All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

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by Paula Broadwell, Vernon Loeb
     
 

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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.

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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.

Editorial Reviews

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.)
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.
From the Publisher
"A valuable perspective on how Gen. Petraeus—the most successful U.S. general of his generation—approached the war in Afghanistan... It is, in fact, probably the best depiction yet of Gen. Petraeus's management style."
The Wall Street Journal

"General Petraeus is one of the most important Americans of our time, in or out of uniform. This riveting, insider's account of his life and education is at once instructive and inspiring."
—Tom Brokaw, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News; author of The Greatest Generation

"This majestic biography will set the standard for all future works about General Petraeus. With superb narrative skill, Broadwell simultaneously provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man, a fascinating account of modern warfare, and an elegant study of leadership."
—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time

"Teddy Roosevelt once said that it is not enough to be intelligent; a leader must also be honest and fearless. In General David Petraeus (himself a T.R. fan), America has been fortunate to have a soldier-scholar who is all three. Paula Broadwell, soldier-scholar in her own right, tells the Petraeus story masterfully, providing especially rich detail and insight into his Afghanistan mission. This book helps us understand how Petraeus has become the living legend he is."
—David Gergen, author of Eyewitness to Power

"This is the best book yet on General David Petraeus, written by a remarkable former Army officer who spent months on the ground in Afghanistan herself. Paula Broadwell captures his basic tenets of counterinsurgency and basic approach to leadership—as well as Petraeus's personal qualities and character—in a highly readable and pithy fashion. No one gives a truer picture of the war, or of the finest general of this era and one of the greatest in modern American history."
—Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution

"All In vividly demonstrates the influence General David Petraeus has had on a whole generation of military officers-showing by the force of his personal example what it means to be tough, loyal, committed, and smart. Paula Broadwell takes readers into the briefing rooms and onto the battlefields to better understand the lessons and sacrifices of America's wars."
—Nathaniel Fick, New York Times bestselling author of One Bullet Away

"Anyone seeking to understand the nature of American warfighting in the 21st century, how it is both like and utterly unlike that of any previous one, needs to understand Petraeus, his remarkable career, his thinking, and his character. All In is an excellent place to start. It is fascinating and insightful, informed by remarkable access to the man both on and off the battlefield."
—Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

"There have been several books written about parts of the career of David Petraeus, but this is the first one that could be called a biography of the most prominent American general since World War II. It is written with an insider's lively understanding of the workings of today's Army. I've known David Petraeus since he was a colonel and written two books in which he appeared, but I still learned a lot about him from this book. All In feels at times like we are sitting at his side in Afghanistan, reading his e-mails over his shoulder."
—Thomas E. Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Generals, Fiasco, and The Gamble

"Broadwell's excellent biography portrays [Petraeus] as a modern exemplar of the soldier-scholar-statesman and one who has exerted a profound influence on the American military establishment."
—Mackubin Thomas Owens, Foreign Affairs

"A valuable perspective on how Gen. Petraeus—the most successful U.S. general of his generation—approached the war in Afghanistan . . . It is, in fact, probably the best depiction yet of Gen. Petraeus's management style."
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal

“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.”

Houston Chronicle

"General Petraeus is one of the most important Americans of our time, in or out of uniform. This riveting insider's account of his life and education is at once instructive and inspiring."

Tom Brokaw, author of THE GREATEST GENERATION

“This majestic biography will set the standard for all future works about General Petraeus. With superb narrative skill, Broadwell simultaneously provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man, a fascinating account of modern warfare, and an elegant study of leadership.”

Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of NO ORDINARY TIME

"[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.”

