835 of 888 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important, Passionate, and Well Supported Argument
Regardless of whether or not you like Rachel Maddow or agree with her politics, and I'm not generally much of a fan, you owe it to yourself to read this book. It should be required reading for anyone who cares about the U.S., our heritage, military policy, and future. You don't have to agree with her but you should at least consider what she has to say on the...
Published on March 27, 2012 by Book Fanatic
313 of 374 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where will this Drift towards Privatizing our Democracy Ultimately lead?
Ms. Maddow, a Rhodes Scholar and liberal MSNBC Talk Show host, has provocatively tapped into a rich vein of public debate pointing to what in recent years has come to be known as "normalized governmental corruption," involving the "mother" of all corrupt organizations, the military industrial (and now National Security) complex.
This is an issue that none other...
Published on March 27, 2012 by Herbert L Calhoun
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rachel's Gift,
Rachel Maddow has a gift. She has a talent for breaking complicated subjects down into manageable segments. She is articulate, insightful and quirky - a combination that works well in explaining difficult subjects. You may not agree with her politics, but at the end of this book, you will know more about the business of war in the modern world economy. And that is a gift in itself.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much past, not enough today,
Next up on my election year barrage of political books is Rachel Maddow's Drift. First off, I am a huge fan of her TV show, so any criticism isn't political or personal in nature. Nor did I find any incorrect or misstated facts throughout the book. My core issue is the same criticism I have with all punditry books--they begin with an ideological premise and then pick out facts to demonstrate its validity. Drift was no exception. Though, my largest critique was the book's heavy focus on the past, rather than current affairs.
Of course, a thorough understanding of history is necessary to comprehend current politics, but Maddow overindulges in minor affairs such as the war in Grenada that have little to do with the exploding militarization of today. I found the rehashing of twenty-year old scandals to be a major detriment to the book's overall theme. But again, I was already well acquainted with them, so these revelations might be illuminating to younger or less informed readers. Still, this came at the expense of more modern and relevant news, which Maddow normally excels at on her show. I could've skipped the Reagan bashing for more reporting on Blackwater/Xe...or whatever the hell the company is named now. And this is only one of thousands of companies operating in the private military industry. But don't get me wrong, I have no issues setting the record straight on Reagan; I just didn't feel it worked well for the overall premise of the book.
All in all, Drift was a good book, but I expected more than reiteration of old news from Maddow. She is a terrific reporter and I wish she'd concentrate on gathering stories rather than being a pundit. But again, I usually loathe punditry books, even those from the left, so the fact I didn't with this one speaks volumes. And Drift did contain some insightful sections and solidly researched stories, so I recommend it for the casual political reader. Still, for junkies like me, I'd suggest getting your political fix elsewhere.
46 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maddow gets it right,
This review is from: Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power (Kindle Edition)
I always read the pros and cons on here prior to reading any book. I haven't finished reading and frankly am surprised that others read this book in one day. I suspect some have written negative for that sake.
This is a good read and Rachel did her homework and did get input from others when writing. It is always important that every book written is open to interpretation this one no different. For her first book, this one Maddow got right.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Thought, Well Presented and Well Done,
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I was pleasantly surprised by Maddow's book. While I often find that her television show has become too "liberal good, conservative bad," Ms. Maddow laid the groundwork and steps us through her points to show that our military has experienced a drift. While I think she might have expanded on Homeland Security, I throw my vote in with those who applaud the book, for the reasons those reviewers so eloquently stated. I was alive to hear Eisenhower's warning about the military industrial complex, and Maddow shows clearly that his warning was prophetic. The book was well written; I read it over two evenings and found it compelling, entertaining and informative. I recommend this book to anyone concerned about the state of our country in general and with it's military direction specifically.
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book about a very serious issue,
Many in this country can be forgiven if they have not been aware that there have been two wars fought simultaneously during the last ten years. After all only a tiny segment of Americans have fought those wars and who have have been deployed numerous times. During this time income taxes have been reduced; and during this time our government has outsourced more war related task than ever before. For something as egregious as war we, as a nation, have been insulated from it.
