Tides of War: A Novel of Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian War

Tides of War: A Novel of Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian War

by Steven Pressfield
3.9 36

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Tides of War: A Novel of Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian War 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an old warhorse I can attest to the accuracy of Mr. Pressfield's insights. He is a superb author, with an uncanny ability to present historical fact in the venue of the novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a connoisseur of both ancient Greek history and historical fiction, I approached Mr. Pressfield's newest book with as much anticipation as I did his masterpiece, Gates of Fire. It is often unfair to draw comparisons between works, but I think Mr. Pressfield probably thought success with Thermopylae would extend to the Pelopennesus. I would say he hit the mark, but not strongly. Often I felt confused by his narrative flow, and, unlike the story of the 300, I felt that there were really no admirable characters this time around to make the story engaging. As a hero, Alcibiades was less like Achilles than he was like Gilgamesh...a misunderstood demigod walking amongst a scared and sometimes jealous community. Add this in with the fact that, instead of dealing with a time-focussed event like the Stand of the Spartans at Thermopylae , Pressfield's story must cover nearly three decades of important events, you can see where he might be led astray. Oftentimes it seemed as if Socrates' imminent execution was a bigger subplot, for instance, than Polemides'. Ah, well. I gave this four stars on
Guest More than 1 year ago
Steven Pressfield himself declared that Tides of War was his least critically acclaimed book as it is so different from Gates of Fire. While the latter had characters who were admirable except for the somewhat villain Polynikes. Yet Tides of War is a fascinating book. With Pressfield I have decided not to focus on the battles like the 8th grader. Instead it is the characters that make the book moving. Here you see Polemides struggle with the loss of the majority of his family. He slips into the world of prostitues and drinking to ignore his problems. To see this is amazing and probably the best part of the book. As mentioned before Alciabades wasn't supposed to be a likeable character and you cannot speculate on if he didn't exist the war would be over sooner. Alciabades slips from one group to the next to achieve fame but eventually he must accept that he is an outcast. This book is on par with Gates of Fire maybe possibly less as the characters there are more enjoyable however both create a feeling of sensation for days. However with Tides of War it took a few days if you really focus on it to see the conflicts Polemides has within himself. Highly recommended to all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A complex and layered tale, this one tracks the career of the ancient Athenian leader, Alcibiades, over the course of the 27 year struggle between Athens and Sparta for control of Hellas that was known as the Pelopennesian War. Based largely on Thucydides' History of the Pelopennesian War, Pressfield recounts the life and times of this charismatic and compelling kinsman of Pericles through the recollections of the man who was hired by Sparta to assassinate him. In this 'as told to' narrative, the killer, awaiting trial, tells his story to a man named Jason who he has asked to defend him. Awaiting his day in the courts of Athens, in the same prison where Socrates sits condemned to death, the assassin, Polemides, recalls his own career and the many times it crossed paths with the brilliant Alcibiades. In the course of his story we get an in-depth look at the ravages and viscissitudes of war as Athens pursued its struggle against the obdurate Spartans who controlled the Pelopennesian Greek heartland and had never been defeated on the battlefield. Like Alcibiades, the Athenians are bold, clever and energetic as they develop and fight for an overseas empire that makes them richer, and stronger militarily, than their stay-at-home Spartan cousins. Into this mix, after famine and plague have laid Athens low while under siege by the Spartans and their allies, Alcibiades steps. He convinces his mercurial countrymen to fund and support a war against the Greek colony of Syracuse in Sicily to the west, thereby outflanking the Spartans. But just as his campaign is getting off to a brilliant start, Alicbiades' enemies at home cause him to be recalled to face charges of sacrilege. Fearing the worst, he bolts to the Spartans. Without Alicibiades, the Syracusan adventure collapses. But Alcibiades soon runs afoul of the Spartan king, Agis, over an indiscretion with the king's wife, and must flee again, this time to Persia. Called home at last by his desperate countrymen, Alcibiades again takes charge of the war against Sparta, turning the tables on the Pelopennesian city-state in a remarkable series of brilliant military campaigns. But just as before, Alcibiades' enemies, fearing his growing success and dominance, conspire to bring him down. Bringing lawsuits and initiating investigations against him, they prompt the Athenian citizenry to finally turn against him by denying him continued funding for the war. After 11 months of continuous victories, Alcibiades sees the handwriting on the wall, realizing that he cannot outlast the Spartans (who are supported by a seemingly endless stream of Persian gold). And so he chucks it all again and quits the field for exile. Replacing him with a committee of generals (to prevent any one of them from becoming too preeminent), the Athenians continue their victories (albeit without Alcibiades' consistency and panache) until a freak storm, after one battle, claims the lives of thousands of their countrymen on the high seas. Recalled to face charges of negligence, those generals who cannot flee are tried, condemned to death and cruelly executed. Bereft of its best leadership and left with only second-stringers who are afraid to make a move for fear of being similarly condemned by the fickle Athenian populace, Athens at last goes down to defeat before the stolid and stubborn Spartans who are led by the scheming and relentless Lysander, a general who may be Alcibiades' only equal on the battlefield . . . and off. Alcibiades in exile dreams of a third comeback but the Spartans are set on preventing that. And so Polemides recalls his final charge, to find and slay the man he served with, and under, a man he had grown to both love and hate by turns. Alcibiades is building a third army of Thracian tribesmen in the north and it is there that Polemides initially goes to find him. This tale suffers from its complex narrative structure no less than from the complex series of events on which it is hung. S
Amon_101 More than 1 year ago
Another great book by Mr. Pressfield. The characters leap off the pages, especially Polemides and Alcibiades. If you know at least a little of the history of the Peloponnesian War, it makes the book that much more enjoyable. The more you know of the history of Alcibiades, the more you can appreciate the book, and the way Mr. Pressfield is able to give life to someone who lived and died almost 2500 years ago. If you enjoy historical fiction, I strongly recommend picking up a couple of Steven Pressfield's book.
barry58 More than 1 year ago
Tides of War is another wonderful story by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield is a fantastic author who creates full and enjoyable characters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was just as good as Gates of Fire! Anyone who disagrees should read again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IF I COULD GET MY MONEY BACK I WOULD i just started this book and am bored tearless the names are hard to keep straight,very disjointed in the telling of the story. Will need to read a couple of times maybe to figure what the h!!! Is going on Very disapointed in this book and I love historical novels fiction or not if you are intrested in greek history skip this book
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