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Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power    by Rachel Maddow order for
by Rachel Maddow
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Simply put, the central premise of this book is that the United States has drifted away from the country's original ideals and has become a nation at peace with perpetual war. If you reject that idea, you might want to skip what this MSNBC personality and her research staff have to say about what has happened to the country and why it is moving in the wrong direction. Going outside and weeding the flower beds might be a far more productive use of your time than reading Ms. Maddow's rant.

On the other hand, if you do believe there is some truth to this claim and agree that the military establishment is too big and expensive, then set your gardening tools aside and begin reading.

Charting how we arrived at the predicament that we are in today, Maddow should probably begin in the early 1900s but she doesn't. Instead, she takes us from the Vietnam War to the current conflict in Afghanistan. This is not a lengthy book so I guess that's acceptable if not a historically comprehensive way to approach the subject.

Once she has limited the scope of her narrative, the author hones in on some of the folks who have created this military machine. Given Maddow's politics, the Reagan presidency comes under close scrutiny along with the rise of executive authority and the outsourcing of war-making capabilities to private companies.

Part of being comfortable with the continual engagement of American forces is also due, according to the author, to the fact that few American families are actually sending children into the military to fight these conflicts. Americans may bemoan the loss of life, but if not directly affected by the death of a loved one, the public display of sorrow is easily set aside by other concerns.

What you think of Rachel Maddow will probably determine whether you read this book or not. Like so many outspoken political commentators today, she elicits a knee jerk reaction. You either love her or change the channel the second she comes on.

Much of what she has to say does make sense and the content is delivered with the same flair and humor that typifies Maddow's broadcasts. That may or may not be a good thing, but either way it does make this little book (just over 250 pages) an easy, entertaining and, at times provocative read.

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