The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing

Red Tile Roofs

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

I’m driving back from the Golan Heights with Eli. We’re on Route 6, the toll road south, passing an Arab town in Israel and I’m asking him if he believes there is any hope for peace. “Yes, and I will tell you why,” he says. “Look over there at that town.” Eli calls my attention to the roofs. “In Arab towns, even here in Israel, you will always see flat roofs. Flat roofs with rebar—iron bars for reinforcing concrete—sticking straight up out of the perimeter of the roof. Why? Because in Arab families, when the eldest son becomes engaged to…

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How to Write a War Memoir (or any memoir)

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

I am dangling beneath my parachute. Gazing down from a height of 10,000 feet, knowing I am going to be killed in less than fifteen minutes, I feel great sorrow for myself. None of my fellow pilots who’ve parachuted into the Nile Delta has survived the encounter with the welcoming committee below, and I have no reason to think my fate will be any different. This is the first paragraph of the true-life memoir of Israeli fighter ace Giora Romm, titled Solitary, which was a best-seller in its original Hebrew under the title Tulip Four, Romm’s aircraft’s call-sign on the…

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The Death Burst

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

One of the things I learned doing the interviews for The Lion’s Gate was that the best stuff often came when you least expected it. It happened in breaks, or going to lunch, or after the formal interview was over. That was when people loosened up and became themselves. They brought out the insights and memories that they had kept in the vault because they deemed them marginal or “not important enough.” It was these stories that turned out to be the most fascinating and revealing. Here’s one such nugget from Giora Romm. Romm was Israel’s first fighter ace. As…

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MiG Killers

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] Continuing my interview with Giora Romm, the Israel Air Force’s first fighter ace. As we’re talking, Giora mentions the phrase “MiG killer.” My ears immediately perk up. But we are in the middle of talking about something else, so the subject is momentarily shelved. Giora continues with his train of thought, describing…

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A Serving Elite

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] Giora Romm was the Israel Air Force’s first fighter ace. He shot down five Egyptian MiGs in three days during the Six Day War. I have been hearing about Giora from every other pilot Danny and I have talked to. I’m a little nervous, now, meeting him for the first time. But…

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To the Rue Cambon

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] “What is the answer for the individual who finds himself in diaspora?” asks Yosi. “How does the stranger conduct himself in a strange land? Does he seek to efface his other-ness in an attempt to blend in with the dominant society? Does he change his name? Intermarry? Does he adopt the language,…

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A Lunch on the Place de l’Odeon

By Steven Pressfield | 7 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] After services, Danny and I catch a cab for the Israeli embassy. Yosi is coming in to meet us and take us to lunch. The embassy is closed on the Sabbath, but security is still in place. Two young, athletic-looking officers in business suits stop us well outside the entry. Even with…

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On the Rue de la Victoire

By Steven Pressfield | 6 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] Danny wakes me in a state of excitement. It’s the Sabbath. He has gotten us an invitation to attend services at the Grande Synagogue de Paris on the Rue de la Victoire. “Trust me,” Danny says. “It’s one of the most beautiful houses of worship in the world. Wake up, you’re not…

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En Brera, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 4 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] I’m in Paris now. I have flown here to interview Yosi Ben-Hanan. On the right is a photo of Yosi from the last day of the Six Day War. Six years after that moment, the armies of Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in what would become known as the Yom Kippur War.…

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“Remember Who You Are. Remember Why You Are Here”

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] I am visiting the 101 Squadron at Hatzor Air Base in the Negev desert. We’re talking about the concept of En Brera, “no alternative.”

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