All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

( 20 )

Overview

General David Petraeus is the most transformative leader the American military has seen since the generation of Marshall. In the New York Times bestseller All In, military expert Paula Broadwell examines Petraeus's career, his intellectual development as a military officer, and his impact on the U.S. military.

Afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends, Broadwell reported on the front lines of fighting and at the ...

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Overview

General David Petraeus is the most transformative leader the American military has seen since the generation of Marshall. In the New York Times bestseller All In, military expert Paula Broadwell examines Petraeus's career, his intellectual development as a military officer, and his impact on the U.S. military.

Afforded extensive access by General Petraeus, his mentors, his subordinates, and his longtime friends, Broadwell reported on the front lines of fighting and at the strategic command in Afghanistan to chronicle the experiences of this American general as they were brought to bear in the terrible crucible of war. All In draws on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers to tell the inside story of this commander's development and leadership in war.

When Petraeus assumed command in Afghanistan in July 2010, the conflict looked as bleak as at any moment in America's nine years on the ground there. Petraeus's defining idea—counterinsurgency—was immediate put to its most difficult test: the hard lessons learned during the surge in Iraq were to be applied in a radically different theater. All In examines the impact in Afghanistan of new counterinsurgency as well as counterterrorism strategies through the commands of several Petraeus protégés.

Broadwell examines his evolution as a solider from his education at West Point in the wake of Vietnam to his earlier service in Central America, Haiti, Kuwait, Bosnia, and Iraq. All In also documents the general's role in the war in Washington, going behind the scenes of negotiations during policy reviews of the war in Afghanistan in Congress, the Pentagon, and the White House.

Broadwell ultimately appraises Petraeus's impact on the entire U.S. military: Thanks to this man's influence, the military is better prepared to fight using a comprehensive blend of civil-military activities. As America surveys a decade of untraditional warfare, this much is clear: The career of General David Petraeus profoundly shaped our military and left an indelible mark on its rising leaders.

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Editorial Reviews

ABC News
[Gen. Jack] Galvin said in an interview with Broadwell, ‘live up to it all with the highest standards of integrity. You become part of a legend.’ All In fits neatly into that.
The Wall Street Journal
All In provide[s] . . . a valuable perspective on how Gen. Petraeus—the most successful U.S. general of his generation—approached the war in Afghanistan and other crucial junctures in his care. . . . [Broadwell's] account is dead-bang accurate. It is, in fact, probably the best depiction yet of Gen. Petraeus's management style. . . . Even those most familiar with Gen. Petraeus will learn something new here.
Houston Chronicle
Paula Broadwell offers a fascinating account . . . present[ing] a work that is at once a partial biography, a study in his particular brand of military leadership and an examination of his command year in Afghanistan.
Publishers Weekly
This is an authoritative and engrossing look at General David Petraeus—now director of the CIA—, his impact on the Army (particularly in terms of counterinsurgency tactics), and his command of the NATO and U.S. forces during the surge in Afghanistan, including accounts from his battalion commanders and others. Broadwell gives what Petraeus himself might term a "granular understanding" of the general, detailing his life, motivations, mentors, education, postings, and command style in an engaging manner, only slightly marred by the copious use of acronyms (though the book does feature a three-page guide to the latter). Broadwell, a West Point graduate, veteran, and counterterrorism policy expert, first met Petraeus in 2006 as a graduate student and later conducted a case study in Petraeus' leadership which concurrently became a thesis for her University of London Ph.D. in public policy and this book. She had unique access to Petraeus, his staff and his colleagues, and it shows in the details—from his father's exhortations to focus on "Results, boy!," to the informal, handwritten note of appreciation Petraeus received from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The book veers from biography to military history to counterinsurgency manual, and though Broadwell fails to sufficiently explore criticisms of Petraeus, the back-and-forth in topic and theme ultimately render a fuller context within which readers might understand the general and his remarkable impact. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Relying on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers, Broadwell tells the story of one of the key military leaders of our time. She's got the background, having graduated with honors from the U.S. Military Academy; coauthor Loeb, the Washington Post's Metro editor, was embedded with the 101st Airborne Division under Petraeus's command in 2003. Essential for readers following current events.
Kirkus Reviews
A semi-authorized biography of Army Gen. David Petraeus, in the context of his Iraq and Afghanistan war commands after 9/11. While researching her doctorate at the University of London, Broadwell, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, decided to focus on Petraeus. She had met him in 2006, while a graduate student at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and she eventually came to know him better and won his cooperation to produce a book. Washington Post editor Loeb, who was embedded with a military unit under Petraeus' command in Iraq in 2003, provides a solid journalistic aspect to the book, which is not a traditional biography—the narrative is not chronological and does not cover every aspect of the subject's rise from student to the top of the military establishment. The author scatters biographical elements throughout the story, offering a somewhat in-depth understanding of how generals are made in the contemporary American military, and what drove this one man in particular to attain the top rank and become perhaps the most recognizable war commander since Dwight D. Eisenhower. Although Broadwell rarely demonstrates overt political stances in the book, she appears to more or less approve of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan as a counterterrorist strategy. Though Petraeus comes across as a consistently "all-in" warrior, Broadwell occasionally includes material that reveals his flaws. To the author's credit, she pays close attention to Petraeus' home life; after all, no war commander leaves for battle without consequences for a spouse, children, parents and many others. It is of special interest that Petraeus married Holly Knowlton, whose father William A. Knowlton served as superintendent of West Point when Petraeus was a cadet there. The narrative is difficult to track because of shifting time elements and sporadic sections of battleground details, but Broadwell provides a first-rate education about the modern American military for outsiders.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143122999
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 11/21/2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 622,317
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula Broadwell has more than a decade of military service and nearly two decades of work in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. She is a PhD candidate at the University of London. Broadwell received an MPA degree from Harvard. She graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy. She lives with her husband and their two children in North Carolina.

