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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.


Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59420-318-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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