"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
Factual and SCARY! I listened to Rachel read the book on Audible while following along on my Kindle. As has been stated in other reviews, this book is written in conversational style. If you watch her show you know how personable Ms. Maddow is. She includes puns and her opinion, supported by evidence of long hours of research.
Anyone who follows my reviews knows that I like to leave reality and hang out in fantasy-land. Maybe it is because of being surrounded by Real Life that is quite stressful and frightening. Don't expect to come away from this book mollified. No soothing story, this.
But Rachel doesn't leave you with a sense of helplessness. This book was written to raise our awareness of what has been happening right under our noses. But once we are aware, there are things we can do to make sure we get back to our constitutional foundations. This points fingers at a lot of wrongs but neither party is innocent.
I can't believe I read anything about American Military Power. But I feel this book has enlightened me. If it hadn't been written and narrated by Rachel Maddow, I don't think I would have read it.
Thank you, Rach, for keeping us informed.
Maddow is a smart and experienced political commentator and this topic is a serious one worthy of a balanced and honest assessment. However, she is so biased and disparaging in her style that she loses the integrity of her work.
The narration is over-the-top biased in a maner that completely undermines the credibility of the ideas or the research and analysis.
Everything you need to know about this book is really in the summary. Her argument is simply that the president has over time gained greater unilateral powers to wage wars. Most of the book is just a long historical narrative that sweeps through 40 plus years of US military history, breezing past some very interesting parts such as the cold war, without actually anchoring most of the historical trivia to any purpose other than simply what was stated above. There really is not any expansion of this argument, only the story of how it came to be.
it isn't the turth a all. A crazy paranoid reality of a demented person.
Her voice made it hard to follow.
The whole thing. It is filled with lies. Start over with the truth.
I want my money back. Never again. Wanted to see what the fus was about. I am terribly disappointed. Don't make the same mistake as me. If 2 plus 2 is 4 in your reality. Then this book is not for you.
Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.
As Brutus tells witnesses to Caesar’s bloody death, “I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.” Ironically, Rachel Maddow, foments a similar feeling about the American military in her book, “Drift”. She attacks executive branch’ usurpation of the Constitution’s separation-of-powers regarding declarations of war while burying the new American military that began changing after Vietnam.
Maddow is an intelligent liberal commentator for MSNBC. This labeling seems necessary because, though in many respects her analyses of change in the military are spot-on, there is an innate intellectual, liberal bias in her argument.
Human beings are good and evil; not one or the other but both. Humans also make mistakes; some from stupidity and others from ignorance. Maddow is a rationalist that looks at the Constitution and uses a liberal’s ideals to bolster a belief that adherence to war-making clauses of the Constitution will somehow result in slower and more rational decisions because of extensive debate in Congress. In the real world, there is only rationalization not rational decision making in going to war in advance of a decision to go to war.
War is only rational or correct in retrospect; never before declaration is made whether by strict constitutional or unconstitutional grounds. It may be that Maddow is acknowledging the irrationality of war by pointing out that the Constitution slows the process of declaring war rather than suggesting it makes the decision more rational but it still begs the question of whether slowing the process makes any difference in a good or bad decision to go to war.
“Drift” is not an enjoyable listen but it opens one’s eyes to the change that has occurred in the American military. In this reviewer’s mind, “Drift” praises the American military rather than buries it.
NOTE: Discussion about drones is a significant gap in this review and the consequence of their use remains an open question that is forthrightly raised in Maddow’s book. Drones are the next step in remote war begun by Hitler with the V-2. The consequence of technologically informed killing by drones does not change human nature. Remote killing is an objectification of war that savages morality and anesthetizes personal responsibility.
The best book I ever listened to. To hear it from the author just sends it over the top.
The detailing of the Abrams doctrine was eye opening!
Rules, what rules. Presidents don't need them.
thought provoking, interesting
Learning of things I didn't know.
Made me think and want to research more about some of the topics.
Good review of the topics. Gives insight to things possibly unknown or thought about. It is one perspective.
Ms. Maddow does an admirable job narrating her book, but you can tell she's not a professional at this particular art. Didn't interfere with the book, however.
There's a lot of interesting information, and a lot of conclusions drawn. I've not found any of the information to be false - and some I checked on immediately, as I wasn't aware of it.
While I agree with many of her conclusions, they're often not inescapable or inarguable, so be careful in building your own views. If, however, like me, you're an informed liberal, you'll find much of her work here interesting and compelling. She's not going to convert many people with this, though; it's mostly by a liberal for liberals - but, of course, reality has a well known liberal bias... :D
Love that Rachel does her own narrative.. Great history of the US military.
First military history I've read.
The squarndering of American might.
Drift is the kind of book you could listen to every couple of years to remind you of some of the things in history that are important, relevant to what is happening now and what we should have learned as lessons.
Rachel was great. We felt like she was sitting in our living room telling us this information.
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