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Original Essays | July 22, 2014

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The three men lit up in my mind's eye, with footnotes. They were converging on me — and on the object I was carrying — in a way that had... Continue »
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This title in other editions

When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America

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When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Where were you when the lights went out? At home during a thunderstorm? During the Great Northeastern Blackout of 1965? In California when rolling blackouts hit in 2000? In 2003, when a cascading power failure left fifty million people without electricity? We often remember vividly our time in the dark. In When the Lights Went Out, David Nye views power outages in America from 1935 to the present not simply as technical failures but variously as military tactic, social disruption, crisis in the networked city, outcome of political and economic decisions, sudden encounter with sublimity, and memories enshrined in photographs. Our electrically lit-up life is so natural to us that when the lights go off, the darkness seems abnormal.

Nye looks at America's development of its electrical grid, which made large-scale power failures possible and a series of blackouts from military blackouts to the "greenout" (exemplified by the new tradition of "Earth Hour"), a voluntary reduction organized by environmental organizations.

Blackouts, writes Nye, are breaks in the flow of social time that reveal much about the trajectory of American history. Each time one occurs, Americans confront their essential condition — not as isolated individuals, but as a community that increasingly binds itself together with electrical wires and signals.

Synopsis:

Blackouts--whether they result from military planning, network failure, human error, or terrorism--offer snapshots of electricity's increasingly central role in American society.

About the Author

David E. Nye is Professor of American History at the University of Southern Denmark. The winner of the 2005 Leonardo da Vinci Medal of the Society for the History of Technology, he is the author of America's Assembly Line (MIT Press) and other books.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780262525077
Subtitle:
A History of Blackouts in America
Author:
Nye, David E.
Author:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Publisher:
The MIT Press
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
US History-General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
When the Lights Went Out
Publication Date:
20130913
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 17
Language:
English
Illustrations:
26 band#38;w illus.
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8 x 5.375 x 0.76 in

Related Subjects

Engineering » Engineering » General Engineering
Engineering » Engineering » History
Engineering » Engineering » Power Resources » Electrical
History and Social Science » US History » General
Reference » Science Reference » Technology

When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages MIT Press (MA) - English 9780262525077 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Blackouts--whether they result from military planning, network failure, human error, or terrorism--offer snapshots of electricity's increasingly central role in American society.
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