A Warrior's Bible


A philosophically wide-ranging account of the warrior’s ethos and an argument for its rejuvenation today.
Debut-author Gordon unpacks the central characteristics of the warrior with unusual comprehensiveness, focusing on a “developmental point of view” that surveys the history of the concept. This ambitious scope leads the analysis across a wide expanse of topics—a warrior’s spirituality, the warrior figure as he appears in the athletic and military arenas, and the warrior as a servant to society. The author is careful to avoid restricting his understanding of the warrior to soldiering; he considers the warrior a broader category that encompasses an elemental human type rather than a narrow occupation. The scholarly range of the analysis is striking: the likes of Yeats, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer are deftly investigated. At one point, the Navy Seals and Rainer Maria Rilke are discussed on the same page. This makes for an impressively rich multicultural perspective that includes accounts of Eastern philosophies like Zen Buddhism and Taoism. Sometimes the arguments are needlessly confused by academic jargon: “It might be helpful to reflect on the Tao yin/yang symbol, since it is the ontological foundation of the primordial domain of the feminine/masculine dynamic.” Also, it’s not always clear that the work is moving toward a unified conclusion. The “ultimate goal of the warrior is service to the world” writes Gordon, but other than somewhat vague references to social justice, it’s never entirely obvious what this service amounts to. Also, the author’s argument that the world needs a revival of the warrior spirit wants further elaboration. Nevertheless, this is a painstakingly well-researched study filled with philosophical insight.
A rigorous analysis of the history of the warrior that transcends mere military interpretations.

Pub Date: May 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1483971742

Page Count: 224

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.


The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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