Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Profession” as Want to Read:
The Profession
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Profession

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  971 Ratings  ·  137 Reviews
The “master storyteller” (Publishers Weekly) and bestselling author of Gates of Fire, The Afghan Campaign, and Killing Rommel returns with a stunning, chillingly plausible near-future thriller about the rise of a privately financed and global military industrial complex.
The year is 2032. The third Iran-Iraq war is over; the 11/11 dirty bomb attack on the port of Long Beac
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Broadway Books (first published June 14th 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Profession, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Profession

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Set about 20 years into the future, this novel depicts a changed world, where privately funded mercenary armies take the place of national armed forces for handling certain types of conflicts. The author presents some nice imagery that reconciles the climactic ending with the novel’s introductory paragraphs. I liked that very much. And the best part is, the outcome is not what I was expecting as a reader, which leaves open the possibility of this work serving as the start of a series. I think I ...more
Βαθμολογία: 7/10

Αν και στην βιβλιοθήκη μου έχω το πιο γνωστό του και ίσως το καλύτερό του μυθιστόρημα, το "Οι πύλες της φωτιάς", προτίμησα η πρώτη μου επαφή με το έργο του συγγραφέα να είναι το "Ο επαγγελματίας", ένα στρατιωτικό θρίλερ που διαδραματίζεται στο άμεσο μέλλον. Η αλήθεια είναι ότι το βιβλίο με κούρασε. Γενικά μου αρέσουν οι στρατιωτικές περιπέτειες -δεν με ξετρελαίνουν ακριβώς, σίγουρα όμως με ψυχαγωγούν-, αλλά στην περίπτωση αυτή δεν μπορώ να πω ότι πέρασα και πάρα πολύ καλά. Περίμε
I'm giving The Profession 4 Stars even though it had plenty of flaws. It was just fantastic SOF-porn, full of military jargon and operations way out on the edge of warfare in the near-future. Some really interesting extrapolations of military equipment and operations while still incorporating plenty of what is familiar. Corporations and news organizations are somewhat familiar with believable merged partners. Characters are just not filled out as much as they needed to be. But the action never s ...more
Jan 18, 2012 Mathew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Steven Pressfield gathered acclaim for his novel Gates of Fire (among other works). There, he tells the militaristic tale of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae. In The Profession: A Thriller, Pressfield hits fast forward to the near future. It's still a mess of oil, sand, Islam, and mass media. His twist is the evolution of warfare to private armies – the good old mercenary.

The book centers on Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme, an accomplished ex-marine from cajun country who rides the literally bleeding
Caitlin O'Sullivan
Apr 07, 2011 Caitlin O'Sullivan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
In a near-future world where governments have outsourced war to a wide-flung network of military contractors, a mercenary with an uncanny connection to warriors of the past finds himself caught up in a former mentor's plans to become a modern emperor.

The Profession is fast-paced, scarily well-thought-out, and as erudite as you'd expect from someone whose previous work includes a novel about Thermopylae. At the same time, the point-of-view narrator, "Gent" Gentilhomme, is strangely absent emotion
May 14, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it
It is the year 2032, employing elite military mercenaries is how the powerful (oil companies, governments, mega corporations and financial institutions) stay in power. The mercenary armies are a well oiled team made for keeping power. The Profession is what happens when just such a mercenary army leader takes the power for himself.

Marine General James Salter is a military master mind who is discharged from the army after a court martial.

Gilbert “Gent” Gentilhomme is a proud marine, serving in th
William Bentrim
May 31, 2011 William Bentrim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Profession by Steven Pressfield
In a not too far distant future America has gotten fed up with wasting their young. Mercenaries have become the popular method of dealing with international crisis. A charismatic general has become the hope of millions. Is he the hope for the nation or a despot in the wings?

The most frightening something about this book is its believability. The weapons technology is an obvious extension of of current technology. The crises faced in the book are also an obvious
Jan 10, 2013 Paula rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Pressfield needed an excuse to vomit up military jargon. The Profession is like a bad porno; there is a little bit of plot smattered around, but we all know what the intent of the book was. The plot, where it existed, was wandering more than a horny dog. Pressfield explains the progression of technology, the entire rank structure of a pseudo-military faction, and lots of other useless crap. That takes up about two thirds of the book. The Profession could’ve easily been a fifty-page novella and m ...more
Jul 10, 2012 D.w. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Before i started to write my review I just had a look at the other ratings. While I may be the lowest, I was gratified to see how many others rated this work so low.

It is an analogy for Caesar and the author in the ends admits it. But there is something different here. The author who sells well, forgot that Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

Thinking we can use what will be prevalent in technology and communications in 20 years, that Rubicon moment is gone and populism is what it is all about.

So I have
Jul 20, 2012 Scott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, thriller
While reading Steven Pressfield's latest novel, "The Profession," I kept thinking of a photo posted on his website of several American soldiers serving in the Middle East, all stretched out on their bedrolls, each of them with their noses buried in Pressfield's magnificent "Gates of Fire." The message was pretty clear - soldiers, guys who fight, recognize Pressfield as an author who gets it.

