This historical novel by Steven Pressfield is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read. It is a fascinating fictional account of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. The story is told through the sole Spartan survivor of the battle named Xeo. He is interrogated by the Persian King Xerxes on how an army numbering so few could ever possibly keep his 100,000 man strong army at bay. The story traces back to his upbringing in Sparta and the rigorous training that he endured. As the story continues it delves into concepts of honor, loyalty, leadership and a professional sense of soldierly duty that are so often under-employed in today’s military. As famously mentioned in the book, “Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie”.

another good read on the topic

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