ABC News

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101552308
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/24/2012
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
407,447
File size:
4 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Thomas E. Ricks
There have been several books written about parts of the career of David Petraeus, but this is the first one that could be called a biography of the most prominent American general since World War II. It is written with an insider's lively understanding of the workings of today's Army. I've known David Petraeus since he was a colonel and written two books in which he appeared, but I still learned a lot about him from this book. All In feels at times like we are sitting at his side in Afghanistan, reading his e-mails over his shoulder. (Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco and The Gamble)
Michael O'Hanlon
This is the best book yet on General David Petraeus, written by a remarkable former Army officer who spent months on the ground in Afghanistan herself. Paula Broadwell captures his basic tenets of counterinsurgency and basic approach to leadership—as well as Petraeus's personal qualities and character—in a highly readable and pithy fashion. No one gives a truer picture of the war, or of the finest general of this era and one of the greatest in modern American history. (Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution; author of The Wounded Giant and The Science of War)
Mark Bowden
"Anyone seeking to understand the nature of American warfighting in the 21st century, how it is both like and utterly unlike that of any previous one, needs to understand Petraeus, his remarkable career, his thinking, and his character. All In is an excellent place to start. It is fascinating and insightful, informed by remarkable access to the man both on and off the battlefield. (Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down)
David Gergen
Teddy Roosevelt once said that it is not enough to be intelligent; a leader must also be honest and fearless. In General David Petraeus (himself a T.R. fan), America has been fortunate to have a soldier-scholar who is all three. Paula Broadwell, soldier-scholar in her own right, tells the Petraeus story masterfully, providing especially rich detail and insight into his Afghanistan mission. This book helps us understand how Petraeus has become the living legend he is. (David Gergen, Director, Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership; author of Eyewitness to Power)
Doris Kearns Goodwin
This majestic biography will set the standard for all future works about General Petraeus. With superb narrative skill, Broadwell simultaneously provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man, a fascinating account of modern warfare, and an elegant study of leadership. (Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time and Team of Rivals)
From the Publisher
"A valuable perspective on how Gen. Petraeus—the most successful U.S. general of his generation—approached the war in Afghanistan... It is, in fact, probably the best depiction yet of Gen. Petraeus's management style."
The Wall Street Journal

"General Petraeus is one of the most important Americans of our time, in or out of uniform. This riveting, insider's account of his life and education is at once instructive and inspiring."
—Tom Brokaw, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News; author of The Greatest Generation

"This majestic biography will set the standard for all future works about General Petraeus. With superb narrative skill, Broadwell simultaneously provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man, a fascinating account of modern warfare, and an elegant study of leadership."
—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time

"Teddy Roosevelt once said that it is not enough to be intelligent; a leader must also be honest and fearless. In General David Petraeus (himself a T.R. fan), America has been fortunate to have a soldier-scholar who is all three. Paula Broadwell, soldier-scholar in her own right, tells the Petraeus story masterfully, providing especially rich detail and insight into his Afghanistan mission. This book helps us understand how Petraeus has become the living legend he is."
—David Gergen, author of Eyewitness to Power

"This is the best book yet on General David Petraeus, written by a remarkable former Army officer who spent months on the ground in Afghanistan herself. Paula Broadwell captures his basic tenets of counterinsurgency and basic approach to leadership—as well as Petraeus's personal qualities and character—in a highly readable and pithy fashion. No one gives a truer picture of the war, or of the finest general of this era and one of the greatest in modern American history."
—Michael O'Hanlon, Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution

"All In vividly demonstrates the influence General David Petraeus has had on a whole generation of military officers-showing by the force of his personal example what it means to be tough, loyal, committed, and smart. Paula Broadwell takes readers into the briefing rooms and onto the battlefields to better understand the lessons and sacrifices of America's wars."
—Nathaniel Fick, New York Times bestselling author of One Bullet Away

"Anyone seeking to understand the nature of American warfighting in the 21st century, how it is both like and utterly unlike that of any previous one, needs to understand Petraeus, his remarkable career, his thinking, and his character. All In is an excellent place to start. It is fascinating and insightful, informed by remarkable access to the man both on and off the battlefield."
—Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down

"There have been several books written about parts of the career of David Petraeus, but this is the first one that could be called a biography of the most prominent American general since World War II. It is written with an insider's lively understanding of the workings of today's Army. I've known David Petraeus since he was a colonel and written two books in which he appeared, but I still learned a lot about him from this book. All In feels at times like we are sitting at his side in Afghanistan, reading his e-mails over his shoulder."
—Thomas E. Ricks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Generals, Fiasco, and The Gamble

"Broadwell's excellent biography portrays [Petraeus] as a modern exemplar of the soldier-scholar-statesman and one who has exerted a profound influence on the American military establishment."
—Mackubin Thomas Owens, Foreign Affairs

Tom Brokaw
General Petraeus is one of the most important Americans of our time, in or out of uniform. This riveting, insider's account of his life and education is at once instructive and inspiring. (Tom Brokaw, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News; author of The Greatest Generation)

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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All In: The Education of General David Petraeus 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
jellybeanJS More than 1 year ago
When embedded becomes in - bedded, I feel a moral obligation not to support those who are profitting from it. NO THANKS
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh yeah.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Desert-Infantryman More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All in is awesome!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
modinegunch More than 1 year ago
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.