I imagine that "The Profession" is Pressfield's homage to those soldiers.

Set in the near future, Pressfiel
Oct 04, 2011 Jonathan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of those books I may have given 3 stars to if Goodreads had 1/2 stars, but it doesn't rate equal to other books I have rated 3 stars. This book tells the story of the near future (2032), where there is upheaval in the Middle East and our protaganist, a mercenary, is in the service of an ex-American general who runs his own high powered mercenary force. Through much exposition and backstory, we learn about Gent's devotion to his superior, as well as the weaponery and political situation. Then ...more
Nov 28, 2011 Billy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A little Dull

For those of you like me, who thought the "Gates of Fire" was one of the best historical novels ever written and that "Killing Rommel" was a cracking good read, you might be a little disappointed with the latest Pressfield novel.

The book portrays a vision of the future as a mixture of big oil companies, politics and small mercenary armies. So far so good, but then the main protagonist takes it upon himself to explain to the reader, in 'long-hand', who those power brokers are and how
Kelly Knapp
Jun 01, 2012 Kelly Knapp rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: military buffs, political buffs
Recommended to Kelly by: Goodreads First Reads giveaways
There is little doubt that Pressfield is a proficient writer, or that he does a great deal of research for his stories. However, I found that I much prefer his historicals to this one. I found it depressing. Perhaps because it appears so feasible.

One good thing about this book is that it was broken up into chunks. Listed as books one through seven, each is a nice little read, with a perfect stopping point if the reader is feeling overwhelmed, as was I.

Finally, I was a little surprised by the end
Nov 05, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought provoking novel of war of the future where politicians avoid public opinions by getting involved in military confrontations. In stead of war they employ mercenaries to fight their wars, always on the quiet, but ultimately effective. The years center around 2032 where a soldier named Gent and his group are sent to the middle east to conduct operations under the direction of his friend General Salter. Salter is a disgraced Marine Corps general, a military genius he has laid out a plan to ...more
Robert Reed
I new him from Gates of Fire and Bagger Vance. This was a dissappointment. I was in the military and really thought he was a press guy for the military, the way he delivered this book
was as if he were writing a book report for junior high english in which he would recieve extra credit for jargon and acronyms. I understand the purpose and speak jargon fluently, however this was just poor judgement and boring. bleh. dissapointed. Like listening to a sitrep your C.O. thought importent but was busin
Chris Bryant
Aug 12, 2011 Chris Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spies
While this book has a lot going for it, it ultimately fails on so many levels. The basic plot is well thought up. The story itself is interesting. Yet the execution was lacking.

The author would dive into backstory for unfortunately long stretches. The book felt like exposition 101. It was heavy handed at best. And the dialogue often fell into this staccato rhythm that was impossible to ignore.

I felt that the story itself was marred by the writer's craft.
Jul 21, 2011 Alan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: popular-fiction
Didn't like it. The historical based novels I liked very much. Gates of Fire (300) was quite impressive. Legend of Shivas Irons (movie Bagger Vance) was totally different, but interesting. This is a near future mercenary conflict. Too much product placement for products that don't exist yet.
Tom Batalias
Nov 27, 2016 Tom Batalias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in the near future, this is the story of a mercenary soldier nicknamed "Gent", who is a loyal follower of a highly successful, but disgraced General (a la MacArthur), now the leader of a huge mercenary army operating in the Middle East. When events play out which has the General leading his army (and Gent) to seize and control over a vast majority of the world's oil fields, he sees this as a means to exact revenge on those who lead to his ouster, and orchestrate a triumphant return home (a l ...more
Mar 13, 2017 Dave rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking futuristic novel by Pressfield includes a great deal of technical military details, and delves into the question of whether Americans would give up the Republic and its democratic ideals for the sake of safety and prosperity. The plot was realistic at the time this book was written, when the US was still totally dependent on Middle Eastern oil, but the opening of the shale oil fields in North America has significantly changed the equation. Gasoline at $16 per gallon (as in the ...more
Zohar -
Jun 04, 2011 Zohar - rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
"The Profession" by Steven Pressfield is a fictional book about the project future of America. The story is told from the perspective of a solider on the ground.

The year is 2032 and Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme, a professional solider, commander and mercenary, is being sent around the world fighting for corporations. Gent's wife, a hard nosed reporter, allows him to see some of the big picture, but his trust and loyalty to his commending general is unwavering.

Soon Gent realizes that fighting witho
Sep 14, 2015 Augie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found The Profession a difficult and frustrating read. I don't think it's all that well written--it seemed authored to be a political allegory rather than a good novel, as if the author has an axe to grind and wanted to fashion the world he wants (or perhaps fears). The lead character is in one exciting firefight at the open and then spends 75% of the book doing, well, nothing. He attends a dinner party, collects a comrade and waits at a military base, as all the while the author lays out the ...more
BLUF: a great premise marred by flawed execution and negligible character development, and overburdened by exposition and the sheer inertia of plot with little to connect once scene to the other. All the more disappointing because it could have been so good.

