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on 14 May 2008
I must commend the author for putting together a series of very interesting accounts of a variety of private security operations, in various theatres, that expose the serious failings within the 'security' industry that has grown out of recent world events.

Equally commendable is the fact that this is not a detailed account of the authors career within the SAS. I have read a few of those and frankly they begin to repeat. Also, as the author alludes to, he doesn't want to give away trade secrets - which I completely agree with because, if I was serving within one of our elite units, I think I would feel that would be the worst sort of 'Compromise'.

The knowledge and skill that is depicted in the carrying out of security based tasks is exactly what I find interesting about Special Forces and how they conduct themselves - also the illustrations of how not to carry these tasks out is equally informative.

The complete lack of fearsome firefights within the book is to the authors credit - he was obviously doing a very good job! It is NOT short on drama however.

I especially Liked the thoughts presented regarding the Bravo 2 Zero Patrol of the 1st Gulf War. Brief but enlightening perspective.

This Book is an extremely good read - I would recommend this for those who would like an intelligent insight into the subject without any embellishment.
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on 12 August 2008
Bob Shepherd has the courage to point out that we have lost the plot as the politicians and accountants take over. Clear eyed, funny and modest this book takes us where most of us would not survive. We need people like Bob Shepherd - I hope that we realise it before it is too late.
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on 8 October 2009
As an ex infantry soldier, I can relate to Bob Shepherd's skills.
He tells his story of how CP.,should be conducted in a highly dangerous environment. Quietly and efficiently.

His SAS training and insight are to his credit. I am sure the people he looked after are well pleased with his efforts.
As for the book I read it in a couple of hours, and I will pass it on to some of my old comrades.
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on 9 November 2008
This is simply a magnificent read.I could not put it down.Bob Shepherd has seen it all, twenty years in the regiment followed by assignments on the circuit in hotspots such as:The West Bank and Gaza,Iraq and Afghanistan

Bobs professionalism shines through on every page and is in stark contrast to the glaring ineptitude of the American military forces. To think that he had to advise camp commanders on such basic principles as camp security or holding of hostages is gravely disturbing.But even more disturbing is the true cost of the global war on terror is being hidden by government departments who hire highly inept private security operators in place of properly trained and equipped military specialists.

This book is a revelation and Bob Shepherd pulls no punches and doesn't disguise his disquiet at the degeneration of The Circuit.
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on 16 August 2008
[[ASIN:0330455737 The Circuit: An Ex-SAS Soldier's True Account of One of the Most Powerful and Secretive Industries Spawned by the War on Terror]
A fascinating insight into the job of a 'Close Protection' operative.Bob Shepherd pulls no punches with his opinions about his fellow countrymen(and non fellow countrymen)who share the same profession,especially if they're not trained to his standard,which as you might guess after 23 years serving with 'The Regiment' are understandably high.If you're looking for a book crammed with boys own stories about damsels in distress and guns and explosions in true gruesome detail,then this definately is NOT the book for you.This is a story about a true professional in every sense of the word,who makes it his duty to understand the ways,traditions and historical backgrounds of the people he serves and meets on his adventures and operations in often very hostile environments.Oh yes,he also meets some very important and influential people(and the odd warlord)along the way...ENJOY.
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on 23 February 2009
Bob Shepherd is a former British special forces soldier and commercial security advisor whose experiences of the security circuits in Afghanistan and Iraq have left him with a bad taste in his mouth (in a manner of speaking).

The Circuit starts well, with the first third of the book working as an entertaining and revealing insight into a deadly serious business. Shepherd's ghost writer does a good job of coaxing detailed atmospheric and illustrative detail out of him, allowing the reader to visualise the places, people and the sights and sounds. He provides an intriguing view in for those of us on the outside, and I really did enjoy reading through these pages at pace. The middle third of the book continues along a similar vein, but you can't help but feel that Shepherd is using the book as an opportunity to drop names and give himself a good slap on the back for a job well done. Indeed, you'd be forgiven for thinking that without Mr. Shepherd, CNN wouldn't have got a single exclusive or scoop in Gaza or the Lebanon!

Casting this aside, my only real gripe with the middle third of the book was that his editorial team thought it a good idea to allow him to tell the tale of how he stole a prized possession from a democratically elected leader (Yasser Arafat). Stealing a presidential flag from a man who has entrusted you with an interview, having spent weeks holed up in a small building, is not something that I think is either big or clever. It certainly does not do the security advisor profession any favours, and I wonder what Shepherd's editor was thinking?

