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Publisher's Summary

One man. Two armies. The fate of the ancient world in the balance. If history is the biography of extraordinary men, the life of Alcibiades (451 - 404 B.C.) comprises an indispensable chapter in the chronicle of the Western world. Kinsman of Pericles, protégé of Socrates, Alcibiades was acknowledged the most brilliant and charismatic personality of his day. Plutarch, Plato, and Thucydides have all immortalized him. As the pride of Achilles drove the course of the Trojan War, so Alcibiades' will and ambition set their stamp upon the Peloponnesian War - the 27-year civil conflagration between the Athenian empires, Sparta, and the Peloponnesian League. As a commander on land and sea, Alcibiades was never defeated. The destinies of Athens and her favored son were inextricably intertwined. Allied, they swept from victory to victory. Apart, he guided her foes to glory. Of the spell Alcibiades cast over his contemporaries, Aristophanes wrote that Athens "loves, and hates, and cannot do without him." To the end, their renown and ruin were indissoluble. Recounted by Alcibiades' captain of marines in a mesmerizing death-row confession, Tides of War is historical fiction at its finest.
©2000 Steven Pressfield (P)2000 Random House, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Thomas Allen on 08-03-08

Different Themes than Gates of Fire

Another excellent book by Steven Pressfield. But this time instead of dealing with the the themes of might and valor, Tides of War deals with betrayal, redemption, and forgiveness, and not just of others, but of one's self.

As the narration bounces from sources at the beginning, the story is a little hard to follow. But this only lasts for a short period of time. Then the story takes off.

The cascading effects of the wrongs people do against one another is at the forefront of this whole story. It's a vicious cycle that no one can stop.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Matthew on 02-06-06

Good, but doesn't sparkle.

Pressfield writes well and researches professionally. "Gates of Fire", the book before this one (though not necessary to read first) cracked with an energy that "Tides of War" never quite achieves. This book is interesting in its exploration of the wide canvas that was the Peleponisian (sp?) War, and of the character of Alcibiades, who, thorough cunning and generalship, fought for all three sides in the 30-year conflict, making each love him and despise him. However, the narrative device of telling the story through the remove of not one but two recollections tends to make the story less urgent and more "historical" feeling, rather than "immediate drama". While I loved the setting and the details of the story, I found it was easy to hit the "pause" button whenever something else called my attention. If you liked "Gates of War" this book might indeed be for you, although I wonder if it isn't better read than listened to. Those who like military themes, historical narratives and anything having to do with Ancient Greece will enjoy this book.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Mr. E. Sheffield on 03-28-17

Great for going deeper into the period.

A student quizzes his grandfather to recall the story of a soldier/assassin who fought with Alcebiades. This is Historical Fiction, it centers around Alcebiades and the war, and the democracy. Well researched, somewhat compelling if you have an interest in this period. Told through this prism of a companion of Alcebiades we track the events of this fratricidal war, it's an interesting and digestible way to learn the history of the characters.

I don't really *do* fiction so can't comment on it as a novel. But it's great as history, it made these historical characters relatable for me.

I think you need a decent understanding of the war already, to follow the narrative of this story. For example the author takes no time to explain the city states, if you are not already aware of terms like Lacedaemonian, Thrace, or Hellespont then much of this book might pass you by you will be wondering what is going on. So my recommendation: download first the audio book for "The Peloponnesian War" by "the Great Courses" it's on Audible , or listen to Donald Kegan's Yale lecture series which is on YouTube.

Very enjoyable if you want to go deeper into this interesting period of history of war and democracy.

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5 out of 5 stars
By Mr.Aziz on 06-05-16

Fabulous storytelling

Fabulous storytelling evocative of the politics, intrigue and drama of a bygone era steeped in the eternal conflict of personal loyalty and acting in the interests of the greater good. Thoroughly enjoyed it and David Jacobi's voice adds an air of gravitas and dignity that such a tale warrants and deserves.

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