Gates of Fire Book Report

Gates Of Fire Book Report Title: Gates Of Fire LCpl Yaccarine A. Jared Author: Steven Pressfield Publisher: Turtleback Books Published: 1999 This book is about the Spartans warrior culture and how it ties into the Marine Corps values, and the present day warrior culture of our Marine Corps. My opinion on this book is that it is a great and interesting read that captures the attention of the reader and ties in ideally to our Marine Corps values. It depicts perfectly on what it is to be a warrior whether it is past, present, or future.

I think that every Marine should read this book or at least look into the history of the Spartans and their dedication to their way of life and culture of war fighting. I strongly believe the book should remain on the Commandants reading list. Introduction: My book report is on “Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield. He was a prior Marine leaving the Marine Corps in 1966, he was inspired to write this book based of the resemblance he saw with the Marines he served with and the ones he met presently and the warrior culture of the Spartans.

His book has been taught in multiple places of military significance including the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico, and it is added to the curriculum of the Naval War College. The book itself is about the legendary battle of Thermopylae and the three hundred Spartans who fought that battle knowing that the outcome was certain death. When reading the book you can clearly tell the levels of Honor, Courage, and Commitment these men had, and how they were willing to sacrifice everything for their homeland.

After reading this book readers will clearly see how the author found the link between the Spartans, and the Marine Corps. Body: The book starts off describing the very basics of the Spartan culture, what makes them Spartans, how they are made, and the trials they had to face to earn their place amongst the other Spartans. When Spartans are born from the day of birth they are inspected, the ones who seem weak or unfit are killed to preserve the warrior culture. From a early age the children are taken away from their parents and put through a series of trials, one of which is to kill a slave.

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At a young age the children are already forced to kill, steal, and survive in a merciless environment that in the future will give them the mental fortitude to be amongst the greatest warriors known to history. At the age of eighteen they are thrown into the wilderness to fend for themselves, with nothing but will they must do this, and if they can make it back to their society they will be official Spartans. The main character of the book King Leonidas is the one who ultimately decides to take his warriors to the Gates of Fire to delay the Persian army of King Xerxes as long as possible.

He selects three hundred of his finest Spartans and departs knowing very well that they will not return. This is where the Spartan culture ties into that of the Marine Corps, King Leonidas and his men had the courage to go face overwhelming odds knowing that the chances of survival were slim if even there. Given opportunities of surrender or retreat the Spartans denied them choosing rather to die and give Sparta as much time as possible then to save their own lives.

This can relate to the present Marine Corps in many ways, it is well known that the Marine Corps fights and wins battles, and that we do not surrender we win or we die that is what is expected of us. Just as the Spartans did in ancient Greece we have upheld those basics of a warrior culture even when others have not, and that sets us apart from other services, because we live by those values. Sometime during the battle King Xerxes seeing the prowess of the Spartans, and their ability for war sought to make a truce with King Leonidas.

Promising wealth, and success Xerxes attempted to bribe Leonidas to join him telling him he could have it all if he would simply kneel before him. Leonidas quickly refused the offer, of power and told Xerxes that they will continue to fight. Outraged by this Xerxes sent wave after wave of his men into the Spartan formation. Leonidas had honor in his actions, doing the right thing, overlooking personal gain, and staying faithful to Sparta and his men. With the Marine Corps value of honor, we as Marines also do these things.

With espirit de corps, and a unswerving loyalty to our country we have always been looked upon to do the right thing even when others will not. Even our motto Semper Fidelis is our promise to upkeep that honor. In the end of the book the Spartans end up being surrounded, their flanks taken and completely out numbered Xerxes asks Leonidas one last time if he will kneel. In one last act of defiance Leonidas and his men make a final stand and a attempt on Xerxes life fully well knowing that there was no escaping a certain death.

Their commitment to their cause was unwavering believing fully in what they fought for they were committed to the point of willfully giving up their lives for their cause and they did so with pride. This one final act ties into how the Marine Corps is very much like the Spartans of old as the showed that final value that is used by our own warrior culture daily. Marines signing a contract many of them giving up four years if not more of their life fully committed to something they believe in. With many others giving up their lives for a cause that they truly believe in.

Conclusion: Overall I think this book was great, it showed a clear link on our warrior culture, and the warrior culture of the Spartans. It showed that our Corps values are the values of a warrior culture and it was shown through one of the most infamous warrior cultures in history. It not only was a entertaining read but it taught valuable lessons, and gave a understanding of what it means to be a warrior and what is expected of warriors, and like the Spartans the Marine Corps using those values as a base will allow our actions to echo through out eternity. Signature: X___________________________________

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