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The Killing Ground: A Biography of Thermopylae (Hardcover)

The Killing Ground: A Biography of Thermopylae By Myke Cole, Michael Livingston Cover Image
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An exploration into why and how Thermopylae is one of the most blood-soaked patches of ground in history and what its past can tell us about our future.

'Brilliantly demonstrated.' - Tom Holland

Since the dawn of the Classical Era up to World War II, thousands have lost their lives fighting over the pass at Thermopylae. Historians Cole and Livingston provide an exciting account of each of the 27 battles and holding actions that took place. The epic events of 480 BC when 300 Spartans attempted to hold the pass has been immortalised in poetry, art, literature and film. But no history has ever detailed the other events from the very first battle through to the battles fought by Romans, Byzantines, Huns and Ottomans during the early and late medieval periods and finally the two desperate struggles against German occupying forces during World War II. The Killing Ground details the background and history of each conflict, the personalities and decision making of the commanders, the arms and tactics of the troops, and how each battle played out.

Cole and Livingston have surveyed the ground to provide a boots-on understanding of each battle. Their command of multiple ancient and medieval languages means they have provided their own translations of much of the source material, ensuring new insights into each battle. This uncompromising scholarship is woven together into a compelling and unforgettable history that grips the reader from start to finish.

About the Author

Following a long career in the military, intelligence, and law enforcement, Myke Cole is a fire/rescue responder in NY's Hudson Valley. He is a freelance historian and writer, and has published ten novels with publishers including Penguin Random House and Macmillan in addition to his history books for Osprey. Myke's short work has appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, The Daily Beast, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, McSweeney's, and Slate. He's starred on TV shows on CBS and Discovery, and has featured on NPR.

Dr Michael Livingston teaches the military and cultural history of the Middle Ages at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina. He recently co-authored the textbook reader Medieval Warfare, and future works include books on the battles of Hastings and Shrewsbury. These add to previous books The Battle of Crécy: A Casebook, winner of the 2017 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History, Never Greater Slaughter: Brunanburh and the Birth of England (Osprey, 2021), and Crécy: Battle of Five Kings (Osprey, 2021). He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Praise For…

“Highly recommended.” —Adrian Goldsworthy

“A timely look at the history of war, geography, and myth-making, told through the fascinating story of one of the world's most recurrent battlefields.” —Douglas Boin

“A survey spanning millennia of a pass that, as the authors have brilliantly demonstrated, is as well fitted to host battles as any corner of the globe.” —Tom Holland

“In The Killing Ground Myke Cole and Michael Livingstone combine their proven talents as military historians to examine why the long, narrow stretch of land called Thermopylae in Greece was the site of twenty-seven battles that occurred there over 2,500 years. Their myth busting account of the legendary battle of 480 BC is a tour de force!” —Lindsay Powell, author of 'Augustus at War: The Struggle for the Pax Augusta'

“A fascinating history … In The Killing Ground, Cole and Livingston have given us a vigorous and engaging reexamination of “the most blood-soaked ground in the world” that will thrill ancient- and military-history fans alike.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

“There is plenty of myth busting and very colorful stories of individual heroism and horrible planning. These parts are all wonderful…. a very good book and should be appealing to anyone interested in the subject matter… A great military history read.” —History Nerds United

““The Killing Ground” is a magnificent and meticulous account of the military history of a storied piece of ground.” —Ricochet

“The book focuses on how Thermopylae constrained battles and those who fought them. Along the way, a number of myths are debunked. Well-handled, but military history enthusiasts will probably be drawn to it the most.” —Library Journal

“For those interested in the geography of warfare, this serves as an excellent case study. Those liking a more general history will also find this a good read.” —

“The book is engaging and easy to follow, with thorough explanations of the troops, weapons, tactics and commanders who have moved and fought over Thermopylae over many centuries.” —Military Heritage Magazine

“Well laid out... Nicely done.” —HMGS

Product Details
ISBN: 9781472858665
ISBN-10: 1472858662
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English
ABA Admin Product Details
Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 4/9/2023 02:02pm
Last Updated At: 4/14/2024 08:46pm