Steven Pressfield; Historical Military Fiction at it's best
Steven Pressfield is an American author of historical fiction and non-fiction. His first best-selling book "The Legend of Bagger Vance" was made into the award-winning blockbuster movie of the same name, starring Will Smith, Matt Damon, and Charlize Theron, and he is equally famous for his second novel "Gates of Fire," the story of the Spartans at Thermopylae.
Pressfield's Underlying Theme:
The Spartans fighting at Thermopylae knowing their role is to die - British troops treating wounded German soldiers knowing they'd be captured - Israel launching an attack against 19-1 odds...
It's the story of the underdog against overwhelming odds; sometimes an outright victor (Israel 1967) or sometimes the Pyrrhic victory of the Spartan's whose deaths bought time for Greece to organize themselves and defeat the Persians at Salamis.
But while death in combat is an honorable death, Pressfield takes it to another step: of how one conducts himself. Similar to the Spartans who cleaned their shields and washed their hair in the evenings in order to maintain their professionalism, U.S. Marines shave daily in the combat zone- even in cold water; standards of behavior don't stop, you see. It's how the warrior conducts himself; it's both strength and honor.
While the circumstances change over the centuries, Pressfield's warriors do not; "Act for this alone; for the man who stands at your shoulder," says one in a theme repeated from the Spartans to the Israeli Defense Forces, while Pressfield describes the deaths of two Spartan sergeants "they went down not like the heroes of Homer...but like commanders, doing their last and dirtiest jobs.' How you die, Pressfield feels, is often determined by how you live.
From Long-Haul Driver to Best-Selling Author:
Steven Pressfield (b September 1943) is an American author of historical fiction and non-fiction, and screenplays.
Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, Pressfield graduated from Duke University in 1965 and enlisted in the Marine Corps the following year. Working a variety of jobs that included advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, attendant in a mental hospital, fruit-picker in Washington state, and screenwriter, Pressfield's experiences in gritty jobs and time as a Marine helped shape the Lance Corporal and Sergeant characters who make up his books.
Pressfield's first book, 'The Legend of Bagger Vance,' was made into a film of the same name, starring Will Smith and Matt Damon, directed by Robert Redford. His second, 'Gates of Fire', is about the battle of Thermopylae from the Spartan viewpoint. It is taught at the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico, the Naval Academy, and the U.S. Military Academy-West Point.
A prolific writer, Pressfield's most recent book is nonfiction "The Lion's Gate," (2014) in which he interviewed many veterans of Israel's famous "Six Day War" against the Arab states massing to overrun them.
* The Legend of Bagger Vance, a golfer searches for his 'perfect swing' in
both golf and life,(1995), ISBN 978-1-936891-10-8
* Gates of Fire, the Battle of Thermopylae, written from the Spartan lines
(1998), ISBN 0385492510
* Tides of War, Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian War (2000), ISBN
* Last of the Amazons,, Theseus, the legendary King of Athens, sets sail
to seek a race of female warriors (2002), ISBN 038550098X
* The Virtues of War, With Alexander the Great as he conquers the known
world (2004), ISBN 0385500998
* The Afghan Campaign, Alexander the Great in Afghanistan (2006), ISBN
* Killing Rommel (2008), a fictional account of a patrol of a British Long
Range Desert Group looking for Rommel during the North African Campaign.
* The Profession (2011), Military force for hire everywhere. Banks, Oil
companies, and multinational corporations employ mercenary forces to
control global chaos and protect their riches. ISBN 9780385528733
* The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative
Battles (2002), ISBN
* Do The Work (2011), ISBN 9781936719013
* The Warrior Ethos (2011), ISBN 9781936891009
* Turning Pro (2012), ISBN 9781936891030
* The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of First Novel (2013), ISBN
* The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War (2014), ISBN