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All In: The Education of General David Petraeus [Kindle Edition]

Paula Broadwell , Vernon Loeb
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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


"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."


“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

About the Author

Paula Broadwell served in the military for over a decade and has more than fifteen years experience in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Vernon Loeb
is the metro editor at the Washington Post.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2866 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; 1 edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,634 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
271 of 285 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Over rated March 30, 2012
I have to say this book really left a lot to be desired. Paula Broadwell tried to tell one good story I am sure but she failed and instead told several bad ones. There is no cohesion to this story and instead we see a mishmash of bad ones. We are mislead by the title. The book really doesn't do a good job explaining Petraeus or his command style. We see a confusing mix of a biography, a first hand account of the ground situation in Afghanistan and then a view of the struggles winning the hearts and minds of the Afghani people.

This book lacks vision and really doesn't tell the reader anything earth shattering or more depth than one could find by reading Time or watching CNN. There is nothing new under the sun here. Seriously, don't waste your time no matter what the professional critics say.
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183 of 196 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of All Knowns February 10, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Much wasn't really brought to light or revealed here. One never gets a sense about how Petraeus makes judgements, where he failed and would have done better, or has any insight into him and the thought process. I found The Fourth Star much more robust and insightful. Paula is obviously a fan and didn't have any objectivity in the book. Petraeus is either awesome or super awesome. OK. Got it. Next? There is no more depth.
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196 of 217 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bureaucratic Story and Writing February 20, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
You'll love this book if you like bureaucratic history and thinly veiled hero worshiping. Lots of pages about team building and communication in a large organization. For that stuff, I prefer David Novak's, Taking People with You. As an biography, it was very disappointing. You find out that David Petraeus can run at youthful speeds for miles, but he doesn't seem to ever breathe hard, sweat or get a sore tendon. That is, the book lacks human details and insight into the man. I doubt that General Petraeus is just a phenomenal bureaucrat, but I'll have to wait for a great biography to find out.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book with the desire to understand the insides of the man Gen. Petraeus. Unfortunately this book reads like a news magazine. This is little insight into the man. It is a bland history of the sequence of events in his life.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
By Jared
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was really excited getting this book. I love military history and learning about military leaders, and this book looked like it would give me a view of one of the greatest military minds of our generation. I was disappointed in how much the education of Gen. Petraeus was left out of a book whose subtitle is "The Education of General David Petraeus." You read some about his time at West Point, Leavenworth, Princeton, but primarily this book is a recount of his time in Afghanistan. As commander ISAF, Gen Petraeus did apply much of what he learned over his years of study and experience in the Army. However, the book fails to bring these two ideas together, turning into a recount of events instead of a book about Gen. Petraeus. Overall, the content disappointingly fails to live up to the title.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can't Get Into this book at All November 20, 2012
First, let me confess that I probably would never have read this book without the scandal attached to it. I also mostly skimmed through the middle and end sections. I wasn't expecting a tell-all story of their affair, but I was curious to see hypocrisy in action. My favorite part of the book was the ironic and glowing reviews on the book jacket.

I think I can be pretty objective on the actual content of the book. I had some minimal expectations of learning something about Petraeus and maybe hearing a few interesting stories. I noticed immediately that sections of the writing in the book didn't seem to match others. Some parts were really very bad and lacked grammatical cohesion. It was shockingly bad writing for a Harvard grad and PhD candidate. Other parts were written in a grammatically solid but mind-numbingly boring style. I think the differences could be from heavy editing or the different co-authors.

Lots of time is spent excessively covering small details that add nothing to the readers enjoyment of this book. Some examples of this I can recall are the paragraphs on the genealogy of Holly Petraeus back to the 1600s and her father's school grades. I didn't learn anything about Petreus's leadership or his unique views on the the war. It seemed like a lot of fluff and propaganda type stuff. This is the kind of "leadership" information you would find in a brochure at a self help seminar. It didn't show any of the gritty truth of reality. Thus, I skimmed through most of the book.

I noticed one reviewer complain that since the scandal broke there have been more "one star" reviews. I don't think this is entirely due to personal animosity towards Petraeus or Broadwell. I think rather the "five star" reviewers prior to the scandal were biased in favor of the book because people had such admiration for Petraeus they overlooked the book's flaws.

Please excuse the typos I probably inserted in this review. I'm too lazy to look for them :)
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much new March 25, 2012
By Trooper
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well-written first effort by this author, however for those of us up to speed on military doctrine and recent military history, little new was presented. There was very little about Petraeus' family, or his wife's. A lot of the same old war stories. I was frankly a bit disappointed.
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40 of 50 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Publisher and Amazon Need to Revise Book Description. November 14, 2012
The publisher and/or Amazon are providing some unintended humor with the statement in the book description that Broadwell was "Afforded extensive access by General Petraeus."

Surprisingly tepid and unthoughtful book by a mistress. It makes "Monica's Story" by Andrew Morton appear definitive and engaging in this genre. At least Monica Lewinsky and Andrew Morton knew what they were trying to sell.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your money
Very poorly written. No cohesive story line and obvious attempt at hero worship. Of course when your sleeping with the subject of the story I guess important things like facts and... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Anthony M. Manfre
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This whole book is a lie. I want my money back.
Published 16 days ago by Ryan Olsen
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what you think!
This book goes in to a lot of the details about how the actual fighting in Afghanistan was conducted. Read more
Published 1 month ago by cas
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Men can Fall due to Zipper Malfunctions
A waste of paper written by an adulteress for an adulterer. Petraeus is completely disgraced now, pleading guilt to providing classified information to Paula Broadwell. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Bill P
2.0 out of 5 stars Middling at best
The content? Middling at best. A biography is really only valuable inasmuch as it can tell us how the subject made the decisions he or she did, and how those decisions succeeded or... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Brian Gongol
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 8 months ago by terrill parrish
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
There's nothing to say that hasn't already been said.
Published 8 months ago by Susan J. Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for lip overs of Military Heros
An excellent read about General David Petraeus, quite a dedicated Military Leader.
Published 9 months ago by Janet C. Hostetler
5.0 out of 5 stars good book
After I finished it I passed it onto one of my sons who is at LtCol in the Army. He is a great fan of Gen Petraeus
Published 11 months ago by John M. Zeigler
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story of a great general
This book provides excellent insight to a great military leader in a significant time in military history. Put aside all the personal indiscretions of the author and the subject. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Paul Miller
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