Greetings CBR! I’m excited to begin my first ever half cannonball with a nod to my New Year’s resolution: to read more nonfiction in 2017. Unfortunately, I started with this disappointing book by one of my longtime favorite personalities, Rachel Maddow. In Drift, Maddow describes the USA’s descent into a near constant state of war. She laments how sharply we’ve deviated from the Jeffersonian ideal to “never keep an unnecessary soldier”, and how in our modern national security state, American civilian life continues largely unaffected and unaware of our country’s chronic military actions and bloated security spending. Maddow illustrates her thesis with seemingly sound and well-referenced examples, but the presentation fizzled, ultimately leaving me with a general sense of alarm about our current situation but without the ability to recall many salient details from the book.
I’m a fan of Maddow’s TV and defunct radio shows, and I found the writing to be true to her voice, but this probably served the audiobook better than the written form with its emphatic fragments and other distracting colloquialisms. Targeted stream of consciousness from a Rhodes Scholar with a PhD in politics just works better for me in spoken word; this book would make an excellent series of lectures, but it was a slog to read. My low opinion seems to stands alone though: Drift sits proudly with over 4 stars on both Amazon and Goodreads.
It’s disheartening to start my first half cannonball with a bum review, especially for a book written by such an intelligent, well-researched, and passionate woman, but I can’t give Drift more than 2 stars, both earned for the extensive research this book obviously entailed.
Over the last four months, my fiction:nonfiction ratio was approximately 10:1, so my goal for this first half cannonball is to exceed my own expectations and review more than 4 nonfiction books by 12/31/2017. Here’s hoping my next nonfiction attempt will be a more engaging read. Happy New Year’s resolution to me!