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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Yvette Z Vandermolen on 05-22-12

Better Tribute Than Yellow Ribbons

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I recommend it to every American citizen, and everyone else who comes into contact with American foreign policy. We all need to understand what drives this country to war in order to fulfill the promises of peace.

What about Rachel Maddow’s performance did you like?

She's Rachel Maddow! Duh!

Any additional comments?

I have lived and worked in military communities as a member of the military family, and rarely do I encounter a civilian who really cares about understanding the untenable situation in which our government has put our military forces. If you care at all about how and why we go to war, and how that affects not only our military but American civilians as well, listen to this book and buy the paper version for reference. Forget the damn yellow ribbon magnets and buy this book instead!

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Dolf on 04-07-12

Half the National Debt?

As expected from Rachel Maddow, DRIFT presents another way of looking at substantive things our country has come to take for granted. The research is superb and presents a fact-based rationale to support her thesis. As Eisenhower said half a century ago, "Beware of the military - industrial complex." Not much has changed since then. Unfortunately, much has become structural.

Many of the book’s factoids are incredible. My biggest eye opener was that $7 trillion of our $15.6 trillion national debt was run up by the nuclear weapon industry. Talk about a concept that has never seen the light of day! That and our dirty bomb explosions around the world are disgusting. Why isn't anyone in government concerned about these and the myriad of other issues she raised?

The beginning and end of DRIFT are clearly exceptional. Some other parts are overcome with too much filler to hold an overall outstanding pace. A little more editing with an eye toward impact per page would have made it one of the best books I've ever read. It's not bad . . . but it's also not perfect.

Performance, on the other hand, is off the charts. Ms. Maddow's obvious understanding of the topic and enjoyment at presenting it are spectacular. It is a truly enjoyable and enlightening presentation.

This book should be read by everyone who is interested in helping America. The “Might Makes Right” mindset goes only so far. What could our country have done with a portion of $7 trillion applied to something else?

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44 of 47 people found this review helpful

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