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The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War Hardcover – May 6, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sentinel; F First Edition edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595230912
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595230911
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (231 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The geopolitical effects of the Six Day War, in 1967, have continued to exert immense power over both the Middle East and the wider world. So it is useful to be reminded that the war was fought over relatively small territories by generally young and inexperienced men on both sides. Pressfield has compiled an impressive collection of firsthand accounts by many men and women who took part in the war on the Israeli side. Some of these recollections are from professional soldiers who were veterans of the Israeli War of Independence or the 1956 Sinai campaign. But most interesting and poignant are the accounts by youthful citizen-soldiers who reveal their fears, hopes, and even their impatience with their political leaders as their nation moves toward war. Of course, this is a highly skewed collection, since we hear nothing from Egyptians, Syrians, or Palestinians. Still, this is an effective recounting of soldiers thrust, in a compressed time span, into life-and-death situations for themselves and their nation. --Jay Freeman


“A brilliant look into the psyche of combat. Where he once took us into the Spartan line of battle at Thermopylae, Steven Pressfield now takes us into the sands of the Sinai, the alleys of Old Jerusalem, and into the hearts and souls of soldiers winning a spectacularly improbable victory against daunting odds.”

GENERAL STANLEY McCHRYSTAL, U.S. Army, ret.; author of My Share of the Task

“Pressfield is the king of military narrative, and with The Lion’s Gate he does not disappoint. It’s always amazing how hard people can fight when their backs are against the wall.”

ERIK PRINCE, author of Civilian Warriors

“Steven Pressfield is one of the most important writers of our day. Few others so adroitly weave together the stories of war in a way that captures the human side of a conflict. The Lion’s Gate gives us a rare glimpse into the different perspectives of a single historical event and proves to us there is always more than meets the eye.”

SIMON SINEK, author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last

“A very skillful and novel approach to one of the most significant and important conflicts in the Middle East. For those who like to have their history served with a generous dose of implied personal experience and just a dash of improvisation, I highly recommend The Lion’s Gate. Steven Pressfield commands the action effectively and from multiple perspectives. A valuable read.”

DICK COUCH, author of Always Faithful, Always Forward and Act of Revenge

“A sweeping, thrilling story of bravery, determination, and grit. I couldn’t put it down.”

BRIAN KILMEADE, author of George Washington’s Secret Six

“The finest military writer alive, bar none.”

“No one writes better historical fiction than Steven Pressfield.”

“Rarely does an author manage to recreate a moment in history with such mastery, authority, and psychological insight.”

"Superbly researched and superbly written ... My tears flowed as the paratroopers made their way to and beyond the Western Wall, bringing that sacred spot back into the possession of the original owners ... "
JOE GALLOWAY, co-author of We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young.

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Customer Reviews

The method that Steven Pressfield uses to tell the story works so well.
Christopher Licavoli
Tis book will remind people just how strongly Idrael will fight for its existence despite the efforts of its enemies.
Donna Dawson
This is a great story about the Israeli Air Force and the battles during the Six Day War.
Peggy Kulick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By the GreatReads! TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'm not particularly fascinated about war but the Six Day War was an altogether different story. It began with the closure of the Straits of Tiran by Egypt followed by the UN leaving Sinai. What was apparently thought to be a one-sided war with initial reports of massive damage being inflicted on the Israelis soon assumed frightening proportions with Israel wagging its tail and turning the tide of the war. The conquest of the Sinai peninsula, the West Bank and the Golan Heights are the stuff legends are made of. Six days after the war erupted, the Arab forces lay in tatters, brutally annihilated with its machines and engines scorched beyond repair across the hot deserts. What is an entirely different story is how the entire Arab forces were decimated, with soldier fleeing their posts, and many of them never heard of again.

The Lion's Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War by Steven Pressfield is unmatched and unparalleled in its depiction of the Six Day War and is a must-read for history buffs. In this totally absorbing and thrilling book, Steven Pressfield writes about how a how force outnumbered 40-to-1 prevailed against overwhelming odds and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The book is particularly fascinating as it is narrated through the ruminations and recollections of those who actually fought the war. The title of the book The Lion's Gate is a reference to an entrance into the Old City of Jerusalem through which the all-conquering Israeli army took possession of the most holy of sites.

