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133 Reviews
5 star:
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3 star:
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40 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good 'Primer' for Junior/Senior Officers
This is the first book by Ms. Broadwell, a West Point graduate (1995) with advanced degrees in public policy, international security, and war studies. "All In..." grew out of her dissertation on transformational leadership and organizational innovation, using Gen Petraeus as a case study. In this book, Gen Petraeus is also a case study, as are other members of Team...
Published on January 29, 2012 by RGL

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262 of 275 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Over rated
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...
Published on March 30, 2012 by R. C Sheehy


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262 of 275 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Over rated, March 30, 2012
This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
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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178 of 190 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of All Knowns, February 10, 2012
By 
Robert J. Alberts "Rob Alberts" (Alexandria, Virginia United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
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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191 of 211 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bureaucratic Story and Writing, February 20, 2012
By 
Adam Smith "1776" (East Lansing, MI USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
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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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I have to say I was quite disappointed with this book...., March 17, 2012
By 
infantry officer "thinker6" (spring hill, fl United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
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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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alot about Afghanistan, not so much about the soldier-scholar development, August 7, 2012
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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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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not much new, March 25, 2012
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This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
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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31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Can't Get Into this book at All, November 20, 2012
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This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
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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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did not finish, November 14, 2012
By 
Texas Bob "Bob" (Pacific Grove, California USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
I saw Paula Broadwell at a book review and bought the book.

She made the book sound interesting. It was not. I gave up about one-half way through. It just skipped around. I usually finish all books I start. I could not do this one. I may now pick it up again in view of the just announced relationship between the two. That may make the book more interesting.

Hopefully the people now buying the book are not expecting much.
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39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Publisher and Amazon Need to Revise Book Description., November 14, 2012
By 
Ted I Jones (Memphis, Tennessee United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
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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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Other Issues in the book, November 21, 2012
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This review is from: All In: The Education of General David Petraeus (Hardcover)
I read the book--at the time I thought it was so much flattery of the General. General P was a "political" general--first, marrying the Superintendent's (MG Knowlton) daughter gave him a fast track forward advantage within his USMA class pursuit of stars. Paula gives credit to MG Knowlton for the Hamlet Evaluation System(HES) in RVN--(that was a total failure IMHO as an advisor with John Paul Vann in Pleiku). However, General P did his doctoral thesis on Vietnam at Princeton, but never served there.
Question for SECDEF and OMB DOD analysts: Why did General P need a PhD? A waste of money and time. Paula reports that General P is surrounded by his many "mentees" who are active duty PhD's!! The Army Mentorship Program that needs review. She reported he had a "flat" organization where all his many mentees at any rank can advise him. Question for SECDEF: How many personnel were in General P's entourage in AFGHANISTAN? Count all mentees, aides-de-camp, stenos, speechwriters, cooks, uniform managers, drivers, personal security, and others. On the Imus show, the author of Assassin was in country and claimed the General P's entourage exceeded in numbers of the George Bush road entourage.
Question for SECDEF: Examine the results of Army promotion boards for the last 10 years--what was the selections rate of Petraeus mentees compared to mentees of others, and those with no mentor--the officers who can do the job on their own without special supporters of higher rank. An equal opportunity problem?
Question for SECDEF: Was Paula recalled for active duty for book writing or otherwise paid for the book effort by DOD funds?
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All In: The Education of General David Petraeus
All In: The Education of General David Petraeus by Paula Broadwell (Hardcover - January 24, 2012)
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