All In by- The Education Of General David Petraeus by Paula Bradwell
The Education of General David Petraeus
by Paula Broadwell & Vernon Loeb
I try very hard to finish the books I start. I review many books but never accept ‘review copies’. Freebies put me under a pressure that I would rather avoid. So I adopt the view that if I have paid for the thing I should read it!
In the case of ‘All In’, that was very hard. I don’t doubt that Mrs. Broadwell has many attributes, but writing is not one of them. As a writer, she should keep to soldiering.
Writing is very hard. Being able to keep someone’s attention page after page is difficult for even the best of writers. One exception might be S.L.A. Marshall the military historian who said that he could write on toilet paper with a crayon and still sell it. That may be so - but I doubt it. In Mrs. Broadwell’s case, her book was like pulling teeth.
One would have thought that General David Petraeus would have been an interesting subject - and he might have been with a different author. The fact that he betrayed his wife, his country and himself was revealed only after the book’s publication.
The person that comes out of the book is a devious self-serving con-man, with the gift of the gab. His ability comes from those around him. He trawls the military for superior brains and picks those brains for ideas that he calls his own.
Page after boring page we read his speeches and award ceremonies. For every medal he awards, he awards himself two. He seems to spend his whole time travelling with his enormous entourage around battle fields (after the fighting has stopped), countries to meet dignitaries’ and back to the US for high level meetings. Even when he is tasked by the President to come up with a plan, he immediately passes it down to subordinates and then summaries their results.
Life is too short to waste time reading this book - but if you feel the need and your library doesn’t have it, you can buy a new hard copy from Amazon for $2.06!