The Profession

The Profession

by Steven Pressfield


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767931175
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/15/2012
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 571,859
Product dimensions: 5.28(w) x 7.82(h) x 0.72(d)

About the Author

Steven Pressfield is the author of several books, including the bestselling novels Gates of Fire and The Legend of Bagger Vance, as well as the cult classic on creativity The War of Art. He lives in Los Angeles.

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From the Publisher

"Gripping. . . provocative. . . a thinking person's techno-thriller."-Wall Street Journal

"'The Profession' is a compelling mix of modern weaponry, modern communications, modern politics and the warrior's ancient ethos of honor and loyalty. It moves quickly and with deadly precision ... This is the modern world taken to its logical and frightening extreme." - Los Angeles Times

"Steven Pressfield, in "The Profession", has written a novel of the near future that is as good and in some cases better than anything Tom Clancy ever wrote in his day."
-Mark Whittington, Yahoo!

"Pressfield’s military thriller stands out from the crowd by speculating on what the next generation of warfare will be like and then dropping the reader right into the action. Clancy fans should give this a shot." -Booklist

"When I read a novel, I want to go someplace, with somebody who's been there.  In THE PROFESSION, Pressfield takes us into the heart of combat—and even deeper than heat of the action: he takes us into the soul of the warrior. This is all the more remarkable because the world he leads us into hasn't happened yet—though we see its possibilities, its unfolding reality, all around us. To give us this book, Pressfield went to the places were soldiers and ideologies are colliding, and he sifted the thoughts, motives and skills of the men at the cutting edge of those conflicts. But best of all, for me, is that he seems to have looked into my heart too."
–Randall Wallace, screenwriter of the Academy Award winner Braveheart

“From owner-operated Apache gunships to The New York Google Times, THE PROFESSION is chilling because it rhymes just enough with today to make us wonder whether this future will be, or only might be. Pressfield's trademark lessons in honor and loyalty are here, woven into the classical tradition of the warrior's way. It's a ripping read.”
Nathaniel Fick, author of the NYT bestseller ONE BULLET AWAY, and CEO of the Center for a New American Security

“Pressfield imagines a world in which private military forces have all the power…When the commander of the largest force around decides to take control of the United states, his top commando—Gilbert “Gent” Gentilhomme—opts to wipe out his commander. Pressfield dominates the military thriller genre, and his works are realistic enough that military colleges like West Point assign them." Library Journal

"Pressfield's impressive research shows throughout this novel.... a book that paints an all-too-plausible future in which American outsources its dirtiest jobs."
Kirkus Reviews

