Customer Reviews for

Last of the Amazons

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Pressfield Keeps Getting Better

This is the third Steven Pressfield book I've read, behind Gates of Fire and Tides of War, and I have to say he has improved consistently. Gates of Fire was a timeless tale of valor and sacrifice but the characters seemed one-dimensional and Pressfield omitted the negat...
This is the third Steven Pressfield book I've read, behind Gates of Fire and Tides of War, and I have to say he has improved consistently. Gates of Fire was a timeless tale of valor and sacrifice but the characters seemed one-dimensional and Pressfield omitted the negative aspects of Spartan life. In Tides of War, the characters are more realistic, except for Alcibiades, and you can understand the motivations behind their actions. In both stories the battle scenes are riveting, as they are in Last of the Amazons. Nobody can put you into the middle of an ancient battle like Pressfield, except for maybe Xenophon and he was in the battles he describes. Last of the Amazons tells the story of the shared fate of the Amazonian and Athenian nations. One would go on to extinction and eventually mythology while the other would become the template for western civilization. A lot of people are impressed by the nobility of the Amazonians but I found myself identifying with the tenacity of the Athenians. They didn't fight out of honor or courage, they fought because they had no choice. They didn't succeed because of their skills on the battle field but because they were willing to do the grunt work that their opponents were not willing to do. In the real world, I think battles and wars are often won this way.

posted by Anonymous on June 1, 2005

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Slow start and a great ending

I am an avid fan of Steven Pressfield, having read The Afghan Campaign ( a must read for anyone who wonders why we are having so much difficulty in our conflict in that country) and,The Gates of Fire. Presently I am reading The Virtues of War. Unlike the aforementioned ...
I am an avid fan of Steven Pressfield, having read The Afghan Campaign ( a must read for anyone who wonders why we are having so much difficulty in our conflict in that country) and,The Gates of Fire. Presently I am reading The Virtues of War. Unlike the aforementioned books, The Last Amazon lacked anything that held my interest until page 104. In fact I nearly gave up on the book until that point. From page 105 to the finish, I was hooked and could hardly put the book down. I was near tears on finishing this book. If like me, you find the first several chapters less than exciting, please hang in there

posted by 979007 on July 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Last of the Amazons is an interesting combination of the histori

    Last of the Amazons is an interesting combination of the historical style Pressfield is known for and the action-packed story telling that marks most of his novels. Unlike Gates of Fire, which is the most similar of his works I could liken it to, Last of the Amazons is more mythological than historical. The plot gets lost in the action from time to time, but that's fairly standard for Pressfield and nothing fans of the genre will be turned off by.

    As books about Amazons go, this is definitely one of the best out there. If you're looking for quintessential Pressfield ancient Greek fiction, I'd recommend Gates of Fire. If you're looking for another book about Amazons with similar mythology, I'd recommend Anaxilea Amazon Princess.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2004

    A beautiful blend of history and mythology

    Pressfield does not appear on the shelves devoted for science fiction and fantasy. In very important ways, he is operating in a different arena. We believe this is due to the fact that Pressfield¿s earlier books dealt specifically with historical events and only now is he moving to the more speculative realm of mythology. But Pressfield is not doing anything different than the many authors attempting to write about the mythology surrounding King Arthur (which are, of course, legion). What is refreshing is that Pressfield, who already is identified as a good scholar and authority on classical literature, has made an offering to the realm of speculative fiction and that elevates the entire genre. Its 5 is deserved (even if a touch disappointing) and it is a welcome breath of new possibilities to serve as examples for other authors not to mention a solace of respectability for the genre. WHO SHOULD READ THIS: It¿s hard for we men to decide what is good for women, but female readers, we believe¿and most especially young women¿will identify with Amazons and read it with great relish. Fans of Pressfield¿s earlier books will also find the shift to mythology engaging and refreshing. High school and perhaps introductory college courses could do much worse than assigning Amazons as part of the regular course syllabus. We¿re great believers in historical fiction in general and this is a splendid blend of mythology and history. WHO SHOULD PASS: The language is extremely formal and nobody in the book laughs much nor is having a particularly good life. There is a great deal of bloodshed. Moreover, there is a pervasive pall of grief cast over the entire book. If you¿re looking for something optimistic, fun, or something that will cause you to laugh, then go somewhere else. If your urge to read is centered around narrative perspective then you¿ll also be rather disappointed with this book. This book is for classical scholars, historians, and lovers of mythology and/or Greek philosophy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2002

