Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Killing Ground:
You don’t have to be a Spartan to die here!
A look at all the battles that ever occurred at Thermopylae. It wasn’t just the one.
Fact for Non-History People:
It wasn’t Leonidas and 300 Spartans. There was about 1,000 Spartans and 6,000 other Greeks.
Fact for History Nerds:
Greece has the 11th longest coastline in the world.
My Take on The Killing Ground:
Thermopylae and the Spartans is the quintessential “last stand” in history. However, did you know how many other battles and military actions occurred there? I certainly didn’t. Thankfully, Myke Cole and Michael Livingston are here to remedy that with their book The Killing Ground.
I am a fan of Michael Livingston already and Myke Cole has a well-received book on military history which is going on my to-read list. I had a general idea what to expect. The authors would fully survey the ground of Thermopylae, both now and in the past, and then lead the reader through each battle. There is plenty of myth busting and very colorful stories of individual heroism and horrible planning. These parts are all wonderful.
The one issue I have with the book is almost unfair. The authors cover every single instance where Thermopylae is involved in combat. Unfortunately, (and they readily admit this) some of these episodes have almost no documentation. While I appreciate the thoroughness of the authors, these chapters slow down the narrative even with their best efforts to state what we do know and move on quickly. That said, this is still a very good book and should be appealing to anyone interested in the subject matter.
(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Osprey Publishing.)
A great military history read. Buy it here!