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

4.7 out of 5 stars 274 customer reviews

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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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sentinel; 1St 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
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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#56 in Books > Self-Help
#56 in Books > Self-Help

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With historical fiction including Gates of Fire and Killing Rommel, Pressfield has proven to be a worthy successor to James Clavell (author of Shogun and Tai Pan). His trilogy The War of Art, Do the Work, and Turn Pro have already become self-help classics. And now, with The Lion’s Gate, Pressfield has joined the ranks of John Keegan and Victor Davis Hanson as a preeminent military historian. I also highly recommend that in addition to reading his books you subscribe to his Writing Wednesdays blog
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The book is one of those that once you begin is hard to put down, the individuals whose lives are being shared come alive in a way that's hard to explain. Living as we do in a dream world here in the U.S. where our idea of a stressful day is not finding a parking place at the mall can't compare with families born and raised in what is, was, and will continue to be a war zone.

I have a much better understanding of the size of Israel and more importantly the spirit of the people who we, Christians, refer to as God's Chosen, the Jews.

First book I've read on the Six Day War. Many of the participants names I've heard all my life are fleshed out, warts and all. A worthwhile read.
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It is among the best books I've read in a long time. Creative, insightful and extraordinarily entertaining. I want to savor it and devour it at the same time. Fabulous.
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Read this book! So well written.....Steven Pressfield has done his homework ....and takes you back to that time.....
Personally this was the effect it had on me: While guarding the pool this morning, I finished listening to the audio book "Lion's Gate.
I was laying face down on one of the deck chairs using a towel as a pillow. At the finish of the book, I was overcome with emotion. Tears began to flow and I was so thankful for that towel and the sound of the nearby waterfall to cover any sounds that escaped from me.
Why the emotions? I picked the book in hopes of gaining insight into the situation in Israel and the surrounding countries. I never expected to be touched so emotionally.
I am a Christian, a lover of the King of Kings. I guess that I had approached the book unknowingly with an underlying expectation of seeing Him in the pages reflected in the thoughts of the people interviewed. It was not so......
I realized that the recollections of the people who fought that war were about the land/nation of Israel. Most of the Jews were secular and admitted to not even knowing about Jerusalem and the stories of their land before the dispersion. One religious Jew defined those who were religious as being people who studied & debated the Torah seeking knowledge. They all expressed desire for the land of Israel......the dirt, to touch the stones of the wailing wall......that is what was held sacred. Love of God, the Creator of the dirt, the One who declared Israel His chosen nation was not the center of spoken desire. One atheist Jew took a prayer card from a rabbi before a battle to the surprise of his comrades and said in response to their query....."Now is not the time to make the big guy upstairs mad." That was as close as it got.
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