The Virtues of War Review
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The Alexander from the movie is a far cry from the one in The Virtues of War. This guy is sure of himself, gallant, a deep thinker, and motivated by a sense of his place in history. Loyal, but not in that way. Fair to his men and an admirer of women, the Alexander that Steven Pressfield tells about is one that the reader would want to be friends with—or to at least have on their side when the chips were down.

Pressfield paints a picture of Alexander based in part on documents from his reign, but he also uses things that are not exactly fact. This synthesis of fact, supposition, and outright fiction lets him paint a very human picture of the legendary ruler. Alexander has been poked and prodded for centuries because of his accomplishments as a leader and explorer. So many books have been written that it seemed impossible to come with something original to hook today’s reader.

The creative twist that makes this book so good is that it's written in first person. This pseudo autobiography is more of a stroll down memory lane by Alexander. He's telling the story of his feats, being recited by the man himself to his young and impressionable brother-in-law, Itanes. Set at the start of the closing act of Alexander’s life, it goes back to his training as a boy to become a warrior and successor to his father, and it leads up to his army refusing to keep fighting.

The Virtues of War is a great book that pulls the reader into Alexander’s powerful persona. There are times when the author plays a bit fast and loose with the historical facts, but he admits that in the beginning, so he can be forgiven for it. I’d recommend this as a book for the guy who enjoys a life that's well lived.

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