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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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Powerful Story by Powerful Woman

What made the experience of listening to Drift the most enjoyable?

Strong, quick delivery by Ms. Maddow.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The tight fit between the historical information and current issue facing the country.

Which scene was your favorite?

The lost nukes.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Rachel writes like her show on MSNBC

This is a good overview of the decline of the power of the military within the US over the last 30 or so years. Rachel Maddow makes a very cogent argument that the George W. Bush administration usurped any power that the military leaders had exercised in the post-Vietnam era in defining war and conducting it.

What I like most about this book is that it sounds like Maddow's show on MSNBC. The fact that she is the narrator of her own work makes this a great listen. I love the smart and snarky attitude.

Cheney supporters will absolutely hate this book

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  • Michelle
  • Reesport, OR, United States
  • 05-02-12

Every American Should Read This Book Now

Would you listen to Drift again? Why?

Yes. I will listen to parts to remember and clarify details to share and discuss with others.

What did you like best about this story?

The organization of the information gave a clear picture of our course away from making war the last choice, not the first, to solve problems.

Which character – as performed by Rachel Maddow – was your favorite?

Not a fictional book, but Rachel did a great job giving insights into the decisions made by the presidents and their advisors..

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The nuclear weapons information makes you shudder at the amazing lack of safety and control. It could make you a little crazy if you let it.

Any additional comments?

Rachel did a great job reading her work. Good pace and 'entertained' while you visited the dark side.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ismaila
  • Bronx, NY, United States
  • 05-01-12

Rachel Maddow Is Rachel Maddow

Full disclosure, I am a huge Rachel Maddow fan, I DVR her program every single night she's on. So when she announced on MSNBC that she had a book soon to be published I knew it would be a great piece of work. And it was indeed: relevancy and timeliness of topic, precision of analysis and, as always, great humor.

Only disappointment: she used too much material from his past shows on MSNBC and Air America (her radio show of the same name before she joined MSNBC), no so much regarding the topics she talked about, but with regard to the form and manner in which some stories and anecdotes were rendered. Some passage, I could tell, were literally copied and pasted from materiel from her past shows. But that's probably because I have been listening and watching too much of the Rachel Maddow Show.

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Great Book!!! Must Read!!!!

If you could sum up Drift in three words, what would they be?

Informative, Thought-Provoking, Amazing

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

There were choices that have been made to get us to this point and it is not too late to make new choices to reconnect our country and our military in a way that resemble that envisioned by our Founding Fathers. We need to refocus our efforts on our home front and winding down our nuclear arsenal. With the amount of money spent on defense. We live in a more fearful world than when I was growing up during the cold war. Lets bring our military under public control and cut out the private for profit companies from this experience, this will reduce the cost and increase the oversight of our efforts in a conflict

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

The delivery of her jokes makes this book so much better; she has spread them out to break the tension. Just when you are getting really depressed about the mess we as a country have gotten ourselves into, she breaks in with a humorous line. Well done Rachel!!!

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

Reconnecting with the military and those we pay to prosecute our wars around the world.

Any additional comments?

This should be required reading for everyone in the country to understand how we go to war now. there is a disconnect with many sectors of our country; rich vs. poor, educated vs. not educated, black vs. white and those go to war vs. those who are at home and do not think about it... We need to regain a set of shared goals that transcend political ideology, as a nation we will all rise or fall together. In the words of Abraham Lincoln "A house divided against itself cannot stand" Let’s work together to get our house in order before it collapses. We need a new vision for our nation. Right now we are still living in the vision of Ronald Reagan and his followers, into never ending war.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Cliona
  • River Forest, IL, United States
  • 04-30-12

She always has a to to say

Makes you think. Funny but serious. I was really glad that she read her work. Her voice adds to it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • horsepro
  • Harris, NY, United States
  • 04-30-12

As always clear and concise in her statements

Would you consider the audio edition of Drift to be better than the print version?

Certainly more convenient however having not read the print version I cannot compare.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The extent that those in power will go to in order to bend or even ignore the limitations on their power set down by the framers' of the Constitution.

Which scene was your favorite?

No favorite scene

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I was enlightened by the entire book and feel strongly that everyone who cares about the way our government functions should read this book; political party notwithstanding.

Any additional comments?

Rachel always provides fair clear, well researched and fact checked information and I certainly was not disappointed in her endeavor to do so in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have been recommending it to my friends and aquaintances'.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Russell
  • Aloha, OR, United States
  • 04-25-12

Great run through presidential military decisions.

I love Rachel Maddow and her very original points of view. This book is the best yet. In this book she explains the connection between successful wars like WWI and WWII, and the more recent botched wars like vietnam and Iraq.

The stories in this book are told with amazing detail. So intrigued, I listened to the entire book in 2 days and again the next week. Rachel's reading of the book is the best part, great performance!

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Eisenhower Was Right

Would you listen to Drift again? Why?

I would listen again to Drift because a lot of facts fly by rapidly.

Would you ever listen to anything by Rachel Maddow again?

Rachel Maddow is a a careful and thoughtful writer. Anything that is of the quality of Drift would be in my wishlist.

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

While her personality is somewhat muted, it felt very good to hear it in her own voice.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

The existence of the Reserve Corps has played an important part in the public's support of a military action.

Any additional comments?

The thesis of the book should be alarming to us all. The fact that we have gone from a nation opposed (generally) to military adventurism to a country that is constantly involved in the use of the military to achieve foreign policy objectives is, ironically, a threat to our security. Rachel Maddow effectively argues this point.

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  • Christine
  • Charlotte, NC, United States
  • 04-23-12

Rachel does not disappoint!

Would you listen to Drift again? Why?

Only Rachel Maddow could make a retelling of the Iran/Contra scandal sound charming.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

As viewers of her show on MSNBC have come to expect, her arguments are intelligent, insightful, well thought out and presented.

What about Rachel Maddow’s performance did you like?

Even when the subject matter turns to events that might be less than gripping, Rachel's warmth, wit and passion for her argument make for a very enjoyable listen.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I particularly liked how she used excerpts from presidential memoirs to infer the attitudes of our leaders during these conflicts.

Any additional comments?

Some authors just ought to be heard because their personality is so engaging in a way that the words alone just can't convey. David Sedaris comes to mind. I'd add Rachel Maddow to that list.