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The Profession: A Thriller

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3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  673 ratings  ·  115 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 Beach
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,293)
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Jason
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
Mike
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
Matt
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
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William Bentrim
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
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Caitlin O'Sullivan
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
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D.w.
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
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Jonathan
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
Billy
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
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Paula
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
Scott
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
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Kelly Knapp
Jun 19, 2012 Kelly Knapp rated it 2 of 5 stars
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
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Jim
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
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Chris Bryant
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.
Alan
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.
Alexandru Pănoiu
As it is easy too notice, and other reviewers have noticed, this is a novel about the raise of a Caesar, told from the perspective of his almost-son, Brutus. The story is told well, with enough detail to make it believable; some commenters have felt that there is too much military jargon, but I don't think so -- the story is told from within the profession of arms, and it is only natural to be told in the jargon of that noble profession. Once the reader notices where the story is going there can ...more
Dale
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 s
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Freida
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
David
Ver well done, though I would not classify it as classic, as I think Pillars of Fire, The Afghan War and The Virtues of War are classics. Good character development, and good characterization of warriors. I take issue with some of the poltical set-ups that form crucial background for the story. A plot point that during a key crisis the US and Japan made a diplomatic deal not to both one another in the Malacca Strait makes no sense -- it is an international waterway and already a huge percentage ...more
Anna
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
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Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
"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 real
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Eileen Granfors
I won it on goodreads, and it was amazing--takes the next century and gives a look as "what if. . ."


I am one of Pressfield's original fans as I loved "Gates of Fire." I am enthralled with the ancient world, especially the Spartans. But I found that even a book such as "Killing Rommel," in Pressfield's deft hands interests me.

The same goes for "The Profession." I don't normally read Tom Clancy or John LeCarre or even science fiction. Yet, in "The Profession," Pressfield takes us into the future,
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Ashley Dawn
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
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Scott Hermann
It's 2032. The world remains addicted to oil. The U.S. has largely ceded it's military role to private military forces -- mercenaries in league with and in the pay of the regimes and corporations who can pay. Staffed with the disillusioned and hungry elements of a twilight demimonde of once professional, now post-national soldiers who serve the masters of transnational capital, despotic resource kingpins, and narco-criminals. General Salter, a disgraced Marine and a revolutionary strategist and ...more
Kevin
I received this as a Goodreads first read and overall I enjoyed it. I liked the concept of the near future where mercenaries are big business and governments have turned over the majority of their war-fighting to the mercenary companies. This was well written as far as the pacing and plot goes and kept me interested all the way through it. What didn't work for me were the characters. They were pretty well described and i got a good sense of who everybody was and what they stood for. The Problem ...more
Beth
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
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Thomas
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
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Keith
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
Wayne McCoy
A novel set in the year 2032 and told from a soldier's point of view. Our narrator is Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme, and at his very core, he is a true warrior. His commnader is Salter, who views Gent as the son he lost. The conflict arises in a way sort of reminiscent of Lord Jim, when Salter makes an ambitious power grab and Gent has to decide whether to follow orders or his conscious.

The author speculates much about future warfare including the thought that all external US military forces will b
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Graham
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,
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867
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
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More about Steven Pressfield...
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae Do the Work The Virtues of War: A Novel of Alexander the Great Tides of War

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