Synopses & Reviews
From the New York Timess veteran foreign policy editorialist, a lucid analysis of the harm caused by Americas increasingly misdirected national security state
America is trapped in a state of war that has consumed our national life since before Pearl Harbor. Over seven decades and several bloody wars, Democratic and Republican politicians alike have assembled an increasingly complicated, ineffective, and outdated network of security services. Yet this pursuit has not
only damaged our democratic institutions and undermined our economic strengths; it has fundamentally failed to make us safer.
In The Emergency State, senior New York Times writer David C. Unger reveals the hidden costs of Americas bipartisan obsession with achieving absolute national security and traces a series of missed opportunitiesfrom the end of World War II through the presidency of Barack Obamawhen we could have rethought our defense strategy but did not. Provocative, insightful, and refreshingly nonpartisan, this is the definitive untold story of how America became so vulnerableand how it can build real security again.
Editors' Choice, NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Ambitious and valuable”
"Unger should be commended for contributing to the debate... persuasive."
— SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
“Ungers broad indictment of defense policy—bipartisan if not nonpartisan—is sure to spark considerable and worthy debate.”
— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"An important perspective about opportunities missed and roads not taken"
— KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Thoughtful work for your smart political readers.”
— LIBRARY JOURNAL
“David Unger's informative, historical and incisive narrative clearly illustrates that that the challenge of upholding democratic principles is a constantly evolving challenge for even the most mature of democracies and makes clear that there is no trade-off between security and the respect for human rights and civil liberties.”
— Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006)
"Like a skilled surgeon, David Unger lays bare the pathologies that have disfigured U. S. national security policy over the course of many decades. The result is a thoughtful, judicious, immensely readable, and vitally important book."
— Andrew J. Bacevich, author of WASHINGTON RULES and THE LIMITS OF POWER
About the Author
David C. Unger has been an editorial writer at the New York Times for more than thirty years and a member of the papers editorial board for twenty-four years. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and teaches at the Bologna Center of the Johns Hopkins University Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He lives in Bologna, Italy.