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The Profession 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very interesting look at the future of modern warfare... fast pace book... lots of interesting aspect in to the inside of a mercenary army.. keeps u thing about if it could work at all. well written and entertaining... also puts u in the mind of a warrior and what they must over come.. the thoughts of right vs wrong.. that every soldier must face in his military career...
Rob_Ballister More than 1 year ago
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 is an excellent blend of action and political intrigue, and strikes a balance between the two that TIDES OF WAR absolutely missed. Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme was once a proud US Marine, serving under General Salter, one of the greatest military minds in the US since Patton. Salter runs afoul of the political administration and is court-martialed, and Gent feels like he loves the fight more than any cause, so both of them end up as mercenaries. But this is 2032, and unlike today, mercenaries are now organized into full-blown professional armies, hired by nations, mega-million dollar corporations, and big energy companies all over the world. Soon Salter's tactical savvy changes the balance of power in the middle east, and he has the world by the throat. The US can either welcome him home with open arms, or go into an economic meltdown not seen since the Great Depression. The US prepares to welcome back Salter as its savior and abandon its status as a Republic, and Gent has to choose between a commander he loves and the ideals of the country he once-upon-a-time swore to defend. The story has more double-crosses than I can count, but it's intriguing, exciting, and full of non-stop action. Pressfield did a lot of research into weapons and tactics (I'm career military; he knows what he's talking about), and the result is a story that is as believable as it is exciting. And don't bother trying to predict the end; it's from way out in left field. Action and techno-thriller fans will truly enjoy this. I'm back on the Pressfield band wagon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this was excellent!!
AuthorAshleyDawn More than 1 year ago
In the not too distant future, Gent Gentilhomme is a, 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 anyone else can handle. Salter knows his men and weapons and has a keen mind for strategies. His current "situation" is to exact his revenge on the men who exiled him and took his title. Gent doesn't understand several things about his beloved General but is-as always-a loyal soldier. But should there be a limit to loyalty? As Gent realizes the depths of Salter's objectives, he will have to answer that question himself. Scarily realistic version of how the Nation could go! This book will entertain and scare you with its action and realism. Reviewed by Ashley Wintters, author of "Shadows of Suspicion" (Ashley Dawn) published by Suspense Publishing an imprint of Suspense Magazine
jazzzak on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The summary on the back of the book was the best part. I couldn't finish it. It was like a bunch of scenes from different movies stitched together. Not much cohesion throughout the book.
SuseGordon on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is a story about a warrior's profession. The battle, the comrades in arms and the leader to follow in that and other battles.It begins with a memory, a dream, that Gilbert "Gent" Gentilhomme has of a possible previous life. He was a warrior and he is one again, following the dishonorably discharged General Salter as he leads a future army of Merc's, soldiers for hire through the company Force Insertion. Gent's history with the General from Marine days to Force Insertion is told in intense detail of armaments to actions. Gent is a soldier following a leader that he believes in until he can no longer follow. He is a warrior for a cause that politics, greed, and revenge destroy.
jpsnow on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I've enjoyed Pressfield's stories set in ancient Greece. The Profession is set in 2032, primsrily in the Middle East. Because of this, he has to forecast what history could be like rather than take historical facts and make them real. Military operations are conducted through mercenaries, based on a system of defense companies who leverage a variety of sub-contractors, owner-operators, and free agents. The news is controlled by agencies that seem familiar, but have also evolved, such as Trump/CNN. The story is engaging and it is interesting to speculate on our future economy, but I didn't find this work as captivating as his historical fiction. Still, if you like global military action and political intrigue, this book is worth a read. There's also a thoughtful debate about necessity vs. limited government.
23blue on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Profession falls under the category of war fiction and is set in the not so distant future of 2032 with us still in the Middle East and the region still trying to tear itself apart. The author is a bit of an optimist about the explorers still finding massive new oil fields and us all driving around even though gas is $14 a gallon. The story follows several past and future military contractors for Force Insertion (a company that makes Backwater seem small, warm, and fuzzy). The world this novel is set in is very similar to ours with wars over resources and politics that would make a mob boss cringe. I enjoy watching characters develop and getting to know Gent was fun, though you have to wonder what is going to happen next. In a lot of ways it is open for another book within this story. If there is one I¿m buying it because though the ending was complete, I want to know what happens next. I received this book form LibraryThing early reviewers
mrdoan72 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I was disappointed with this pressfield book. I like that it is set in the future. But thats about it. It started off slow and never really picked up steam.
ashleywintters on LibraryThing 8 months ago
