Gates of Fire Essay

Submitted By boogieboy123
Words: 558
Pages: 3

Wow. The book is filled with intense scenes and not only the battlefield ones. This is one of those rare books that I would finish a section and have to blink a few times and shake my head to reorient myself to the fact that I wasn’t there, in the book anymore, but still back in my own little house, 2500 years later. I never felt that I was getting a dry, fact filled history lesson about which I’d be quizzed when it was finished. Instead the story and the characters came to life and I felt like I knew these people. I liked how you used the conceit of explaining all this to the Persian king as a way of showing the 21st C reader what went on in these mens’ heads and hearts. You show how money and riches meant nothing to them so the blandishments of the Persian king were worthless – they wanted to live as free men rather than as pampered and decorated lapdogs (I can almost hear Mel Gibson yelling freeeeeedom). And Spartans weren’t merely fighting for themselves but for all of Greece and its freedom. Well, maybe not for the helots they kept as slaves themselves.

I loved the (sometimes crude) humor — they’re soldiers in a time of war and you do or say whatever will get you through. The battle descriptions are graphic — very graphic but not much worse than what’s in the Iliad. And we are talking about a battle in which thousands died by sword, spear, arrow and other various messy methods. I also enjoyed how you wrote the book kinda, sorta in the style of Homer. It takes a little bit of getting used to and isn’t a fast read but it sounds great to the ear.

I also appreciated the inclusion of the women of Sparta — no shirkers themselves. They would be the first ones out shaming the men into doing their duty for their city (and that’s what it was all about for these people — the survival of the city first) if that was what was needed. I have to say I shed a tear when Leonidas confessed his criteria for selection of the 300. So much is said about…