Book Review: “Drift” by Rachel Maddow

Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power is frank analysis by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow of the recent rise in American militarism. Fans of her television show will immediately recognize her snarky voice and can-you-believe-this incredulity, which translate effectively to the page. Maddow’s stated goal is encouraging a genuine debate about the role of the military in American life and foreign policy, the usefulness of which is echoed by many of the journalistic elite whose reviews grace Drift‘s covers, including Ira Glass, Tom Brokaw, and even Roger Ailes. I seriously question whether she’s laid on the disdainful snark a bit too thickly for this purpose — skeptics might be turned off rather than engaged — but the book is well researched and smoothly written. At the last, Maddow is hopeful rather than dejected. This creeping militarism, she concludes, is not the result of a conspiracy, but rather the cumulative effect of boneheaded but generally well-meaning politicians and officials doing their inadequate best to try to protect us. And as a result, the damage is reversible. We just need to frankly discuss what has happened.

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