Steven Pressfield

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Steven Pressfield
Steven Pressfield, June 2011
Steven Pressfield, June 2011
Born September 1943 (age 74–75)
Port of Spain, Trinidad
Genre Historical fiction
Military fiction
Notable works The Legend of Bagger Vance
Gates of Fire
The Afghan Campaign
The Virtues of War

Steven Pressfield (born September 1943) is an American author of historical fiction, non-fiction, and screenplays.


He was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943, while his father was stationed there, in the Navy. He graduated from Duke University in 1965 and in 1966 joined the Marine Corps.[1] In the years following, he worked as an advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, attendant in a mental hospital, fruit-picker in Washington state, and screenwriter.[1] His struggles to make a living as an author, including the period when he was homeless and living out of the back of his car, are detailed in his book The War of Art.[1]

Pressfield's first book, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was published in 1995, and was made into a 2000 film of the same name directed by Robert Redford and starring Will Smith, Charlize Theron, and Matt Damon.[2]

His second novel, Gates of Fire (1998), is about the Spartans and the battle at Thermopylae.[3] It is taught at the U.S. Military Academy,[4] the United States Naval Academy, and the Marine Corps Basic School at Quantico.[5][6]

In 2012, Pressfield launched the publishing house Black Irish Books with his agent Shawn Coyne.[7]



Film work[edit]

Prior to publishing his first original works of fiction, Pressfield wrote several Hollywood screenplays including 1986's King Kong Lives, 1988's Above the Law starring Steven Seagal and directed by Andrew Davis, 1992’s Freejack, a work of science fiction starring Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, and Anthony Hopkins, and 1993's Joshua Tree (a.k.a. Army of One) starring Dolph Lundgren and George Segal. Joshua Tree was directed by Academy Award and Bafta winning stuntman Vic Armstrong.

His novel The Legend of Bagger Vance was made into a 2000 film starring Matt Damon as the golf pro and Will Smith as his spiritual guide.

Pressfield also appeared as one of the historians in The History Channel's 2007 documentary Last Stand of the 300 and a commentator on an episode of the History Channel’s Decisive Battles series featuring Alexander the Great on July 30, 2004.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Pressfield, Steven. "About". Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Legend of Bagger Vance". Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  3. ^ Gal Perl Finkel, Wars are won by preparation and not by courage alone, The Jerusalem Post, April 8, 2017.
  4. ^ Samet, Elizabeth D. (2007-09-30). "Matriculation: In the Valley of the Shadows". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ Pressfield, Steven. "About". Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  6. ^ Perry, Tony (2008-06-28). "Hunting 'the Desert Fox'". Los Angeles Times. 
  7. ^ Pressfield, Steven. "Announcing Turning Pro". Retrieved 2012-06-12. 
  8. ^ "Steven Pressfield: Exploring Ancient Greece through Fiction". 


  • Pressfield, Steven. (2012 ed.). War of Art. New York/Los Angeles: Black Irish Books. ISBN 978-1-936891-02-3
  • Pressfield, Steven. (2012 ed.). Turning Pro. New York/Los Angeles: Black Irish Books. ISBN 978-1936891-03-0

External links[edit]