How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything by Rosa Brooks
Tales from the Pentagon

62%

5 Critic Reviews

Brooks writes with clarity and epigrammatic wit, but the random oscillations of her views may annoy some readers. Can’t she make up her mind?
-NY Times

Synopsis

The first serious book to examine what happens when the ancient boundary between war and peace is erased.

Once, war was a temporary state of affairs—a violent but brief interlude between times of peace. Today, America’s wars are everywhere and forever: our enemies change constantly and rarely wear uniforms, and virtually anything can become a weapon. As war expands, so does the role of the US military. Today, military personnel don’t just “kill people and break stuff.” Instead, they analyze computer code, train Afghan judges, build Ebola isolation wards, eavesdrop on electronic communications, develop soap operas, and patrol for pirates. You name it, the military does it.

Rosa Brooks traces this seismic shift in how America wages war from an unconventional perspective—that of a former top Pentagon official who is the daughter of two anti-war protesters and a human rights activist married to an Army Green Beret. Her experiences lead her to an urgent warning: When the boundaries around war disappear, we risk destroying America’s founding values and the laws and institutions we’ve built—and undermining the international rules and organizations that keep our world from sliding towards chaos. If Russia and China have recently grown bolder in their foreign adventures, it’s no accident; US precedents have paved the way for the increasingly unconstrained use of military power by states around the globe. Meanwhile, we continue to pile new tasks onto the military, making it increasingly ill-prepared for the threats America will face in the years to come.

By turns a memoir, a work of journalism, a scholarly exploration into history, anthropology and law, and a rallying cry, How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything transforms the familiar into the alien, showing us that the culture we inhabit is reshaping us in ways we may suspect, but don’t really understand. It’s the kind of book that will leave you moved, astonished, and profoundly disturbed, for the world around us is quietly changing beyond recognition—and time is running out to make things right.
 

About Rosa Brooks

See more books from this Author
Rosa Brooks is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a columnist for Foreign Policy, and a law professor at Georgetown University. She previously worked at the Pentagon as Counselor to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; in 2011, she was awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. Brooks has also served as a senior advisor at the US Department of State, a consultant for Human Rights Watch, and a weekly opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Her articles and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and dozens of other newspapers and magazines, and she is a frequent television guest, with appearances on the Charlie Rose Show, the Rachel Maddow Show, the Today Show, Meet the Press, and Erin Burnett OutFront. Brooks lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband Joe, her daughters Anna and Clara, and a Brittany spaniel named Scout.
 
Published August 9, 2016 by Simon & Schuster. 448 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything
All: 5 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 18 2016

Legal theorists and policymakers will approve the scholarship and close analysis; general readers will appreciate the sensitive storytelling, the wit, and the uncommon good sense.

Read Full Review of How Everything Became War and... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Harold Evans on Aug 05 2016

Brooks writes with clarity and epigrammatic wit, but the random oscillations of her views may annoy some readers. Can’t she make up her mind?

Read Full Review of How Everything Became War and... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer Senior on Aug 01 2016

Strangely, it’s when Ms. Brooks dives into her own area of expertise that her book loses some sizzle. After her lively investigation of the way we fight now, she pivots and takes a historical look at how we’ve attempted to define and regulate war...

Read Full Review of How Everything Became War and... | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by James Denselow on Nov 28 2016

This is an important book that sets the scene for a much needed discussion and reappraisal of not just the concepts of war and peace, but rather its laws and operational practicalities.

Read Full Review of How Everything Became War and... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Jennifer Senior on Aug 01 2016

Strangely, it’s when Ms. Brooks dives into her own area of expertise that her book loses some sizzle. After her lively investigation of the way we fight now, she pivots and takes a historical look at how we’ve attempted to define and regulate war...

Read Full Review of How Everything Became War and... | See more reviews from NY Times
×