By the final third of the book, Shepherd's ultimate agenda - to chastise the private security companies that put profit before safety (shock horror!) - ruins any entertainment the reader might otherwise derive from the politically charged text. It's not that Shepherd should not criticise these companies; rather, it is that his ghost writer should not have allowed him to do so at the expense of keeping the reader interested. The problem is not that Shepherd has that "I know it all" attitude that is characteristic of many of the former SF soldier books out there, but that when you mix it with a supremely judgemental attitude (he criticises civilians who watch security contractor videos on the internet, exclaiming such behaviour is disgusting) and a dull topic (he relates, verbatim, the mind numbing content of some of his emails to security company management), it becomes very boring very quickly. As a result, the impact of the point he is trying to make is drastically reduced.

So tedious is the final half of the book that one can only assume that even Shepherd's ghost writer and editor had fallen asleep. There's an annoying repetition of the phrase "I'll call him *insert fake name*" when introducing characters whose anonymity he wishes to protect (a simple acknowledgement in the introduction that some names have been changed would have sufficed), and Shepherd seems intent on peddling the old "I've got a secret, but I'm not going to tell you it" line (which is fine, but don't mention it to begin with!). Additionally, there is a short chapter about the infamous Bravo Two Zero patrol from the 1991 Gulf War whose appearance in the book seems out of place. Ostensibly intended to introduce the concept of "bad management", this errant chapter appears to do little other than reinforce the fact that Shepherd is a demi-God who is always right.

This book almost certainly has an audience - those who are working as security advisors in war zones, and those who have a similarly professional or academic interest in that field of work - but be warned in advance that I found it very easy to put down. In fact, this is the first book in a very long time that I did not bring back home with me from a trip abroad. Hopefully, the cleaning staff at the Vegas hotel I left it in will use it wisely... as a door stop, or bookend.
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on 30 April 2009
What a fantastic book! I can't remember the last time I read something I enjoyed as much as this. I'm definitely going to be recommending it to all my mates.

Bob Shepherd was in the SAS for 20 years before he became a private security advisor, and now he works in war zones all over the world, mainly protecting journalists and TV crews. The book begins with an Israeli soldier pointing a gun at Bob's head, and you feel like you're right there with him. I could feel my heart racing as I was reading it! And it only gets more exciting from then on.

The things Bob Shepherd has seen and done are quite incredible, and you're with him all the way when he comes face to face with Taliban soldiers looking to pick a fight, when he's running for his life as a sniper shoots at him, when he's dodging roadside ambushes and when he's trawling the stinking morgues looking for ITN's Terry Lloyd's body. Bob Shepherd is completely awe-inspiring and a true hero. This really is an amazing book of and I hope Bob writes a sequel soon!
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on 2 January 2015
One of the best written accounts of non-military operations but a common-sense way of applying his knowledge & observation skills to keep his customers (TV News crews in hot spots) & himself as free from risk as possible, considering the circumstances.
Well-written in an easy-to-read style, he captures the transition from Army life to finding his niche in an unusual yet critical market that is all too frequently used to recruiting unsuitable people for the tasks in hand.
The balance with evaluation versus actions taken is a constant theme in the book as it should be on the ground & serves his writing skills as well as it does his ability to traverse some of the least predictable locations there are.
An excellent read with some eye-opening episodes.
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on 29 April 2012
Bob Sheperd has stepped forward and offered us an honest and articulate perspective to the ins and outs of work carried out by former soldiers in the phenominaly lucrative private military industry. Its clear that this is an industry that has resulted in the West abandoning its armed forces with under funding after losing sight of the big picture. Bob concentrates on the day to day actions and risks of working in tempramental and very hazardous locations, with no real support or strength in depth. Consequently he has to get it right first time as you only get unlucky once. Bob's proactive approach is very likely the reason he is in a position to write a book as opposed to many that have not returned from the work offered by the private military industry. And there has been many.Very insightful book on the inner working of the boys club that is the circuit!both I and my hubby enjouyed the 'through the looking glass' aspects of this book.
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on 6 June 2008
A first class and honest account of what is going on in the overseas security world today, in which the author highlights all the wrong doings and mistakes which is happening on the Circuit,to date and in the past.
Interesting paragraph also on Bravo Two Zero and the author who obviously has a wealth of experience of operating,mixing and living with the people of the Middle East writes nothing but of great respect for its people and its culture.
No blood guts and glory tales, just an honest story with some very good highlighted points on profit margins, deaths and contracts undertaken which should never be taken or accepted by private security companies.
A thoroughly enjoyable read.
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