Book Review: Drift by Rachel Maddow

by Sarah Lipkis

The Nine Ways of Knowing has a free copy of Drift to give to one lucky reader! E-mail us at and we will pick one name at random on Sunday night. 

Rachel Maddow’s new book Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power is about how America became “a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails.” As someone who does not always agree with Maddow’s political views my immediate response was a level of skepticism. Would it just be a rant about everything that is wrong with American defense policy? Maddow’s show on MSNBC delivers the news full of wit and humor and I was not sure if the combination of facts and cleverness would translate to her writing. Despite my initial hesitation, I decided to read the book because I like The Rachel Maddow Show and I was impressed to see an endorsement of the book jacket from Fox News Network President Roger Ailes.

Maddow’s style translates well into book form. She is articulate in her arguments that explore how America developed our current disconnect between the army and civilian life. She begins by quoting Thomas Jefferson emphasizing the importance of an army that is intertwined with civilian life. She argues that the shift began when President Johnson decided not to call up the National Guard or the Reserves to fight in Vietnam. Maddow then moves through history to the present, demonstrating how small shifts in executive power caused such a large change in how Americans experience war. Reading Drift never feels like someone was yelling at you until you accept their ideas but instead is someone calmly explaining their opinion. Of course as to be expected from Rachel Maddow this is done in a clever and witty way making the book not just entertaining but easily accessible. As the school year comes to a close, Drift makes for an excellent addition to your summer reading list.

The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC

Sarah is a junior at Barnard and Photography Editor for The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Image via Library Journal


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