This seems to bother Rachel Maddow; truly it should bother us all. How this state of insulation came about is what Rachel Maddow's book is about. It blames no one party; it ascribes no nefarious plot; it just carefully relates how this sorry state of affairs came about.
Those viewers of Maddow on MSNBC will recognize her voice in the writing and will see her trademark extraordinary research.
She suggests, rightly I think, that it is dangerous for a country to become comfortable with endless war. This makes the flippant one star reviews posted all the more disturbing. To be sure some may disagree with her premise but if they do they should make their case regarding how endless war is a good thing or where real substantive issues are inaccurate. But they do not. It is clear they are rating their feelings about Maddow and not about the book. Ignore the one star reviews; they are written by dishonest people.
The issue is extremely serious and I applaud Maddow for bringing it up. This is an important book.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Thesis but Lacking in Substance,
This book is a study of how America drifted into a position where it is easy to go to war. The author, Rachel Maddow, analyzes military events over the past few decades. Specifically, she examines Vietnam, Grenada, Iran Contra, the Balkans War, and Desert Storm. This book, however, has a liberal bias. Any reader with a liberal viewpoint will love this book. Likewise, any reader with a conservative outlook will hate it.
Unfortunately, the book lacks a bibliography. This would have allowed the reader to check some of the facts. That said, the book does contain a section on the research for each chapter. This section shows where some of the facts might be verified. The acknowledgment section also makes reference to a "fact checker." Taken together, the reader can assume that the events noted in the book are at least somewhat accurate.
For example, the author claimed that the British were not given prior notice of the invasion of Granada. The operation was kept secret despite the fact that Granada was part of the British Commonwealth. Although this may be true, there is insufficient documentation to support an assertion that seems incredible given the close relationship between President Regan and Prime Minister Thatcher.
Later in the book, the author makes an interpretation based on a lack of evidence. On pages 104-105, the author asserts that President Reagan maintained complete secrecy in the Iranian "arms for hostages" initiative. Reagan was so secretive, that he kept this information out of his personal diary. Subsequently, Reagan claimed ignorance of the entire affair. The author implies that Reagan knew about the deal but that he deliberately kept any information out of his diary. An equally valid assumption was that the diary lacked any information because Reagan really did not know about the initiative. Put simply, the author made an interpretation that was unsupported by the facts noted in the book.
Ms. Maddow has a humorous writing style and the book is an easy read. She makes her point quickly and the thesis of each chapter is easily understood. Bottom line: every reader will enjoy the sarcasm and wit, regardless of their political viewpoint. If viewed objectively, the reader should find that the overall analysis has merit, even if some interpretations are either questionable or inadequately supported.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wars--declared and undeclared,
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Congress shall have the power: "To declare War..." That statement in the United States Constitution seems clear enough, yet it has been honored in the breach almost from the beginning of our Republic. But, until the middle of the twentieth century, the undeclared wars were relatively minor examples of a growing nation flexing its muscles, and could be dismissed as simply "incursions", not worthy of being dignified as wars. The Korean War and then, even more effectively, the Vietnam War put paid to even that shibai. And, according to Maddow, Ronald Regan became the chief grave digger to bury this principle, joined later and enthusiastically by Bushes I and II, Clinton, and now Obama. She spends many pages on the Great Communicator because she shares neither the right's view that he is deserving of a place on Mt. Rushmore nor the left's view that Regan was suffering from incipient Alzheimer's from his earliest days in office. According to her, and she presents a great deal of supporting evidence, Regan deliberately misled the Congress with the full intent of prosecuting a war--this time on a miniscule Grenada--in order to avoid any war-declaration foolishness. From then on, and with his actions as an example, it was a simple matter for presidents to slide into the wars of their choice, from Iraq, to Yugoslavia, to Afghanistan, to Iraq once again, to Libya, and eventually to Pakistan, Iran and other destinations. A few bombings of yet other nations also occurred in the meantime. The documentation is there. She cites it at length, though it's already all in the public domain. But it's nice to have it all together here, and spelled out in detail. Add to all that, new armies of mercenaries, wars with no firm goals in mind, and an American public lulled into acquiescence because the costs are put off into some distant future. This is a remarkable book that should be read along with Peter Van Buren's "We Meant Well" to see how badly we botched the meaningless enterprise in Iraq, something which we are now repeating in Afghanistan.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent,
Despite what some of her fans might have wanted, Rachel has once again proved herself the Rhodes Scholar of the current political media figures and decides to write a REAL book with a focused thesis. Excellent. I can understand negative reviews in the sense that the humor she (in my opinion) sprinkles into her arguments does reveal her own political leanings. That being said, the point she is making cannot be written off no matter what your political leanings.