Vernon Loeb
is the Metro editor at The Washington Post. In 2003, he embedded with the 101st Airborne Division under Petraeus's command.

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Table of Contents

Map of Afghanistan viii-ix

Acronyms and Abbreviations xiii

Cast of Characters xix

Preface xxvii

Chapter 1 Ground Truth 1

Chapter 2 Results, Boy 29

Chapter 3 True Believers 57

Chapter 4 Screaming Eagles 83

Chapter 5 Anaconda 113

Chapter 6 Clear, Hold and Build 145

Chapter 7 Lines of Operation 171

Chapter 8 Washington and Back 199

Chapter 9 High Stakes 225

Chapter 10 Transition 255

Chapter 11 Drawdown 291

Chapter 12 Mask of Command 311

Chapter 13 Still All In 339

Acknowledgments 359

Appendix A Counterinsurgency Guidance Letter 365

Appendix B COMISAF's COIN Contracting Guidance 369

Appendix C Anaconda Strategy 371

Appendix D Engine of Change 373

Notes 375

Index 383

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Glory Fest to the General

    Don't expect revelations unless you know little about this man. If you admire Petraeus, you might get some leadership wisdom out of this book, as long as you can stomach the leader himself. He is one of the best self promoters ever - even Madonna, Obama and Oprah could learn a few tactics - and there is something to be said in favor of this ability. The reader begins to wonder how much of his time his publicity machine consumed at taxpayers' expense. And was he building a resume from commanding two wars - lots of blood and money as building blocks? He has long insisted he is not running for president, but this book with all its media exposure for its hot-looking female author sends another message for those paying attention. The authors - there are actually two but the hot one gets the camera time - throw in a few critical comments now and again for balance and objectivity. But if the honorable general begins to sound just too honorable, and too good to be true, then there's the big takeaway.

    8 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    More journalism than true biography.

    While the book is informative to laymen about the general's contribution to modern Army strategic thinking and tactics on insurgencies, the book is sparce on showing how the policy actually works in practice on the ground. The book's approach is more a report of statistcal success than an illustration of specific examples showing how the general's vision was actually implemented. The book attempts to do so by incorporating stories involving some of the general's proteges, but even these vignettes are not fully developed and seem inserted more as "filler" than as central to the main theme which is the general himself.