A war as significant as The Six Day War demands much more than the 448 pages inside which Pressfield squeezed in the story.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Judie Amsel on May 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
While I usually do not read war or action stories, my adrenaline was kicking in on overdrive as I sped through THE LION’S GATE. I knew many of the details before I had even opened the book, but it was so real and fresh that I felt I was actually there: in the airplanes, helicopters, jeeps, tanks, and trudging along in IDF boots.
I remember following the Six Day war as it happened, beginning with Egypt’s closure of the Straits of Tiran and the UN leaving the Sinai. I was living in Ohio and all the media reports were talking about all the damage being inflicted on the Israeli military and Israeli cities and civilians. It was frightening. Soon after the end of the war, the real story got out: Against amazing odds, Israel had destroyed the Egyptian air force within a few hours and had captured all of the Sinai, The West Bank, and Golan Heights. Afterwards, I followed media reports and read books about the war. None of them matched the story revealed in Steven Pressfield’s THE LION’S GATE.
Formatted as a chronological oral history, Pressfield presents key segments of the war. He interviewed sixty three military personnel who fought in the Sinai, Jerusalem, and the Golan and lets them tell what they experienced at that critical time. We are there as the plans of attack for Sinai, Jerusalem, and Golan are drawn and redrawn. Through their words, they tell us what was going on in the minds of the Israeli military personnel directly involved. They relate how the IDF operates: Orders from the top are frequently ignored or altered because of the situation on the ground. While there were orders to not attack civilians or religious sites, they had to decide what should be done when they were attacked by civilians or from mosques or schools?
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By robert johnston on May 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Pressfield serves up another extraordinary story. This time he binds together a collage of first person accounts into an extraordinary narrative. Pressfield tells this story from up and down the Israeli, IDF, and IAF ranks and across the international machinations into the run-up and conduct of the 6-day war. Pressfield sets the stage to zoom into the microscopic society of civilian/soldier kids in combat. The kids are led by surprising and extraordinary civilian/commanders to simply never give an inch. The reason was pretty simple as no less than victory and more, that no battle can be lost in so small a geography and no loss is too great to grant the last man standing a retreat. In typical Pressfield style, the meat of story grows to an unstoppable read.

Pressfield explains up front that this is an unapologetically biased portrayal from his perspective. Reviewers that might pan the book as one sided are more than adequately warned. Pressfield has the eyewitnesses named for the skeptic to question.

Reading a book delivers a particular experience to the reader. The experience here is the combination of a superb book multiplied by one's own recall of the events and the still central and current global realpolitik.

I can recall the UN withdrawal from Sinai at Nassar's demand and we knew it was for the express purpose of clearing the way for the Muslim Nationalist's run at their own final solution. I had forgotten that the US was not Israel's ally. I had forgotten that France, alone, was Israel's only material ally. I mentally moved the French up a few notches of respect.

"In '67 the army is too poor to have its own trucks for troop transport. We must use civilian vehicles ..." This is not an easy book for a `pro-Israel' American to read.
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More About the Author

Steven Pressfield is the author of Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Last of the Amazons, Virtues of War, The Afghan Campaign, Killing Rommel, The Profession, The Lion's Gate, The War of Art, Turning Pro, The Authentic Swing, Do the Work and The Warrior Ethos.

His debut novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was adapted for screen. A film of the same title was released in 2000, directed by Robert Redford and starring Matt Damon, Will Smith and Charlize Theron.

His father was in the Navy, and he was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943. Since graduating from Duke University in 1965, he has been a U.S. Marine, an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, attendant in a mental hospital and screenwriter.

His struggles to earn a living as a writer (it took seventeen years to get the first paycheck) are detailed in The War of Art, Turning Pro and The Authentic Swing.

There's a recurring character in his books, named Telamon, a mercenary of ancient days. Telamon doesn't say much. He rarely gets hurt or wounded. And he never seems to age. His view of the profession of arms is a lot like Pressfield's conception of art and the artist:

"It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior's life."

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#53 in Books > Self-Help
#53 in Books > Self-Help

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