Publishers Rush to Release Books About Fallen Generals

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Not to be outdone by the moved-up release of a book on former CIA director David Petraeus, Penguin has announced plans to roll out the delayed memoir of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan who Petraeus replaced.

As you'll recall, McChrystal was brought down by a Rolling Stone profile that revealed his habit of openly criticizing Commander in Chief Obama and drinking Bud Light Lime. His side of the story has been in the works for some time. Last we heard, his memoir's original Nov. 12 release date had been postponed so the book could be thoroughly vetted for sensitive information by the Department of Defense. Apparently that process is nearly complete, because Penguin has sent out a press release with a release date for My Share of the Task on Jan. 7, 2013. 

This McChrystal memoir announcement comes on the same day that Simon & Schuster announced their intention to speed up the release of Fred Kaplan's The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. Kaplan, writing at Slate, was one of the first journalists to identify Paula Broadwell, author of her own book on Petraeus, as the woman involved in the extramarital affair that lead to him stepping down from the CIA. Kaplan's book sounds like it has some similarities to Broadwell's All In: The Education of David Petraeus. Broadwell's book, according to its book description,  "draws on hundreds of hours of exclusive interviews with Petraeus and his top officers and soldiers to tell the inside story of this commander's development and leadership in war from every vantage point." Kaplan's book will tell, "the inside story of the small group of soldier-scholars who changed the way the Pentagon does business and the American military fights wars, against fierce resistance from within their own ranks," focussing on Petraeus as a central figure and interviewee. With demand for all things Petraeus at an all-time high, the publisher will release the book on Jan. 2, 2013, two weeks earlier than originally planned. 

Recommended Reading

Military scandals have been a cash cow for publishers this year. No Easy Day—former Navy SEAL Matt Bisonnette's account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden—managed to knock Fifty Shades of Grey off its perch, spurring publishers to find their own Navy SEAL memoirs to hawk to eager readers. And while Paula Broadwell's All In doesn't address the scandal its become so closely linked with head-on, but we're guessing its brisk climb up the charts has something to do with her and Petraeus' steamy affair. It's just a shame neither Simon & Schuster or Penguin will be able to get these new books on shelves before the holiday season. 


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.