    Doesn't Quite Match Gates of Fire

    Seeking a reprise of Steven Pressfield's marvelously executed GATES OF FIRE, I happily ordered this book shortly after it came out. And it proved to be nicely done, no doubt about it. Yet it was somewhat overwritten, I fear, and evidenced a loss of that authorial discipline which may come on the heels of previous successes, when one, who has written some bang-up bestsellers, feels he is free to stretch his artistic wings in new and unheralded ways. This tale is told in a multiplicity of voices, all filtered through a single voice, and is, therefore, rather complex in its unfolding, as an old woman of Athens recounts to her female audience her recollections of Amazon history and prowess, mostly recalled through the eyes of others who were participants in the story and who subsequently relayed their recollections to her. This device, while intriguing, was somewhat tirsome and, truth to tell, not entirely convincing. Though the tale moved forward smartly enough most of the time, it faltered, I think, as it approached its end and Pressfield sought to sustain the narrative beyond its natural reach. It seemed, in fact, to go on interminably as each chapter which should have ushered in a dramatic end to the tale was succeeded by another and a further development. There is a surprise waiting on the final pages but by the time I'd gotten to it, I'd nearly lost interest. In truth, Pressfield has here done a very nice job of recreating what might have been the world of the Amazons on the southern steppes of today's Russia, and that clash of cultures which may have occurred when Bronze Age Greek adventurers stumbled across them, as seems to be echoed in the remnants of old Greek legend, but his story is over the top in the end. He takes too long to spin out the tale and the complex artifice he has adopted for the telling works against the matter. More, his characters never spring fully to life. I could not easily differentiate Damon from Elias, or even the idealized Theseus (with whom I could never entirely empathise) from Prince Atticus, while Eleuthera and Selene and Antiope and Hyppolita all seemed to me little more than archetypes. The writing, indeed, was expansively poetic and in places well-wrought enough to move me but there was too much of this, as well. Over and over again, the narrators, Selene or Damon, through the voice of Bones, repeat the same chant-like litany of names and peoples. It grew to be too much and overly distracting. In sum, I am led to conclude that Pressfield, riding the crest of his recent successes, has here let himself go artistically . . . and who is to nay-say such a successful writer? Unwilling or unable to bring his narrative to a natural conclusion, he lets it spin out too long, with apparent ending after apparent ending, until the reader (or this reader at least) grows tired of the effort. While the first half was brisk and enjoyable to read, the second, with its war against Athens, was much slower, despite the action on the field, and marred by an overemphasis on the military campaign to the detriment of its participants' characters. He did, as already noted however, do a very fine job of bringing the legendary Amazon nation to life, even if his characters were less than real. It's painful to be so critical here since I am a fan of Pressfield since GATES OF FIRE, but I suppose it is hard to sustain the champion's pace all the time. SWM

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2002

    Pressfield always impresses

    Pressfield has once again not only entertained me but educated me. After reading this book, I felt nothing but complete admiration for the Amazon race (just as I did for the Spartans after reading Gates of Fire and the Athenians after reading Tides of War). The book was not as good as Pressfield's classic Gates of Fire (he, understandably, may never again hit upon such greatness), but it is very good. The last thirty pages flipped by in a blur as I got so caught up in the story's conclusion. The only reason I did not give the book five stars is because the way Pressfield used more than one narrator is confusing at times (especially at the beginning before I could figure out exactly what was going on). Overall, Last of the Amazons is highly recommended. I hope Pressfield continues writing ancient historical fiction.

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    Posted October 15, 2011

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