Warrior Ethos

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This is a different sort of Pressfield book. Unlike the historical fiction genre in which he’s written such best-sellers as “Gates of Fire,” “The Afghan Campaign, and “The Profession,” “The Warrior Ethos” is the culmination of years of discussions Pressfield’s been having with Marines and others who were taken with the blend of courage-under-fire and humanity shown by Leonidas, Dienekes, Matthais, Gent, and the other characters in his books. “I wanted to give something back to our men and women fighting overseas,” Pressfield told Gazette, so I put together the best anecdotes and stories from all my research about the Spartans, Alexander's Macedonians, the Romans, and Rommel.”

Pressfield then printed 18,000 copies at his expense, which he donated to as many deployed troops as he could reach. Gen James Mattis assisted, as did LtGen George Flynn and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Martin Dempsey. Copies were shipped to West Point and the Special Forces, while Marine Corps University received 6,000 so they could fulfill requests from any outfit within the Marine Corps. “My goal was to boil down what is the 'warrior ethos’ into a short book that can fit into the cargo pocket of utility trousers” he said.

The warrior ethos is a code of conduct, Pressfield writes, that embodies a life where integrity, loyalty, honor, and selflessness, and courage are one’s guide. Starting thousands of years ago with the hunters, these concepts evolved into the warrior societies where protection for the tribe was best achieved as a group working together. The rudimentary laws arising from the successful tribes evolved into the warrior ethos practiced by the Spartans and others where courage, cooperation, and acknowledging the strength of the group over that of the individual, enabled the tribe or the nation to survive.

At that point in history, the ability to fight was of paramount importance, he notes. Tribes and nations prospered or were conquered by the strength of the...
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