The Killing Ground: A Biography of Thermopylae (Hardcover)
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.
Myke Cole has held positions with the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence. He is currently a fire/rescue responder. He has published extensively in military history and is also a popular fantasy novelist with several imprints. He lives in Hudson Valley.
Dr Michael Livingston teaches the Middle Ages at The Citadel, South Carolina. In 2021 he published Never Greater Slaughter: Brunanburh and the Birth of England (Osprey) to critical acclaim. He lives in Charleston.
“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 brilliantly demonstrate, is as well fitted to host battles as any corner of the globe.” —Tom Holland