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Publisher's Summary

The first serious book to examine what happens when the ancient boundary between war and peace is erased.

Once, war was a temporary state of affairs - a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today America's wars are everywhere and forever: Our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military. Today military personnel don't just "kill people and break stuff". Instead they analyze computer code, train Afghan judges, build Ebola isolation wards, eavesdrop on electronic communications, develop soap operas, and patrol for pirates. You name it, the military does it.

Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective - that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two antiwar protesters and a human rights activist married to an army Green Beret. Her experiences led her to an urgent warning: When the boundaries around war disappear, we risk destroying America's founding values and the laws and institutions we've built - and undermining the international rules and organizations that keep our world from sliding toward chaos. If Russia and China have recently grown bolder in their foreign adventures, it's no accident; US precedents have paved the way for the increasingly unconstrained use of military power by states around the globe. Meanwhile we continue to pile new tasks onto the military, making it increasingly ill prepared for the threats America will face in the years to come.

By turns a memoir; a work of journalism; a scholarly exploration into history, anthropology, and law; and a rallying cry, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything transforms the familiar into the alien, showing us that the culture we inhabit is reshaping us in ways we may suspect but don't really understand. It's the kind of book that will leave you moved, astonished, and profoundly disturbed, for the world around us is quietly changing beyond recognition - and time is running out to make things right.

©2016 Rosa Brooks (P)2016 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Story

A Must-Read for Military and other Govt Leaders

As a senior Army officer and graduate of the U.S. Army War College (the motto of which is "To preserve peace, not to promote war") I found this book very educational and, moreover, extremely relevant to the professional development of military leaders. It's a must-read book for those who are willing to view the current strategic and operational environments through a different lens; which is, in my view, the only way our Nation and the collective Global community will ever have any hope of breaking free of the current pervasive state of armed conflict. Masterfully conceived and written!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely stunning

an amazing account of the present with a thoughtful account of what the future can, and maybe should, hold. must read! narrator and author are both fantastic

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Should be on Pentagon's Mandatory Reading List

Any additional comments?

As a career Naval Officer, it is the type of book I would like to have read early in my career. As for now, all politicians, military leaders, and political scholars should explore our everything is war policy decisions and abandon them.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Eye Opener.

This book was very informative. The author takes a mostly neutral political stance as she deliveries many factual events an offers intuitive insight into how these facts will impact American and world citizens.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Ok overall

Had to blast my audio to hear the reader because she talks somewhat quietly. Story itself has very interesting and poignant thoughts but a little long-winded with the anecdotes and some points being drilled a little too repetitively for my tastes. I finished the book for the ideas presented but not a fan of the writing or reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • jj
  • 10-08-16

All Americans need to know this.

Solid information. The United States is and must evolve to address new threats, but it can not do it all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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New look at the economic complex of the military!

I devoured this. I also recently have been recommending to my son that he seriously consider enlisting. He is a college grad who cannot find work. The military is paying more competitive salaries than the private sector since 2008.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rosanne
  • So Burlington, VT
  • 10-19-17

Tenor of the reader’s voice

I was distracted and then aggravated by the way the reader read the story. Her voice and the way she used inflection would have fit a romance novel or mystery far better than a book about military issues. Her voice often trailed off at the end of phrases to a whisper and it was hard to understand what she was saying. Another thing that I found very distracting was the spittle in her mouth. It sounded like she had to swallow or spit as I could almost hear the bubbling coming from her lips

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Great book

a thoughtful and clear look at our past decade and a half's foreign policy and military failures from a true insider perspective. lays out the facts and effects with the intent of educating.

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Ends up championing what it ostensibly condemns

The book intersperses a personal history of the author's role in the Pentagon under Obama, revelation of the military's growing responsibility for previously civilian duties and the expanding use of arbitrary violence justified as war since 9/11, and bits of war-related anthropology from Western history and more modern hunter-gatherer tribes. It has some interesting bits, but overall is repetitive and unfocused, doesn't reveal much you wouldn't already know with a basic grasp of recent American history, and concludes bizarrely that we should abandon all hope of reversing the bloating of the military and the arbitrary use of violence under Bush and Obama, which the book seemed to condemn up to that point, and that we should somehow restore rule of law and human dignity while accepting a state of permanent semi-war and a do-all military without effective civilian oversight. That idea works brilliantly in Egypt! (Excuse my sarcasm). It seems serving in the Pentagon and marrying into the military infected her brain.