The official biography of CIA Director General David Petraeus, by Harvard researcher Paula Broadwell, has long been anticipated in the .mil/COIN/NatSec/Foreign Policy communities and blogosphere. I can hear pencils scrawling furiously away in the margins even as I type this post.
Broadwell, herself a reserve Army officer, West Pointer, Harvard grad, doctoral student at King’s College War Studies Department , and by all accounts, an impressive up and coming individual, had very extensive access to her subject – allegedly, far more than the official Army historian assigned to General Petraeus’ last command. Given the subject is General Petraeus, the precarious state of American policy in Afghanistan and 2012 as a circus of political excess, All In will be one of the few “must read” books this year.
And, I must commend
Miss Mrs. Broadwell highly here, she will be donating 20 % of her net proceeds to help wounded veterans.
That said, in terms of reaction to this book, there will be blood.
Reviews of All In will afford the opportunity to tear the scabs off of the well-worn COINdinista/COINtra debate and rub salt in the exposed wounds – I for one am especially looking forward to reading future back to back reviews by Carl Prine and Thomas Ricks and Abu Muqawama vs. Colonel Gian Gentile. In the mainstream press, the opportunity for newspaper columnists to get in gratuitous potshots against figures like Presidents Bush and Obama, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Robert Gates, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Stan McChrystal and numerous others or grind partisan axes will be too tempting to resist, regardless of how relevant these remarks are to Broadwell’s biography of Petraeus. The looming specter of draconian cuts to defense budgets will also add to the rancor of the discussion of the book within the defense community.
Somewhere in that debate will be the book Broadwell actually wrote and within the book, perhaps, we will come to see David Petraeus. Or not.
Get your popcorn ready!
Right now, I am deep into reading the superb George Kennan biography by eminent diplomatic historian John Lewis Gaddis but All In is definitely next on my list.
And it will be reviewed.