If you don't agree with her on her television show, BUT you have a brain you'll still get a lot out of this book. If you, however, are a Fox News sheep and refuse to do your own thinking....well...what are you doing reading books? Any of reviews that have been written thus far are from people who have not read this book, or if they have they actively choose to not live in the world that exists.
I just wish there were more intellectuals writing focused books about topics that aren't discussed in our politically divided country.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is American Military Power really drifting?,
This review is from: Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power (Kindle Edition)
Having recently read several autobiographies & biographies about our American founders, you realize how much debate occurred during the time of the "Constitutional Convention whether America should have a standing Army, even George Washington was opposed to it and only wanted a "well-regulated militia" to be called upon for use in a declared war only. The Founders "feared that to maintain a standing army would drain our resources and be a temptation to use it" as described in the beginning of Rachel Maddow's, easy to read and well written book. Her main thesis is that American Military Power has "drifted off that historical course" and just needs a "small c" "conservative course correction back to our constitutional roots".
Even if you are diametrically opposed to her political views in general, the book is still worth the time to read. There are many valid arguments, points made and a lot that you might be vehemently opposed too. But, they need to be made and discussed. We will probably see again diminished military budgets and different global strategies in the near future. Do we still want to use & pay for civilian contractors? Use more High tech and less troops? These and more are the questions this book discusses.
Having served as a US Army Officer from the Post-Vietnam era through the Gulf War and the later Wars in the Balkans, I have seen and experienced many of the examples she presented in her book. As active duty personnel at the end of 1980's Total Force policy, we started training Reserve and National Guard units to higher standards being told in the future they will be called up for overseas duty. And, sure enough the first Reserve units arrived to my active Army unit in the desert during the Persian Gulf War and since then, for almost all major campaigns we have seen them again and again called up for active duty. Or the cycles of the money that flow through the system, where we were told "blow it all" so we do not get our budget cut and then came a few years later "doing more with less"
My examples are endless. However, Ms. Maddow is trying to describe for us what happened and why, but never really wrote any detail on how to fix it. You may agree or not with her book, but we do need to look at the problems and possibly fix the system. It is "not broke" just needs a nudge back on course as she says.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Military Industrial Complex,
Very fitting that I read this book as I was waiting to greet President Obama as he visited Atlanta, Georgia on a fundraising trip.
As I transition inside "the bubble" and waited for POTUS (President of the United States) I was struck of all the layers of security that encompass this institution that revolved around one individual, the President.
In Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow, the author takes the reader through a history of the evolution of the current military industrial complex. More importantly how this military has somehow disconnected from the American psyche. There was a time not so long ago that most Americans worried about the dough boys across the pond as they fought for freedom. Today, when the war against Iraq came to an end, it was only blip on the national screen. No parades, spontaneous celebrations, or large commemorations.
The book also delves into how many of the duties once held by the military have been transferred to private firms. The United States is no doubt the leader of the free world, but what is our duty to use that power? Should we or are we required to be the world's police?
This though provoking book, Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, is a amazing analysis of the current state of American military power.
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Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power by Rachel Maddow