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 anyone else can handle. Salter knows his men and weapons and has a keen mind for strategies. His current ¿situation¿ is to exact his revenge on the men who exiled him and took his title.Gent doesn¿t understand several things about his beloved General but is¿as always¿a loyal soldier. But should there be a limit to loyalty? As Gent realizes the depths of Salter¿s objectives, he will have to answer that question himself.Scarily realistic version of how the Nation could go! This book will entertain and scare you with its action and realism.Reviewed by Ashley Wintters, author of ¿Shadows of Suspicion¿ (Ashley Dawn) published by Suspense Publishing an imprint of Suspense Magazine
tommyarmour on LibraryThing 8 months ago
While I truly enjoyed reading this "future war" novel, and will own to the fact that Pressfield can paint a word picture with the best of today's writers, I cannot say I ever will recommend reading it. Perhaps, if I live beyond the year 2032 (the year in which most of the book's actions take place), I will be able to say "yes, read it". But until today's age of black-op armies is behind us I will not feel comfortable so saying. These events could too easily occur in the volatile, energy starved, politically crazed world in which we are living. Hopefully these too will pass and we will re-find the American sense and method of compromise agreement.. Until that time I think I shall reread Pressfield's "Legend of Bagger Vance" because it forecasts no future war.
Wickedmick on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Good book. Fast read, fast paced, easy invisioned future where oil is continaully fough over and mercs have taken the place of armies. Thought the main character of Gent totally turns a 180 near the end of the book and with how he is wrote it is kinda unbelievable.
tag100 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This book is a lot of fun to read, if a bit scary. Set in 2032, Pressfield takes things happening today and projects them forward into a plausibly-constructed future that makes one reconsider the time in which we now live. At the same time, he builds a character in "Gent" about which the reader comes to care. Definitely a recommended read.
PghDragonMan on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Reading recent headlines, it is easy to see the world heading in the direction predicted by Steven Pressfield in The Profession. In this not too distant future, mercenary armies have supplemented, and eventually surpassed, the standing military of most countries, particularly, here in the US. That the head of one of the most powerful of these mercenary armies should get political ambitions, and act on those ambitions, is well within the bounds of reality. Such is future history as written by Steven Pressfield.The action scenes are well depicted. You can smell the sand, the gunpowder and the blood, but the scenes are not overly gory. The focus of the book is politics, not blood and guts. The dialog is very believable, but as clipped and stripped of non-essentials as a smooth military maneuver. Since two of the protagonists are a journalist and a mercenary, and most of the rest of the cast of characters falls in to one camp or the other, this is very fitting.While fast paced, the tension slowly builds to the finish. Then, it just disappears. Yes, there is a definite resolution, and a satisfying one at that, but there is no big ¿BANG!¿ at the end. That is the one let down: I would have liked the tension to have built to an even higher level before the culmination. Despite this one defect, The Profession is an outstanding four star read.
bobcatnshn on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Let me preface this by saying I am a big fan of Mr. Pressfield's work. However, I do not feel that this is one of his better entries. It was hard for me to get started and it was a bit of a disappointing finish. Strangely, I found the middle of the book to be quite a page turner. Since I received this book late, there are many fine reviews discussing the substance, etc., so I won't bother repeating it here. In some ways, this book reminded me of Fatherland, by Robert Harris. In all, it was an interesting read, but not one that I would recommend to everyone. Thanks LT for the book.Bob in Chicago
lwhitmill on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A strong story line but to TMI (too much information) on weapons. It is a different look at the future of the military world and the way that society progresses. While interesting it is not beleivable. If you like a good fictional story anf do not want to weigh the porential facts then it is a good read.
rarelibrarian on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I have never read anything else by Pressfield, but I am definitely going to look into his other works after having read this one. I enjoyed how he tied the story arc into the main character's memories of wars from the past that have taken place on the same soil he was staning on. The concept of a reincarnated warrior fighting the wars of the future was engaging and intriguing, but you have to be a military history or classical history buff to really appreciate the references. I also enjoyed the speculations that he based the plot on - I could see some of them coming true ($8/gallon of gas anyone??). I did have an issue with his general premise - I'm not sure that I see us giving up our military and transitioning to a mostly mercenary force. It was an interesting jumping off point, and he handled it well. I also didn't like the way the ending wasn't really wrapped up; if you don't like dangling plots, this book isn't for you.I would give this book to military history buffs, soldiers, or people up on current events. I think you have to know something about the military in order to really appreciate the nuances of his work. Overall, a thumbs up.
Menagerie on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The Profession follows an American mercenary soldier as he battles his way through the Middle East and Washington, DC to get to the truth of who is really in charge of the United States in 2032. Mercenary armies have taken over the fighting for numerous countries and the men who fight in them are a different breed. Gent fights because it is in his blood. The money is good but the high is what keeps him running into fire fights. He is completely loyal to General Salter, a former Army general who was disgraced when an overthrow in Africa led to hero worship and Salter overstepping his bounds. Now Salter is the head of the biggest merc army and he is amassing power at a dizzying rate. Gent is steadfast and joins up with Salter who sends him on numerous surgical strikes in the Middle East. Called back to Washington to act as an envoy for Salter and various nation-states and high-power companies, what Gent comes to