The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs

David C. Unger. Penguin Press, $27.95 (368p) ISBN 978-1-59420-324-4
Unger, a longtime member of the editorial board of the New York Times, surveys 70 years of American security policy in this provocative jeremiad. The author contends that modern defense policy, characterized by a “secretive, unaccountable emergency state” and defined by an “overreaching doctrine of global containment” in a permanent global war on terror, is not only unconstitutional but also obsolete and counterproductive. “Originally designed to wage hot war against Nazi Germany and cold war against Soviet-led international Communism” and developed by 13 presidential administrations—from FDR to Barack Obama—the emergency state has in fact made us more vulnerable. Unger further argues that the emergency state has trampled civil liberties, contributed to the deindustrialization of America, alienated the rest of the world, and prevented action on problems like global warming. The author concludes that only “a grass roots democratic revival” can sweep away the bipartisan emergency state, but he is light on the details. He does offer 10 proposals, including restricting the executive’s war-making powers and implementing universal military training, as baseline reforms. Unger’s broad indictment of defense policy—bipartisan if not nonpartisan—is sure to spark considerable and worthy debate. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/14/2011
Release date: 02/16/2012
Show other formats
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-4526-2584-3
Paperback - 359 pages - 978-0-14-312297-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-4526-5584-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-3584-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4526-0584-5
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-56032-7
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-101-55691-7
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
Email Address


Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.