The Virtues of War

  • by Steven Pressfield
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 11 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.) ascended to the throne of Macedon at the age of 20. He fought his greatest battles, including the conquest of the mighty Persian Empire, before he was 25, and died at the age of 33, still undefeated by any enemy. His reputation as a supreme warrior and leader of men is unsurpassed in the annals of history. In the brilliantly imagined first-person voice of Alexander the Great, acclaimed novelist Steven Pressfield brings to life his epic battles, his unerring command of his forces, and the passions and ambitions that drove him. A full-blooded, multi-dimensional portrait, The Virtues of War captures Alexander's complex character. No one tells of battles as brilliantly as Pressfield, and here he vividly describes the seminal conflicts of Alexander's career, revealing the tactics behind them and capturing the blood, heat, and terror of the battlefield.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thrilling

I have listened to this book over and over and over again....magnificent!
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- Dustin

Very good - in it's own way

(I give a good book 3 stars out of 5, so 4 out of 5 means very good!)

This book isn't quite what I expected, but it is still well worth a listen.

What it's not is historical fiction in the more traditional format - the narrative moves around quite a bit, and unless you are already familiar with Alexander's battles and wider story, you'll struggle to keep pace.

But I don't think it's trying to be that type of historical fiction. What it is - and does very well - is re-create the main battles that he fought and won. Each account lasts well over an hour, really drawing the listener in to the action. The rest of the book is more like a first person diary of key moments in Alexander's life, and why he made the decisions he did. There are several speeches included - I'm not sure how closely they resemble what we already know, but they certainly felt atmospheric.

A very minor criticism would be that the narrator - whilst giving good pace to the story and keeping the listener engaged throughout - pronounced one or two names very differently to the recognised format. Perhaps there's no way of knowing how these should sound! But it did throw me a bit....

Overall, it's excellent at re-creating the military aspects of Alexander's conquests, and explaining what drove him ever further forward. Highly recommended if you are already familiar with the Alexander story.
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- P. E. Haynes

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-10-2004
  • Publisher: Books on Tape