Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Trailer Park Tuesday: Drift by Rachel Maddow

Welcome to Trailer Park Tuesday, a showcase of new book trailers and, in a few cases, previews of book-related movies.  Unless their last name is Grisham or King, authors will probably never see their trailers on the big screen at the local cineplex.  And that's a shame because a lot of hard work goes into producing these short marriages between book and video.  So, if you like what you see, please spread the word and help these videos go viral.

Less a book trailer than it is a five-minute oral defense of her book, Rachel Maddow's video for Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power nonetheless hooked my attention for a title which I'd been seeing online and in bookstores but which I'd kind of greyed out in my mind.  You should know by now that I tend to read far more fiction than non-fiction.  But Maddow's plain-spoken, passionate explanation of her book not only made me rush out to buy the book, it demanded I place it at the top of my TBR pile.  So I pre-ordered Drift and it dropped onto my Kindle this morning.

It's a fascinating topic to me--someone who was in the business of war for two decades.  I made my living in a job where I'd report to an office every day and, when it came right down to it, made preparations to go kill someone.  It's an odd feeling to have while you're sitting at a desk under a buzzing fluorescent light sipping lukewarm coffee and clicking a mouse.  As Maddow says in the video, "Being at war is the 'new normal' for America.  It should not be like that.  It's not supposed to feel normal for us to be at war."  And yet, that was my "normal" for twenty years.  I'm interested to hear more of Maddow's sermon.  The publisher's blurb further intrigues:
"One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier," Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Found­ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of "privateers"; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust­ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine. Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow's Drift argues that we've drifted away from America's original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails.


  1. I saw an interesting segment in a documentary recently about the people who operate drones -- how they go to work in the morning, get psychologically prepared, sit at their computers and bomb targets, go home to wife and kids, eat dinner, watch t.v., etc. Many of them, regardless, are suffering from PTSD. It was somewhat surreal. I know that's not what Maddow is talking about, but it all seems related. Putting this one on my TBR as well.

  2. Eric -- VERY interesting anecdote! But I reckon the REAL anomaly in US society is not the individuals with a vested interest in its militarisation, but all of those taxpayers, voters, etc. (i.e., "ordinary Americans") who obviously are fully aware of the situation but who ACCEPT it as perfectly "normal"... THIS is the scary part!