Book Review: How Everything Became War, and the Military Became Everything


How Everything Became War, and the Military Became Everything might be the best book I read this year. The military has never been a part of the cultures I grew up in, so my knowledge and awareness of what the military is, how it's run, and what it does is basically nothing. I couldn't even tell you all of the branches, or the distinctions between them. With this context in mind, this book held incredible insight for me. Rosa Brooks, a former reporter for the Pentagon, explains not only what the military does but why it does it, how it does it, what impacts those actions have. She's able to support her claims with ample evidence as well as personal stories, and defends her statements and positions from every possible angle. She also looks at various parts of the military under a microscope, explaining the history of this unit or that organization and where they are today, and also looks very broadly at the military as a whole complex system and how that system is working. She asks questions like "What does it mean to be a solider, both historically and today? How has that role changed in the last 2000 years and in the last decade?" and "Why is our military a proxy for diplomacy, nation building, and relief effort?". She explores the relationship between soldiers and civilians, and how that too has changed dramatically over time. I came away from the book with a greater understanding of our military's history, it's present state, and how it came to be the way that it is. I know more about what the military does and why it does it, and the pros and cons of having the military partake in all of the actions that it does.