The Circuit

THE CIRCUIT

After nearly 20 years of SAS operations, including a never before published role in the infamous Bravo Two Zero patrol, Bob Shepherd retired from the military to work as an advisor on the international commercial security circuit. Certain his most dangerous days were behind him, Bob settled into a sedate life looking after VIPs. Then 9/11 happened.

Bob found himself back in war zones on assignments far more perilous than anything he had encountered in the SAS: from ferrying journalists across firing lines in The West Bank and Gaza to travelling to the heart of Osama bin Laden’s Afghan lair. As part of a two-man team, Bob searched for ITN Correspondent Terry Lloyd’s missing crew in Basra, Iraq, while in Afghanistan he was forced to spend the night as the only Westerner in Khost – with a $25,000 bounty on his head.

As the War on Terror escalated, Bob contended with increasingly sophisticated insurgents. But the most disturbing development he witnessed was much closer to home: The Circuit’s rise from a niche business staffed by top veterans into an unregulated, billion dollar industry that too often places profits above lives. This is a pulse-racing and at times shocking testament to what is really happening, on the ground, in the major trouble spots of the world.

 
Review
“…this is a mature, experienced and grassroots view of the dirty, and dangerous, work involved in filling our television screens each evening with updates from the world’s troublespots. It also provides much food for thought about counter-insurgency doctrine and practice in complex human terrain. Finally, he raises the important issue of how the extensive use of private security contractors is increasingly counter-productive to the winning of counter-insurgency wars…”         Defender Summer 2007/08
 

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11 thoughts on “The Circuit

  1. This book is brilliant. I’ve read quite a few books who’s authors are ex regiment and they are all good but this book is easily up there with the best! You often see comments saying ‘I couldn’t put the book down’ but with this book it’s actually true, once you start reading it you’re hooked, you can’t put it down!!

    Buy a copy and find out for yourself……

  2. This is an amazing book full of real life situations. I was told this book was unputadownable but i just said yeah yeah i have heard that before but i was wrong and they where right.

  3. Great to meet you today at Bishopgarth Bob . Brilliant talk a no bull straight from the heart presentation
    Enjoy the books
    All the very best mate
    Keep smiling
    Martin

  4. Hi Bob,

    I have just finished reading your book and (as an avid reader) I have to say its one of the few books that I couldn’t wait to pick up and continue. I left the Marines and entered the CP world in 2007, one of my first jobs being in Kabul. This book at times was both comforting and humbling for me, in some respects I felt that I had been on the right track and in other areas I felt that I had been completely naive. Your writing was very objective and honest and it made me look at the profession in a different light. Perhaps up until that point I had been ‘ playing at it’ and subsequently getting away with it.

    I can see now how the skill set in the close protection industry has been watered down by the ease in which almost anyone with with any type of military or Police background can pay for a course and ultimately find themselves operating in hostile environments believing they are well prepared. Personally I felt I was somewhere in the middle, by no means the worst but far from accomplished.

    I took a break from the industry and recently qualified as a Paramedic in the Scottish Ambulance service and reading this book was affirming that I was moving in the right direction in terms of skills but uncomofrtable when I looked back on how I’d operated.

    The training won’t stop for me here and I will continue to seek out the best people to learn from and train with, anything less is to do myself and my client a disservice.

    I really appreciated your integrity and I’d like to thank you for putting things in to perspective and setting me on the path to becoming a better operator.

    Kind regards

    Alan

    1. Hi Alan,
      I have to say I’m absolutely humbled by your comments, thank you very much. It’s made me realise that writing The Circuit has been a worthwhile project.

      I give talks around the country to raise awareness of The Circuit and the fact that it’s an unregulated industry etc etc. The talks have always gone down well with a very mixed audience. However, to read positive comments from someone like yourself means that I have to keep writing and talking as it’s all worth it.
      A big thank you once again Alan, and all the best for the future.
      B.S.

  5. A gripping and eye opening book. It has the first person narrative of a soldier on the ground and the informed view of an historian in the making.

    It is this combination of talent and experience which puts this book somewhere between Sgt Dan Mills’ ‘Sniper One’ and ‘Vulcan 607’ by Rowland White.

    Hopefully this will help us to appreciate the risks reporters make in trying to get stories and interviews. Without such groundwork we could not even hope to know anything about such far flung and inaccessible places. Not only should those who stand behind and in front of the camera be given the privilege for their position and their bravery but those who help them to get there (and out) as well.

  6. This book has brought to my attention an area I was COMPLETELY unaware of. I think that more people need to read this book as The Circuit seems to be something few people are aware of. You have approached this with such a critical ‘Soldier’s’ eye and have shown in no uncertain terms that those Security Advisors currently on the ground are under supplied, and almost kept secret from the public eye.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book as it has been such an eye opener and is written so well from the point of view of someone who has such an extensive military knowledge and background.

    I do not pretend to have a military backgroud, but some of the passages in your book struck me as shocking. And if a simple civilian can see the gaping problems in how some CSCs appears to work, I find it hard to believe that those involved in the field openly refuse your advice or deny there is even a problem.

    I’m now off to buy your recent non-fiction works, read good things about them!

    Keep writing, take care, and stay sharp.

    Joe

  7. Hello Mr Shepherd.

    My name is Caleb and I am planning to travel to Afghanistan in March. Can you please give me some advise on personel security etc.

    Sincerley Caleb.

    1. Hi Caleb,

      I don’t know what capacity you are going to Afghanistan in, or indeed where in the country you intend to go. Please go to my contact page and send me more information. I’ll only be too happy to try to help you.
      B.S.

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