Our national security has been supported by a state of military preparedness based on the conflicts of the two world wars and fears of the Cold War, argues foreign-affairs commentator Unger. Despite evidence (including the 9/11 attacks) that our military might has not ensured our protection, as a nation we have not adequately examined the continued need for such military preparedness and its enormous economic cost. We are now in permanent crisis mode, maintaining a worldwide network of military bases, spending money on security rather than domestic needs, and accepting a level of government intrusion that is at cross-purposes with our constitutional ideals. Unger points to the abuses of the George W. Bush administration, including the Patriot Act, but notes that the issue goes beyond any particular president to a willingness to allow secretive agencies to maintain a state of emergency that has made us “more vulnerable, more isolated, and less free.” He examines the primary institutions involved in keeping the U.S. secure and explores the new challenges of globalization that are forcing reanalysis of how we look at national security. --Vanessa Bush
Editor’s Choice, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Ambitious and valuable”
"Unger should be commended for contributing to the debate... persuasive."
— SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
“Unger’s broad indictment of defense policy—bipartisan if not nonpartisan—is sure to spark considerable and worthy debate.”
— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"An important perspective about opportunities missed and roads not taken"
— KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Thoughtful work for your smart political readers.”
— LIBRARY JOURNAL
“David Unger's informative, historical and incisive narrative clearly illustrates that that the challenge of upholding democratic principles is a constantly evolving challenge for even the most mature of democracies and makes clear that there is no trade-off between security and the respect for human rights and civil liberties.”
— Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)
"Like a skilled surgeon, David Unger lays bare the pathologies that have disfigured U. S. national security policy over the course of many decades. The result is a thoughtful, judicious, immensely readable, and vitally important book."
— Andrew J. Bacevich, author of WASHINGTON RULES and THE LIMITS OF POWER