Monday, March 7

Lights Out by Ted Koppel

In a world with growing technological connectivity, cyberattacks are growing more and more common. As these attacks become more commonplace, there is the increasing risk that an attack could successfully target the United States’ energy system. If this were to happen, it could have a devastating effect on the country’s economy, and on the citizen’s health. The resulting blackout could last for weeks…or for months.

How prepared are we for such an event? Author Ted Koppel argues that we are not well prepared at all. While groups such as FEMA are prepared for acts of natural disaster, such as an earthquake or hurricane, thy are not at all prepared for a potential nation-wide disaster. After all, we’ve seen their limitations with events such as Hurricane Katrina. And homeland security? Their recommendation is to keep a battery powered radio on hand.

Koppel introduces us to some doomsday preppers and how they prepare for such possibilities. However, these people are only planning for themselves and maybe their family. They’d hardly be in a position to help a massive group of people. And most people barely keep enough food in stock to last for a week or two, let alone moths. Those living in small one or two bedroom apartments, especially in places like New York City or San Francisco would have an even harder time prepping for such disaster due to space limitations.

Koppel is a strong writer and does a great job illustrating what life could be like if such a disaster were to occur. He also does a good job at showing how such an attack truly is possible. One of the more interesting parts of the book was his examination of the Mormon church, and how some Mormon communities maintain supplies for emergencies, which they feel like their faith leads them to do.

However, the one thing I thought was lacking were practical ideas on what to do. Especially given that most people don’t have the space or money to keep a lot of extra food/water on hand, what should the average person do to prepare for such an event? Pester my state representative hoping for government change? That certainly doesn’t seem like a fruitful activity. At least a few pages of ideas would’ve been a welcome addition.

Still, it was a highly interesting book which does a great job at illustrating the potential of such an attack. I certainly hope our government begins to see the risks involved with this.

4/5 Stars
I received this book free from Crown Publishers as part of their Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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