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The Grid

The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

by Gretchen Bakke

eBook

Despite the oft-repeated warnings about our dependence on foreign oil, America runs not on gasoline or even coal, or solar, or nuclear power—we run on electricity. Without it our economy would come to a near-instantaneous stop: banks, manufacturing, food storage, shipping, technology—you name it, we'd lose it. Even the majority of our farming would be stopped or severely limited. And yet blackouts and brownouts are happening with steadily growing frequency. In 2003, a single sagging power line near Akron, OH blacked out the homes of some 50 million people across the Northeast, including into Canada. The White House itself has lost power at least 4 times since 2000. How can the support system for something so essential be so rickety and vulnerable?

In entertaining, perceptive, deeply researched fashion, cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke uses the history of an increasingly outdated electrical infrastructure to show how the United States has gone from seemingly infinite technological prowess to a land of structural instability. And the consequences go way beyond missing your favorite TV show. Our electrical grid was planned—if it was planned at all—during an era when standardization meant strength. This was the backbone of our industrial economy: highways, railroads, manufacturing, and more. Yet as we've increasingly become a nation that prizes individuality and local needs, our massive systems are threatening to fail us. Perhaps none is so obviously collapsing as the power grid.

The End of the Line is about technology and economics, but it's also about a profound shift in the American identity, and what it means for our future. Like Daniel Yergin's The Prize in 1992, this is a timely, penetrating book with big implications for the future of America.


Expand title description text
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Kindle Book

  • Release date: July 26, 2016

OverDrive Read

  • ISBN: 9781620401248
  • File size: 2826 KB
  • Release date: July 26, 2016

EPUB eBook

  • ISBN: 9781620401248
  • File size: 2896 KB
  • Release date: July 26, 2016

Formats

Kindle Book
OverDrive Read
EPUB eBook

subjects

Science Nonfiction

Languages

English

Despite the oft-repeated warnings about our dependence on foreign oil, America runs not on gasoline or even coal, or solar, or nuclear power—we run on electricity. Without it our economy would come to a near-instantaneous stop: banks, manufacturing, food storage, shipping, technology—you name it, we'd lose it. Even the majority of our farming would be stopped or severely limited. And yet blackouts and brownouts are happening with steadily growing frequency. In 2003, a single sagging power line near Akron, OH blacked out the homes of some 50 million people across the Northeast, including into Canada. The White House itself has lost power at least 4 times since 2000. How can the support system for something so essential be so rickety and vulnerable?

In entertaining, perceptive, deeply researched fashion, cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke uses the history of an increasingly outdated electrical infrastructure to show how the United States has gone from seemingly infinite technological prowess to a land of structural instability. And the consequences go way beyond missing your favorite TV show. Our electrical grid was planned—if it was planned at all—during an era when standardization meant strength. This was the backbone of our industrial economy: highways, railroads, manufacturing, and more. Yet as we've increasingly become a nation that prizes individuality and local needs, our massive systems are threatening to fail us. Perhaps none is so obviously collapsing as the power grid.

The End of the Line is about technology and economics, but it's also about a profound shift in the American identity, and what it means for our future. Like Daniel Yergin's The Prize in 1992, this is a timely, penetrating book with big implications for the future of America.


Expand title description text