realize, and regret, is that he is helping Salter take over the Middle East in a bid to become the next American leader. As people who stand against Salter start to mysteriously die, Gent must decide where his real loyalties lie and if being an American is more important than being a soldier. Pressfield paints a haunting picture of warfare and politics in the near future. His writing is heavy on technical details - some real and some made-up - and gun junkies will revel in all the hardware that is described in minute detail. Less attention is paid to the characters who seem to roll through the plot fulfilling their roles but not doing much else. Pressfield tries to show Gent's internal struggle, but the ending undercuts what he builds throughout the story and thus is unrealistic. The other characters, including General Salter, seem very caricatured. The star of this book is the premise; that mercenary armies and the conglomerates behind them, could wind up running the world with the enthusiastic support of a cynical and fed-up public.
FinsRandL on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This review is of the uncorrected galley proof and, as such, may not reflect the final published version of the novel."The Profession" is the first Pressfield work I've read and, I must admit, I;m not sure I'll pick up any others. In fact, out of the 18 Early Reviewer books I've read and commented on, this was probably the worst. There were several element of the novel which I found lacking. First, as mentioned by other reviewers, the weapon-focus aspect overshadowed the storyline in many instances. I am an avid reader of military and techno-thrillers and usually enjoy the technical aspects of the firepower. However, in Pressfield's work, I found the never-ending use of acronyms distracting and annoying. In particular, unexplained acronyms of his future military and battlefield were among some of the most onerous. As for the pacing and development of the novel, I found both to be flat and uninteresting. The vast majority of this novel is told in flashback and memory sequences that are disjointed and rather coarsely intertwined. As mentioned by reviewer bobcatnshn, I also found the middle section of the novel to be the most enjoyable portion of the read. In particular, this section illustrated a much better hand at character development, plot advancement, and plain-ol' storytelling than the other sections of the book.All of that being said, I found the core ideas of the novel and the basic plot to be thought-invoking and interesting. The future use of mercenary armies and for-hire intelligence represents a full-circle from America's early reliance on privateers and paid allies to achieve military goals. Unfortunately, while the idea and premise are promising, execution was lacking. 2 stars out of 5.
drlord on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is the first book of Steven Pressfield that I've read and it was very difficult initially to get into. The book is a futuristic look at warfare fought mostly by private armies. Honestly, the more I got into the book the more I likes it. Once I learned about the characters and what part in each others life they were a part of it was more enjoyable. Lawyers, Guns and Money (and war(thank you Warren Zevon))is an appropriate synopses.
ricksbooks on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Pressfield's "The Profession" is a military-oriented thriller set in the mid-21st century, where a movement toward the use of mercenary forces proceeds toward a constitutional crisis. Pressfield pushes the tempo hard in this work, infusing it with plenty of military terminology and kinetic action. The story is told in the first-person by a the mercenary hero who, while certainly an warrior comes across as both honor-bound and surprisingly humane and thoughtful.Lastly... If you liked "Gates of Fire", you'll like "The Profession".(I received a pre-release copy via the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.)
IronMike on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I had looked forward to reading Steven Pressfield's books. I've read lots of books on the military from the Ancient Greeks to the present day and I enjoy them. I've also enjoyed novels based on the military ever since I was a teenager (many moons ago.) And lately I've read all the books of Brad Thor and Vince Flynn. I had heard that Pressfield was quite good; but perhaps I should have begun with Pressfield's "Gates of Fire."There were some good moments in "The Profession," ... some good firefights, some funny moments, etc., but despite the overwhelming amount of detail about weaponry, military vehicles, the command structures of the various mercenary armies roaming the globe in the year 2032 etc., the book just couldn't capture me. I put the book down several times, deciding to give it another try later on, and I did try again three or four times, but I only got as far as Chapter Eight. I then jumped ahead in the book to see if perhaps the story became more interesting later on, only to find more of the same.Hey, maybe it's just me. The characters never seemed quite real to me. The main character of the book is a soldier named Gent. Gent comes across okay...pretty much like Scott Harvath/Jason Bourne/Dirk Pitt all wrapped into one, but the people he meets seem to be out of a Who's Who. Gent is sent from the battlefield in the Middle East to deliver a folder (or whatever) to the former First Lady, who is in Scotland. On the way, Gent gets into a vehicle where he is shortly joined by the former Secretary of State and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Before getting into this vehicle he is driven from the airport to the former First Lady's estate in a private car. After having been driven for quite a while Gent asks the driver how much further it is to the estate. The driver says, "we've been driving on the estate for the past half-hour." Everything and everyone seems blown out of normal proportion. Even Gent's ex-wife, it turns out, was twice on the "short list" for the Pulitzer Prize. It turns out that the former First Lady is out deer hunting, and they are on their way to find her in the woods. From a mile or two away they are shushed and permitted to watch the former First Lady execute her kill through Special Forces10x optical-enhanced binos that deconstruct visible light and IR/UV into digital elements and then recombine and enhance these signals electronically.In a scene reminiscent of Claude Lorrain's painting "Landscape with Ascanius