Born in September 1943 in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He graduated from Duke University in 1965, joined the Marine Corps, got married, and went to work in New York City as a $150-a-week copy writer for Benton & Bowles. Later, Pressfield divorced and became broke, starting to live in a van down by the river. He drove cabs and tended bar in New York, taught school in New Orleans, drove tractor-trailers in North Carolina and California, worked on oil rigs in Louisiana, picked fruit in Washington State, and in general worked all the jobs that writers work when they're running away from writing.
Somewhere in here he completed three novels, none of which saw the light of publication. When the last one crashed and burned, in New York in 1980, Pressfield was faced with a choice between hanging himself and bolting for Tinseltown. Over the next fifteen years, Pressfield wrote or co-wrote 34 screenplays, several of which got made into extremely forgettable movies. He did, however, finally succeed in turning pro as a writer and actually paying the rent. (He detailed these experiences in 2002 in The War of Art). During various bouts of despair over the years, Pressfield had discovered solace in Gandhi's favorite book, the Bhagavad-Gita. In 1995 the idea came to him to rip it off. The result was a novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, which became, a couple of years later, another powerfully sleep-inducing cinematic experience. Fortunately the book did better, even sneaking onto a couple of best-seller lists. Pressfield decided to go legit. Three historical novels set in ancient Greece--Gates of Fire, Tides of War and Last of the Amazons--followed. The books have enjoyed respectable success in the States, but have become monsters in their native land. At the close of 2003, the first three were #1, #5 and #8 on the Greek best-seller lists. As of December 2004 the fourth book, The Virtues of War, a Novel of Alexander the Great, is #1. Gates of Fire has been included in the curriculum of the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy and is on the Commandant's Reading List for the Marine Corps. In September 2003, the city of Sparta made Mr. Pressfield an honorary citizen. Like all writers, Mr. Pressfield doesn't know where his next idea is coming from and firmly believes that he will never work again.