpful
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Steve Dietrich
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Another Pressfield Home Run
Reviewed in the United States on May 15, 2014
Discovery of the last year has been Pressfield''s wonderful array of well written books including Gates of Fire Killing Rommel The Authentic Swing The War of Art Tides of War has Pressfield''s always present skill as both a writer and... See more
Discovery of the last year has been Pressfield''s wonderful array of well written books including

Gates of Fire
Killing Rommel
The Authentic Swing
The War of Art

Tides of War has Pressfield''s always present skill as both a writer and storyteller. He has a unique ability to develop characters and take the reader into the action where every word is carefully chosen from a vast and rich vocabulary.

The story is awesome as are the characters. These are stories our young men ( and women) should be reading. The only problem is that he book is so hard to put down. It''s rich in history and color of the area and times. Unfortunately it also serves as a reminder of the shallowness of so much of which passes for contemporary culture.

Highly recommended.
10 people found this helpful
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Massimo Pigliucci
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
uneven, but ultimately satisficing
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2011
I read this book because not only I am fascinated by historical novels in general (when they are largely accurate, as in this case), but because I am particularly interested in the history of ancient Athens and the role played in it by Alcibiades, the friend of Socrates,... See more
I read this book because not only I am fascinated by historical novels in general (when they are largely accurate, as in this case), but because I am particularly interested in the history of ancient Athens and the role played in it by Alcibiades, the friend of Socrates, general, and eventually fugitive who played on multiple sides of the long conflict involving Athens, Sparta and the Persians. Alcibiades is naturally the major character of the book, though we get to know him only indirectly, through the narration of another soldier who is about the be executed by the Athenian government because he carried out that government''s order to kill the former general (don''t ask, just read the book). Steven Pressfield knows what he is talking about here, and one does get both a good sense of the historical period and the big picture of the narrated events, as well as a surprisingly personal feeling for what it must have been like to be involved in night battles over land and bloody encounters at sea. Still, the book is uneven, and it slows down to such a crawling pace early on that I simply put it down with no intention of restarting it. Eventually I did, and I''m glad of that decision. Be prepared to march valiantly through some narrative that is too detailed and largely irrelevant, but expect to be rewarded with a novel whose memory lingers for quite a while.
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D. Roberts
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The ruin of Athens
Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2002
For the past few weeks, I have been listening to the soft tones of Chopin''s NOCTURNES while being transported back to the Golden Age of Athens. The catalyst for this expedition has been Stephen Pressfield, and I am indebted to him for the journey. Alcibiades is... See more
For the past few weeks, I have been listening to the soft tones of Chopin''s NOCTURNES while being transported back to the Golden Age of Athens. The catalyst for this expedition has been Stephen Pressfield, and I am indebted to him for the journey.
Alcibiades is frequently dismissed in collegiate history classrooms as being nothing more than an Alexander the Great wannabe. After reading this book, I can see just how un-fair an assessment that is. Pressfield''s presentation of Alcibiades is nothing short of magnificent. The novel gives the reader a genuine sense of just how bigger-than-life a character he must have been to the Athenians. TIDES OF WAR is his (a bit fictionalized) story.
Some reviewers have noted that the presentation of the narrative is a bit tedious. While this may be true, I think it adds to the aura of the story. The tale is handed down from the (supposed) assasin of Alcibiades, down to a boy''s grandfather, then down to the boy himself. While this approach is a bit burdensome, we need to remember the epoch in which the story is told; somewhere between the death of Socrates (399BC) and the end of the Classical age (338BC, with the defeat of Athens by Philip of Macedon). Hence, the method of narration chosen by Pressfield puts all of this into a sort of "portrait" upon which we can look back on. This was the era in which the denizens of Athens asked themselves over & over again how in the world they managed to lose the Peloponnesian War. The hand-me-down method of story-telling also reminds me somewhat of Plato''s dialogues, particularly the PHAEDO and the SYMPOSIUM.
The first half of this book, for the most part, is almost entirely factual. Pressfield''s handling of the Sicilian expedition is truly extraordinary. In the tradition of Thucydides, the author captures the eloquent and fervent rhetoric of the debate between Nicias and Alcibiades. With trenchant attention to detail, he sets before us the horror of battle, as well as the egregious demise of the Athenians unlucky enough to die in the Syracusian quarries.
The 2nd half of the book, however, is highly fictional. I am quite certain that The THIRTY did not have a hand in his assasination. That said, there is nothing wrong with fudging history a bit; historical novels are not meant to be 100% accurate.
A nice feature of the book is its nexus with the dialogues of Plato that cover the trial, conviction and death of Socrates. For this reason, I would recommend that people read Plato''s EUTHYPHRO, APOLOGY, CRITO and PHAEDO prior to reading this novel. Also, Thucydides'' PELOPONNESIAN WAR also makes for pre-requisite reading. The novel will make a lot more sense once you''ve read these.
All in all, another fine effort and rousing novel by an author who is quickly emerging as the greatest historical-novelist of the present age. All admirers and aficionados of classical history will be pleased with what they find within these pages. Therefore, I implore you to pop in your CD of Chopin and indulge yourself in the life of one of Socrates'' favorite students!
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Carl Reddick
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Keeping the STORY in history
Reviewed in the United States on March 5, 2008
My take on this work of fiction is that it revealed another facet of the ''traitor'' Alcibiades, the guy who fought for and against Athens, had more adventures than Indiana Jones could have ever imagined, and yet was portrayed, not as a cartoon, but as a very real and very... See more
My take on this work of fiction is that it revealed another facet of the ''traitor'' Alcibiades, the guy who fought for and against Athens, had more adventures than Indiana Jones could have ever imagined, and yet was portrayed, not as a cartoon, but as a very real and very complicated historical figure. Certainly this is not a work of scholarship but the research demanded of the novel was epic, in itself. The military locations, politics, and changing ''tides'' of the course of history maintained an excellent linear perspective. The characters were fleshed out and, to the extent necessary in this work of fiction, historically accurate. The descriptions of the seaports, tools of the military, and hardships suffered on all side were well studied and presented in a very readable manner

