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Not Quite All In: Ghostwriter of Petraeus Biography Breaks Silence

Since the Petraeus scandal broke, we have gotten ever-changing pictures of the whole affair (pun intended.)

First, biographer Broadwell and Petraeus admit to their affair and he resigns; then we learn of her threatening emails to Jill Kelley and Kelley’s connection to Allen; and now we learn that while Broadwell was the reporter of record, her book was actually ghostwritten by Vernon Loeb.

It seems that the full story is not all in after all.

What does this all mean for biographers, ghostwriters and publishers?

We can be sure that Penguin Press is popping the cork on the champagne. Not only did Penguin recently merge with Random House to create the biggest publishing house ever, but now they have a sizzling sex scandal to fuel the sales of Broadwell’s and Loeb’s All In: The Education of General David Petraeus

The problem with a sex scandal is that you see inuendos every where. Check out where your mind goes when you read these otherwise glowing reviews of the Petraeus biography posted on Amazon:

“General Petraeus is one of the most important Americans of our time, in or out of uniform. This riveting, insider’s account of his life and education is at once instructive and inspiring.”
-Tom Brokaw, Anchor and Managing Editor, NBC Nightly News; author of The Greatest Generation

“This majestic biography will set the standard for all future works about General Petraeus. With superb narrative skill, Broadwell simultaneously provides an intimate look at Petraeus the man, a fascinating account of modern warfare, and an elegant study of leadership.”
(-Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time )

“Anyone seeking to understand the nature of American warfighting in the 21st century, how it is both like and utterly unlike that of any previous one, needs to understand Petraeus, his remarkable career, his thinking, and his character. All In is an excellent place to start. It is fascinating and insightful, informed by remarkable access to the man both on and off the battlefield.”
(-Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down )

Much will hit the fan before this story settles as folks argue about breach of national security, infidelity and who knew what when.

After you watch the first interview below that Loeb has given since this story broke, I ask you to consider what this means to you as a writer. Share your thoughts in the Comments.

While you’re at it, what advice do you have for Holly Petraeus?