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Unmanned: Drones, Data, and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare
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Unmanned: Drones, Data, and the Illusion of Perfect Warfare

3.33  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Unmanned is an in-depth examination of why seemingly successful wars never seem to end. The problem centers on drones, now accumulated in the thousands, the front end of a spying and killing machine that is disconnected from either security or safety.

Drones, however, are only part of the problem. William Arkin shows that security is actually undermined by an impulse to g
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Hardcover, 400 pages
Published July 28th 2015 by Little, Brown and Company
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Average rating 3.33  · 
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 ·  49 ratings  ·  13 reviews


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Adam
Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Unmanned: Drones,Data, and the Illusion of the Perfect Warfare

4 Stars - Wow. Arkin opens all the doors in the world of drones and the changes of war they bring. The money, the Army, the Air force and Navy, the 'unlaborers' and the blackboxes, Arkin shows us a glimpse of the power and reach of The Machine and the need for the never ending need for more Data. How the history truly goes for drones, and where we may be headed. Packed with information and full of real documented events, Unmanned can
...more
Erik
May 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
**Received as a Goodreads giveaway**

As I read this, I kept thinking it would have worked better as an article. It's a quick read and only 290 pages sans notes, but it still felt much longer. There's far too much on the history of drone production and what they're capable of instead of how they're actually being used, which is what I felt the back cover promised.

The most engaging part was the penultimate chapter. Here, Arkin describes his purchase and use of a toy drone and looks for context and
...more
Alberto
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was initially discouraged by the high verbosity of the writer but eventually, I found this book a fascinating one about modern warfare and how tech is changing the world. Would avoid the last scaremongering chapter though.
Paul
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent read in which the author focuses on modern ISR, specifically emphasizing “black boxes” and drones. While most chapters have an exhaustive description and history of specific platform development, I found the end of most chapters to have great thoughts for future analysis and discussion. I did find a thread of anti-Army bias emerge about half way through the book and one chapter had some pointed critiques of former SecDef Gates (of which I’m not sure I agree). Regardless, this book is ...more
John Kidman
Jun 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fascinating read. A bit technical in parts but nonetheless informative and interesting.
Turok Tucker
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had a lengthy review written here before finally pushing through the book, those thoughts would muddy my thinking on the book as much as the book itself does for the reader. Those long notes, which seem foreign to thinking of the book at its conclusion, is UNMANNED in a nutshell. Arkin's UNAMMED: DRONES, DATA, AND THE ILLUSION OF PERFECT WARFARE, is part history, part literary essay (that never quite finds any footing), part societal criticism, part personal commentary. This book took me six m ...more
R. Gabriel Esteves
Nov 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a weird book. Obviously thoroughly researched by a person both knowledgeable of the subject and skilled at writing, it comes across as scattered and lacking in conclusions. I think the overarching goal is to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of "precision" warfare, where all-out destruction of enemy targets gives way to a much more discriminated elimination of assets crucial for the enemy to continue to operate. Even from that description, the advantages seem greatly desirable. ...more
Valerie
Jun 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
**I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway**

I wanted to read this book because I didn't know a whole lot about militarized drones, or drones in general, and was interested in learning more about them. I feel that this book did a very good job explaining the history and development of the drone, but I would have liked a more in-depth look at how they are used during warfare (there was some mention of it in the book, but the mention was brief compared to all of the other information give
...more
Nita
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
I got the book as a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

As someone who knows very little about this technology it was a great quick introduction to the history as politics of drones. The book was easy to read and follow the material. I thought the political policy and consequences of drone technology were the most interesting. How we fight has changed rapidly in a short time.
Tom
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Had no clue there were so many different kinds of drones, and there was such a large network of other technology to conduct warfare from afar. Helps explain why the US conducts war in so many places in the world, the beast needs to be fed. Meanwhile, the villagers remain blissfully entertained by the clowns in the Republican bus.
Judy
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting and I bet that's not the half of it. Technology in warfare can be a slippery slope...
Colleen Reed
rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2015
Carl Amoscato
rated it did not like it
Apr 01, 2016
Dani
Sep 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Good research. Do not agree with author's analysis.
Jennifer
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Jul 13, 2016
Nudgem
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Aug 31, 2016
James H
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Oct 18, 2019
Alexa
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Apr 08, 2018
Hachette Book Group Canada
rated it it was amazing
May 13, 2015
Ryan Wulfsohn
rated it it was ok
Aug 27, 2015
Maureen
rated it it was amazing
Sep 02, 2015
Joseph
rated it it was amazing
Sep 01, 2015
Asim
rated it did not like it
Dec 24, 2015
Danial
Sep 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Long lists. Whispy voices. Scary names. Anecdotes and Poetry. More lists. Historic References with little context.

It had every opportunity to be an insightful capstone history of "The Data Machine," but failed on most levels.
Morgan E.
rated it it was amazing
Mar 04, 2015
Ina Cawl
rated it it was ok
Dec 28, 2015
Ralph Kaj
rated it liked it
Sep 15, 2016
Paul
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Dec 20, 2015
James
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Aug 10, 2018
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
rated it it was amazing
Apr 25, 2015
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William M. Arkin has been a columnist and reporter with The Washington Post since 1998. He has worked on the subject of government secrecy and national security affairs for more than 30 years. He has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books about the U.S. military and national security.

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