Bottom line... You need to know Sophicles from Socrates and have a basic knowledge of the Peloponnesian war before you can wring you full monies-worth of enjoyment from this book. It requires patience to slog through the Greek names. That being said, once you finish this semi-fictional account of a very real historical person your appetite for more information will be whetted in a way you won''t belive. After this book, then, move on to Donald Kagan''s work THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR (see all my reviews if you like Greco-Roman history)
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M. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent historical novel about a tremendously important figure in the Peloponnesian Wars
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2014
Wonderful historical novel about Alcibiades, the monumentally egotistical, charming and talented Athenian who played a huge part in determining the outcome of the Peloponnesian Wars. In some ways his ability to manipulate with charm and rhetoric exposed the inherent flaws... See more
Wonderful historical novel about Alcibiades, the monumentally egotistical, charming and talented Athenian who played a huge part in determining the outcome of the Peloponnesian Wars. In some ways his ability to manipulate with charm and rhetoric exposed the inherent flaws in Athenian democracy, and perhaps in democracy in general.

This book doesn''t dwell on the political theory, though. it''s exciting, well-researched and the characters seem real, or at least plausible. I found it hard to put down and wished there were more Stephen Pressfield novels about Ancient Greece (there is his book about Thermopylae, thank goodness.)
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Roy Stedall-Humphryes
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
An excellent read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2020
I have great admiration for Steven Pressfield’s, research and writing. As with ‘The Gates of Fire’ the ‘Tides of War’ did not disappoint. As a reader I was thrown back into the forth century BC and felt the sweat, blood and horror of the Pelopennesian war and the...See more
I have great admiration for Steven Pressfield’s, research and writing. As with ‘The Gates of Fire’ the ‘Tides of War’ did not disappoint. As a reader I was thrown back into the forth century BC and felt the sweat, blood and horror of the Pelopennesian war and the frustrations of the political machination of the forces governing that acient Athenian democracy. One can see similar machinations developing in today’s democracies and here lies the danger. This is a serious read for those who are interested in this period of history although this is a work of fiction, the main events and personalities are historical facts. I recommend this book absolutely.
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V. Southern
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Stunning proposition of Greek history, but...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 21, 2021
Look, Steven Pressfield is a writer to admire in many ways but this book drags, drags a lot and although in awe of the scholarship and quality of writing I simply could not summon the psychic energy to finish it.
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K. Newman
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Creative Masterpiece
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2008
Having read ''Gates of Fire'' I found myself equally impressed by the scholarship and detail of Pressfield''s account of the complicated events of the Pelopennesian War and ultimate defeat of the Athenian democratic ideal. True this book is a read requiring more of its readers...See more
Having read ''Gates of Fire'' I found myself equally impressed by the scholarship and detail of Pressfield''s account of the complicated events of the Pelopennesian War and ultimate defeat of the Athenian democratic ideal. True this book is a read requiring more of its readers than Gates of Fire in terms of the scope of the conflict and political machinations of the characters but their personalities commit themselves to your memory in the same way and demand your attention and empathy. Pressfield writes like a poet and a philosopher, requiring his audience to engage with the intellectual concepts of his re-created world. It is not designed to be a superficial, blood-and-gore romp and if read as such will leave the reader confused and unsatisfied. It is about the lengths to which necessity drives a man and what he is prepared to endure to realize his dreams and live with honour.
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Darren9
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It should have been great...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 14, 2018
I’m big into history. I like to read a decent non fiction historical narrative followed by a good book to cement the characters and events in my mind.The story of Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian War needs Hollywood treatments it that interesting. But this book had the most...See more
I’m big into history. I like to read a decent non fiction historical narrative followed by a good book to cement the characters and events in my mind.The story of Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian War needs Hollywood treatments it that interesting. But this book had the most awful narrative style I’ve ever encountered. Your hearing stories told by someone 4 times removed. It makes it utterly tedious and unclear what’s going on. On the US site several 1 star reviews give major props to his previous gates of fire. So this isn’t personal against the author.
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Bill Ogden
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2020
Enjoyed reading the story about the Spartan five hundred, brought it to life
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