Rachel Maddow is a public liberal political commentator and author. On MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show,” she stresses the importance of transparency and accountability from American leaders in regards to political affairs. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a Doctorate of Philosophy from Lincoln College, Oxford.

Rachel Maddow’s Drift analyzes United States military history and involvement in international conflicts while simultaneously critiquing the unhinged executive power involved in the decision to declare war. Maddow dissects the Reagan administration and its use of cloak and dagger tactics when it came to disclosing military decisions to the American public. By exploring examples such as the U.S. invasion of Grenada, the Contragate scandal, and the Iran Hostage Crisis, among others, Maddow paints a revealing image of administrative power and secrecy. Maddow criticizes the Bush administration’s attitude towards removing Saddam Hussein from power and decision to go to war. Maddow shifts her focus towards the cost of war and how the U.S. tried reducing expenses by hiring out private contractors, which she says negatively affected the way the world viewed the United States military. Additionally, Maddow explains an American paradigm shift and acclimation to war, which she suggests should be alarming. She concludes her book by discussing the risks of the United States’ sizable nuclear stockpile. In her epilogue, she clearly outlines how she believes the United States should handle being at war, approach internal conflicts, deal weapons, reduce its nuclear infrastructure, and reduce executive power in the decision to go to war.

In this book, Maddow takes an intriguing look at the morality and ethics of war while considering whether CIA covert ops are truly necessary.  Overall, Rachel Maddow’s Drift effectively lays out the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to American military power, and proposes several solutions to said issues. While the book is left-leaning, it can appeal to a wide audience insofar as it provides interesting arguments that can ignite discussions around difficult topics.  


About the Author
Lea Spiers is a student at Illinois Wesleyan University studying International Studies and Pre-Med.