The David Petraeus-Paula Broadwell affair caught the nation off guard, but for many within the pair’s inner circle, the news did not come as much of a surprise. After all, Broadwell was embedded (heh, heh) with the general for several months in Afghanistan. And her book about him was by many accounts an exercise in breathless adoration rather than an objective biography.
It even seemed like the writing was on the wall — er, Amazon customer book review section — when “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus,” came out in January 2012.
Early reviewers called the book “thinly veiled hero worshiping,” while another wrote that “Paula is obviously a fan and didn’t have any objectivity in the book.”
“More than a little over the top for hero-worship of Petrarus [sic],” another wrote in February.
But after the affair came to light on Nov. 9, more reviews poured into Amazon — some from people who had likely never opened the book.
“As I recall, it seemed to border on pure hero worship and seemed to be nothing but the worst kind of suck-up writing,” one wrote, “that I almost gagged as I labored through the first few pages.”
Another reviewed called Broadwell a “whore” and advised her to start a new career by “working the streets.”
Comments in all capital letters, of course, are poignant and thoughtful — and not crazy. “DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK. IT IS GARBAGE!” one such masterpiece reads. “IT IS WRITTEN BY A CHEATER ABOUT A CHEATER! LET’S DO OUR PART TO HELP GET CRAP LIKE THIS OFF THE SHELVES!”
Another review made no mention of the book whatsoever. Petraeus, the writer said, “was really interested in getting ‘All IN’ her pants. Two West Point grads now fallen disgraces. If Betrayus lies to his wife he will lie to the American people.”
But the award from outstanding Paula Broadwell literary criticism goes to a reviewer whose essay is titled “Tumescent then goes flaccid.” It deserves to be read in its entirety.
“Not since the second biography by Kay Summersby came out prior to her death in 1975, has there been a military read that has so engrossed me, nay, cascaded over me like the feel of cool silk sheets on tremulous skin,” a fan wrote. “Reading about Monty’s penchant for ski instructors just doesn’t do anything for me — since I’m straight. Thank you Ms. Broadwell for finally bringing this sorry drought to a seeping end!”