    The book is disjointed and not clearly focused. Is it biography? Is it military science? Is it an exposition of political grand strategy?

    As biography, it seems only and mainly to be just an ouline of key events in the general's life, but without any deeper reporting or analysis of his actual life experience or of what actually drives him to achieve the goals he has set for himself.

    The book attempts to cinematic pretensions by presenting flashback-like episodes that alternate events in Afganistan with prior events in Iraq - sometimes without any preparation for the transition in time and place. The author would have done better to have presented the story in proper chronological order without striving for the unnecessary dramatic effect.

    The book ends with the general's retirement from the
    Army and his assuming the CIA DIrectorship. This
    necessarily cuts off the narrative in the middle of the story that is yet to be told.

    The book has only one map illustration of Afganistan. The many references to tactical operations occurring in various parts of that country cry out for additional maps to help the reader understand the events described.

    I was disappointed with this book. It is useful only to catch-up with the overall story arc of the Afganistan war, but I believe the definitive story of the general is still waiting to be written by Dana Priest.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2012

    When embedded becomes in - bedded, I feel a moral obligation no

    When embedded becomes in - bedded, I feel a moral obligation not to support those who are profitting from it. NO THANKS

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2012

    Anonymous

    I would have loved to read this book, I have admired the general and his rise to the pinnacle of his career. Fast forward to November 2012, David Patreus is a wife cheater and worst of all he cheated with another married woman. I will not contribute any money to a woman who is a home wrecker and whose biography was wtitten between the sheets.
    Disgusting!

    5 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    An Education on Life After 9/11

    Paula Broadwell does not tell the Petreus story as a formal biography. Instead she chooses a narrative style which follows Petraeus's career in stops and starts. The book's main focus of course is Afghanistan & Iraq, but her choice of pausing for vignettes reveals details, both big and small about the man which help the reader to understand Petraeus, the life-long soldier and commander of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. This makes for a casual, comfortable read which is insightful and moving.

    Above all things, the reader will gain an intimate perspective about what Afghanistan is all about and how America's ( and Petreu's ) strategy evolves. The story told here is not what we see or read on TV or in the media. Suddenly, the reader has a new context from which to evaluate the 10 years our nation has been in Afghanistan and how lessons learned by Petraeus throughout his career come to the forefront in Afghanistan. You'll gain a better perspective of the 2010 surge and the difficult task facing American troops, their leadership and the coalition of nations who struggle to carve out a secure Afghanistan.

    I come away from this book proud to be an American, grateful to this generation of citizen warriors who serve a higher cause, and thankful that Petraeus remains a civil servant of my nation as the direct of the CIA. A great read which might alter your perceptions of these difficult 10 years since 9/11 puts the American nation, and our troops into dangerous motion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Hiuy

    Oh yeah.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2012

    Learn about the most significant general officer since World War II.

    I liked the writing style. Of particular note were the numerous first hand accounts of company and field grade Special Forces officers which document that COIN is not a passing fad. Thus giving great credibility to the work GEN Petreaus (and those who helped him develop and expand what had previously been written on COIN) brought forward and developed into policy. His leadership style uses technology and his own boots on the ground to accomplish the mission.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 25, 2012

    Great book about a great American, by a credible author.

    This book exemplifies the sacrifice and dedication of not only General Petraeus, but others in the military who insure our freedoms which others would take away.

    And to think that Hillary Clinton had the audacity to basically call him a liar in the September 2011 Senate Hearing on Iraq, by saying she had "a willing suspension of disbelief" with regard to his testimony. (New York Sun: Septemher 12, 2007.) This is a great example of the sacrifice men and women who serve in the military have to put up with from those who don't have the foggiest idea about military operations and often show disdain for the institution.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    Great

    Awesome book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    Cool!

    All in is awesome!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 25, 2012

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    Posted March 17, 2012

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    Posted November 16, 2012

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