Book Assessment: “Lights Out” by Ted Koppel


The Premise: The notion that the American energy grid technique is vulnerable to a cyberattack or an electromagnetic pulse device, launched by terrorists or a foreign nation, is a frightening premise. In Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath, Ted Koppel, one particular of the nation’s most skilled and nicely-recognized journalists, outlines the realities of an attack on the American energy grid, the vulnerabilities plaguing the defense systems which safeguard it, and the preparations that Americans can take now to prepare for an unthinkable grid-down situation.

The 411: Koppel utilizes his confirmed abilities in journalism to completely discover not only the vulnerability of an aging energy grid technique, but also the politics that envelop hardening the technique itself. The 1st couple of chapters give an in-depth evaluation of how the American energy grid functions and the vulnerabilities attached to it. It can be technically tricky to stick to at instances, on the other hand, Koppel paints a compelling image by way of many interviews with major safety specialists on the possible effect that an attack on the nation’s energy grid could have on every day living. The remainder of the book explores folks who have either created contingency plans for lengthy-term energy outages, or at present reside completely off the grid. The book warns that our worst fears are grounded in plausibility, and that the failure to acknowledge the threat could be our greatest concern of all.

The Verdict: If a nationwide blackout occurred, it is straightforward to visualize it could final for weeks to months. For these devoid of prior preparations, tens of millions of Americans would face the loss of operating water, sewage, refrigeration, and light. Communities would reside an existence devoid of creature comforts, and lots of may well acquiesce to rudimentary types of survival, such as looting. Koppel paints a vivid image of this situation and lays out a technical but comprehensible map on how it could basically take place. Lights Out is each an acknowledgement of the energy grid’s vulnerability, as nicely as a get in touch with to action to for the government and its citizens. Though the federal government might be underprepared to help citizens in a grid-down situation, Koppel traverses the nation to discover these who have exemplified individual preparedness measures for a myriad of disaster scenarios, such as the decimation of the national energy grid.

Though the 1st many chapters of the book involve a massive quantity of technical jargon, they paint the image that our nation is vulnerable to a massive-scale cyber or electromagnetic pulse attack. It is right here that Koppel’s journalistic instincts shine as he interviews the nation’s leading safety specialists and explores our level of readiness, each nationally and individually. The finish outcome is a thesis that is each sobering and hopeful, warning us that our worst fears might be grounded in reality and enlightening us at the identical time. Koppel hopes to provoke readers to prepare for a catastrophe that could potentially destroy contemporary civilization and succeeds in performing so.

The query of irrespective of whether our nation can withstand the possible destruction of a cyberterrorist attack on its energy grid, be it by way of rogue organizations or by state sponsorship, is an critical one particular. Koppel correctly delivers a book that raises much more inquiries than it answers, but poses the sort of inquiries that elicit correct discussion amongst our national safety advisors as nicely as typical households. Lights Out is alarming, but rife in objective and relevance to all who study it, producing a substantial contribution to the mindset of any ready person.

Book &amp Author
Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath
by Ted Koppel

Broadway Books





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