Shooting the Stag of Sylvia," the former First Lady waits for the stag to turn its head so she can get a clean heart shot from 300 yards. As a former hunter I found this unlikely and perhaps unethical...but maybe it's just me. The shot from just behind the shoulder would probably have hit both lungs and possibly the heart, but death would have been pretty quick and ethical. The shot at the breast from that distance...well, I won't get into it.Eventually, the hunting party gets back to the mansion. Gent takes umbrage with the former Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for some supposed slight to the former First Lady, and Gent's Southern sense of honor is aroused and Gent calls the former Secretary of State and Nobel Laureate to account. The latter is rescued by the former First Lady. Being in the presence of the former First Lady, Gent realizes he is in the presence of Royalty.Royalty? I thought we were done with royalty two centuries ago. Well, after more of this kind of thing I just couldn't continue. However, if you like this kind of writing you should enjoy "The Profession."
Kunikov on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Try as I might, I simply cannot bring myself to give this book anything close to five stars. I've read practically all Pressfield's other books, and while his earlier book on Rommel was a let down, I had high hopes for this 'thriller'. Unfortunately, what started off slow and ponderous, only to pick up a little in the middle, ended just as slow and ponderous as it began. There are various narratives going side by side throughout the story and jumping from one point in time to another takes a toll on the reader's attention and interest. Describing the world at various points in the future to fill the reader in on what's going on in 2032, and has been going on, is needed as the book simply jumps into the 'action' on page one. But each vignette could have been made into its own volume. There was enough storyline that this one slim book could have been stretched into two or three and might have benefited both the author and reader in that a much more carefully crafted story would have been the end result, and the reader might have actually felt something for any of the main characters. But as this final product proved, there is a large disconnect between this reader and Pressfield's characters. At best they are two-dimensional, offering regular cliched phrases and ideas when the time seems right or the occasion presents itself. This book is also so full of acronyms that at times it's like reading a shorthand shopping list, far from the 'thriller' experience I was expecting. Even worse, since it's the future, Pressfield feels obligated to make half of them up on the spot, so even if you're familiar with military acronym's that won't save you. Can't say I'd recommend this one.
viking2917 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
[Early Reviewers review]The Professional is Steven Pressfield's take on the modern near future thriller. Pressfield is the author of a number of extraordinary historical novels set in ancient Greece. Gates of Fire is his masterpiece, a novel of the battle of Thermopylae and the 300 Spartans who died defending the pass. Tides of War is deeper and just as good, but requires a bit more careful reading. Tides of War is a historical novel of the Peleponnesian War, with a particular focus on the general and politician Alcibiades. Alcibiades is a charismatic, near egomaniacal leader of the Athenians, until he becomes feared by the other leaders, who work to bring him down. Condemned to death and barely escaping with his life to arch-enemy Sparta, he adopts the mindset of Sparta, becomes their general, and then tries to "re-conquer" Athens. It's a magnificent novel and study in leadership, and as it happens, The Profession is semi-explictly a version of Tides of War for the modern era. The Profession has two things going for it - insight into the military mind, and some very interesting and realistic future thinking on private armies, mercenaries, and geo-political developments in the Middle East. Think Tom Clancy meets Tom Friedman. As with most Pressfield novels, the central narrator is a sidekick to the "major" characters, a device that lets Pressfield remark on the major characters through the voice of a participant. Gent the mercenary is the voice of the novel. He's an employee of Force Insertion, the world's largest private army, commanded (CEO'd) by General Salter, our standin for Alcibiades. A "lead by example" former US general, admired by his men, exiled from his country for his actions after a peacekeeping mission run amok. Salter subscribes to the same theory of Necessity as a guide to action as does Alcibiades; exiled as Alcibiades, and finally, without spoiling anything, tries to retake his country as does Alcibiades.Salter commands a force that is in the employ of large oil companies and multi-nationals, and protecting or taking over significant regions of the Middle East. The interactions between the Gent and Salter, and Gent and his men, give insight into the values and thought processes of a foot soldier as well as a general, as well as the demands and requirements of being a leader. The characters are real, with flaws and foibles as well as nobility. The inevitable murky moral ground of war arises naturally; you are torn, as are the characters, about what the right thing to do is. The storyline is interesting and all-too-plausible; even today private contractors fulfill many of the duties that "should" fall to our armed forces. Pressfield spends a bit too much time for my taste on the intricacies of his fictional mercenary army, how they are structured into legions, armatures, brigades, battalions and divisions, and how their logistics work, but it does lend authenticity to the narrative. The dynamics of how a large, well-financed mercenary force could impact Middle East dynamics are well-drawn, and feel entirely possible. Governments and dictatorships rise and fall, and with them the fate of our mercenaries. Gent and Salter are brought into deep conflict, in spite of their long loyalty to each other. In the end it's a good read: thoughtful yet fast paced, and well worth the read, but not as good as his Greece novels - do yourself a favor and read Tides of War before you read The Profession, you'll be the better for both.[I was supposed to receive The Profession through the Early Reviewers program, but the publisher never sent it]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago