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Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power | [Rachel Maddow]

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power

Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seriously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a "loud and jangly" political debate about how, when, and where to apply America's strength and power - and who gets to make those decisions.
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Publisher's Summary

"One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Founders could ever have envisioned the contemporary national security state, with its tens of thousands of "privateers"; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rusting nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine.

Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we've arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today's war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan's radical presidency. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse.

Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seriously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a "loud and jangly" political debate about how, when, and where to apply America's strength and power - and who gets to make those decisions.

©2012 Rachel Maddow (P)2012 Random House

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  •  
    Kathryn E. Threlkeld Sacramento CA USA 05-29-12
    Kathryn E. Threlkeld Sacramento CA USA 05-29-12 Listener Since 2002

    tvkitty

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You'll never see the military the same way again."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Everyone needs to read or listen to this book. Rachel's voice reading her own words gives them the weight they deserve. But more important, her impeccable research will astound and often horrify.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Drift?

    Rachel's description of how irresponsibly we treat the nuclear weapons in their storage facilities and transportation. Also, her account of Ronald Reagan's campaign and presidency will leave you gape-mouthed.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David E. Gregson San Diego, CA USA 01-08-13
    David E. Gregson San Diego, CA USA 01-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A compelling argument, largely free of ideology"
    What made the experience of listening to Drift the most enjoyable?

    The author's distinctive voice and personality greatly enhance the listening experience. One could say that the reading is definitive.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It is not a story, of course, but an argument about how our nation has "drifted" far from its original ideals and has somewhat complacently settled into an acceptance of perpetual war. Often the hard facts of our national suffering and sacrifice are kept from us, and even more often we just do not see this or get involved.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    "We'll all go together when we go." Perhaps that's too flippant, but Maddow does in fact evoke "Doctor Strangelove" in her final chapters.


    Any additional comments?

    Judging by the hate-filled comments about this book on some other websites, it would seem that all one has to say is "Rachel Maddow" and people of a certain political persuasion will begin foaming at the mouth. It's clear to me that they have most certainly not read "Drift," for Maddow's argument is clearly and logically presented, supported by facts and remarkably free of leftist ideology.

    This is not to say that her distinctive brand of sarcasm is absent from the text, but her aim is not an attack on Republicans or Democrats, but at a generally misguided use and understanding of our military that transcends party lines. My only criticism would be that the book is not longer and more detailed. It is worthwhile for those who have forgotten all about it to revisit the absurd invasion of Granada and the immoral and illegal Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan years. And it will perhaps come as a surprise to many that several astounding near nuclear disasters have been avoided only by a miracle.

    As Tom Brokow has said, this books is "a long overdue and provocative examination of the abuses, excesses and just plain foolish elements in our national security systems. These are issues that deserve our attention."

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron Salt Lake City, Utah, United States 07-05-12
    Aaron Salt Lake City, Utah, United States 07-05-12 Member Since 2009

    Charger

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    "Entertaining...and disturbing (intentionally)"

    I was a bit skeptical that this book would be non-partisan, but it is! And this was my biggest (and most pleasant) surprise. Maddow is critical of all administrations (Republican and Democrat) and makes good arguments. I certainly hope she continues to stick close to the topic and write another book over time as we progress (regress?) in the way we wage and fight wars in the future. Conservatives, do not fear reading this book. It will not upset you in the sense that the criticism doesn't focus on the right. Where it will disturb everyone (and rightly so) is that it's critical of an overall philosophical move that we've made in our military policy as a nation over time, through Republican and Democratic administrations...the CIA drone strikes ordered by Obama as one of the primary examples.

    My other overall "surprise" is how intelligent Maddow is. I always knew she was smart, but wow, it's really evident in this book that she's quite brilliant. I always consider myself quite astute with geopolitics, but several times I had to stop the book (audiobook) to absorb everything and consider what she was saying. The reader has every right to dispute the arguments or Maddow's opinions, but it would be really hard to dispute her intelligence.

    Finally, I really like the book because it's not dry policy wonk stuff. Maddow uses lots of wit and great lines to make the book entertaining. To get the full effect of this, I would highly recommend the audio version since Maddow narrates her own book, so the timing and inflection is natural and quite funny in some spots (even given the serious nature of the topic).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hilary St. Laurent de Ceris, France 05-22-12
    Hilary St. Laurent de Ceris, France 05-22-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Enlightening"

    I'm old enough to remember the events Rachel discusses in 'Drift', but I was amazed to learn of all the background she gives to the Reagan administration. I also immensely enjoyed Rachel's reading, and I hope she is already working on her next book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Bradburn 05-14-12
    J. Bradburn 05-14-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Book for the left or right"
    What made the experience of listening to Drift the most enjoyable?

    Rachel did not stray away from the Dems for not doing the right things. She points out the power grab of both parties and allows you to understand how this has happened and why (as to what was going on during that period). She also shows the dangers of what is going on and the scale to which it is going on. I do not believe Americans know to what level the power grab is going on.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Burbank, CA, United States 05-14-12
    James Burbank, CA, United States 05-14-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A great book about our runaway military"
    What made the experience of listening to Drift the most enjoyable?

    That Rachel read her own work and the passion of the written word came though.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Drift?

    The privatization of the military and dangers it's causing this country.


    What does Rachel Maddow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A clear understanding of what's really going with US military and how dangerous it's to the country's future.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Military Might for a Price


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Deveau 05-08-12 Member Since 2012

    I love audio books

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    "Great Book"
    Would you listen to Drift again? Why?

    Yes to absorbe even more


    What other book might you compare Drift to and why?

    none


    What about Rachel Maddow’s performance did you like?

    thing compares


    Any additional comments?

    best non fiction I have read in a long time

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melody 05-07-12
    Melody 05-07-12
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    "Excellent!"
    Would you listen to Drift again? Why?

    A very good non-partisan review of the change of the management of wars by the American government over the decades


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Sheboygan, Wisconsin, United States 05-07-12
    Michael Sheboygan, Wisconsin, United States 05-07-12

    SunKleep

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    "Typical Rachel Style -- Superb"

    Very informative, well written, superbly narrated. I don't have time to read "everything" that's important to me, so I depend on Rachel to get the facts, cut through the garbage issues and report succinctly on the key topics... and in this book, she does exactly that. Thank you Rachel. I look forward to reading your next book (hope it's soon).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Austin, TX, United States 05-07-12
    Alex Austin, TX, United States 05-07-12 Member Since 2005
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    "A tough topic clearly explained"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Rachel Maddow conducted real research for this fact-based book. It is written in a clear, non-partisan manner, such a refreshing change from the bitter diatribes of talk radio hosts. Maddow's narration is professional and personable.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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