How “All In” Got Its Title

Book Jacket of

The publishing executives who oversaw Paula Broadwell’s fawning biography of David Petraeus are red-faced with embarrassment over their collective failure to notice the obvious signs of the couple’s romantic entanglement—and with good reason.

“Titles, dammit,” one of the execs lamented to Fresh Rhetoric’s Military Affairs Correspondent, Don Chubaleevit, “we have to pay more attention to an author’s suggested titles!”

“First she wanted to call the book, The Coming Surge,” the exec explained.  “We nixed that as out of date—the Afghanistan surge had already occurred, so where was the context?  Then she suggested Thrust of Greatness, which we vetoed as being somewhat over the top.  You’d have thought some bells would have gone off when she proposed Enter Gently, But With Power, but no, we just told her it sounded too grandiose, and we thought her next suggestion, The Pleasure of Endless Service, sounded too selfless to be believable.  When she finally came up with All In, we were like, wow, yeah, simple—that’s great!

All In,” he repeated, shaking his head with incredulity.  “Are we dense, or what?”

Asked by Chubaleevit whether, knowing what they know now, the publishing team would have titled the book differently, the exec didn’t hesitate.

“Without a doubt.  If this were a new release today, the title would be less oblique, more to the point, and a more accurate encapsulation of what Paula was really trying to convey, but which we were all too damn stupid to figure out.  Today’s title, same book?  Easy:  I’m Banging Petraeus!”

~~Kenn Shapiro

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