Pressfield's novel was simply aggravating, not the least reason for which is that it had so much potential which was ultimately squandered. The premise is sound: the year is 2032 and private military companies are the new face of armed power,
Rob Ballister
THE PROFESSION is a well written, fast moving book about the use of mercenaries in warfare. It has all the heroic characters and gripping combat one expects out of Pressfield, and should not be missed by action/thriller fans.

I admit I was skeptical about reading this. Pressfield's GATES OF FIRE is one of my all time favorite books, and I have read it at least four times. However, TIDES OF WAR was an incredible disappointment, as it was way more political than thrilling. However, THE PROFESSION i
May 19, 2013 Muzaffer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yorumu sonuna kadar okuyun lütfen. Puana aldanmayın.
This book is awesome. I enjoyed every page. @Steven Pressfield shows us a very probably near future in the world. You will find the novel very familiar to yourself if you have read any of his works before (Like Gates of Fire, Tides of War). One of the characters narrates the story. Not too damn long, not too short. It is as long as it must be.

You will most probably love this one if you like Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Steven Pressfield a
Aug 07, 2011 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pressfield is one of my favorite authors. His depictions of military culture range from Thermopylae to the North African desert of World War Two. A constant thread runs through all of these works, the concept of military virtue, of what it means to be a soldier in arms. The Profession is well summarized here on GoodReads in many fine reviews. I would add only a few observations. First, the setting. Pressfield sets his scene twenty years in the future and the scenario he creates is eerily prescie ...more
I won a few of these books from Readitforward to distribute to Austin Bookcrossers, so this is now the (rare) book of month.

I like thrillers, so I should have liked this more than I did.

The book is fast paced, and in short chapters. Yet I couldn't get myself to finish it even in a week - this rarely happens to me with thrillers.

Perhaps the unthrillerness for me was from the first person telling, and it trying to be in fictional year 2032. This caused too many explanations about what happened i
May 05, 2011 Freida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gent is a soldier for hire, a mercenary, and this book is the story of his relationship with a superior officer General Salter. The story is set in the future, 2032, in a time when the United States is still dependant on oil from the Middle East and still fighting wars with people who have a long history of tribal bonds and aversions to the United States. The story travels around North Africa, Euphrates, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and several other places in that part of the world. Each fight inc ...more
Jul 17, 2012 Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cautionary tale buried inside some first-rate action.

The Profession is a near-future sci-fi action-adventure tale with a great deal of political analysis and some history tossed in as well.

Set in the year 2032, the world has become a different place, but not at all unrecognizable. The chaos in the Middle East still reigns supreme on the international scene because oil is still king ($8/gallon gasoline is threatening to collapse America's economy). Iran and Iraq are still fighting, terrorism
Ashley Dawn
Jul 01, 2011 Ashley Dawn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the not too distant future, Gent Gentilhomme is a soldier…er, mercenary. He is a former marine who is loyal to his men and his leader, General Salter who is no longer a General, but the leader of Gent’s mercenary army. In this future, mercenary armies are the way to deal with international issues and Gent is one of the best.
General Salter has his own agenda in this game. Gent has always been loyal and is considered almost a son to him. He trusts Gent to see to situations he doesn’t believe an
Jan 06, 2013 Thomas rated it liked it
This is the second Pressfield book I read, the first being "The Afghan Campaign". I found this book to be just as fast paced as the other and once again Pressfield is to be commended on his knowledge of the soldier's mindset.

I did have a few issues with this book, however. First, the book doesn't really start getting to the meat of the plot until approximately Chapter 12. As my friend put it, that's a long time to wait for the story to start emerging.

There was also a moment or two where I had t
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century
  • A Sense of Honor
  • Red November: Inside the Secret U.S.-Soviet Submarine War
  • Tarawa: The Incredible Story of One of World War II's Bloodiest Battles
  • Dragon Sim-13 (The Green Berets, #2)
  • Exit Plan (Jerry Mitchell, #3)
  • The War I Always Wanted: The Illusion of Glory and the Reality of War: A Screaming Eagle in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • Al Qaeda:  The True Story Of Radical Islam
  • World War Z: The Lost Files: A Companion to the Abridged Edition
  • The Interrogator: The Story of Hanns Joachim Scharff, Master Interrogator of the Luftwaffe
  • The German Way of War: From the Thirty Years' War to the Third Reich
  • The Med (Dan Lenson, #1)
  • Dead Men
  • The Scourge of God
  • An Agent in Place
  • Killing Che
  • The Officers' Club
  • Under Fire: A Night of Terror and Courage in Benghazi
I was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, in 1943 to a Navy father and mother.

I graduated from Duke University in 1965.

In January of 1966, when I was on the bus leaving Parris Island as a freshly-minted Marine, I looked back and thought there was at least one good thing about this departure. "No matter what happens to me for the rest of my life, no one can ever send me back to this freakin' place a
More about Steven Pressfield...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Our team has zero; has he got Close Air Support, drones, anything?” 1 likes
“El-Masri lies under gravel and shingle, with no part of him visible aboveground except his left hand” 1 likes
More quotes…