The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World


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The grid: a journey through the heart of our electrified world

As a physicist who knows his Thoreau, Schewe appreciates electrical technology but keeps it in perspective. He regards building and maintaining an electrical network as "a poetic deed," one fraught with social, economic and environmental dangers.


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The book opens with an account of the blackout that spread across many Northeastern and Midwestern states and much of lower Canada on August 14, Electrical power has become so pervasive and all-encompassing that, before they lost service that day, the 50 million people affected probably took electricity as much for granted as the air they breathed.

But getting trapped in elevators and subways or just being forced to sit in dark homes and offices without televisions, computers or air conditioning presumably prompted them to give a little more thought to how their electricity is provided America plugs in. I write a weekly newsletter and run press conferences at big meetings devoted to physics. For this I must scan numerous science journals and magazines and consult with high-tier experts.

“The Grid” – not quite electrifying, but it’ll give you a jolt

My other job is writing plays and books. For this I must read an even larger number of books, and am obliged frequently to test out ideas by visiting museums and attending the theater. In The Grid, Schewe tells the story of the infrastructure that carries electricity throughout the United States —an infrastructure that we take for granted, even though it touches us every day.

Library Journal reviewer James A. Buczynski stated that Schewe "demystifies" the power grid by combining "numerous historical vignettes that draw out key stories, characters, companies, scientific concepts, events, and philosophical ideas. Romero in Scienceline. Schewe depicts the grid as a kind of machine that operates invisibly—most of the time. Bigelow in a review for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

He is, in California. My theory, which I hope will be correct, is that what California does today, the rest of the U. And even if U. So solar tends to be supported across the board. And he expresses it in such an entertaining way. So many books about serious subjects are insufferably dull, but this one is really enjoyable. In order for anything to be successful, you need supportive legislation, and to get supportive legislation you need politicians who are committed and informed.

Herman Scheer was the great political champion of solar in Germany. He was the one who bulldozed the crucial legislation through the German parliament, against the wishes of the Schroeder government.

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Without him, the whole sea-change in solar in Germany would not have happened. He was politically ambitious, and recognised that there was an opportunity for him to make his mark by championing renewable energy in general, and solar in particular. He would take them on head-on, and he would win.

He was a bulldog of a man, powerful and compact, a really dynamic individual. In his youth he played water polo, which probably was good training for the kind of political battles he subsequently fought. Tragically, he died late last year, at age There are two books here — I originally chose The Solar Manifesto because it was the first, but Scheer also wrote The Solar Economy , which came out in and so is more up to date.

It reinforces everything the first one said, but adds more detail and more practical material. The books reflect the author. He quotes the example of the railways — how quickly they were built once people really got the idea that they were going to be useful. Without parallel. He was a one-off, Hermann Scheer.

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There is no one else like him, anywhere. We owe him a great debt. This book is only partly about solar, as one part of the solution to the energy issue. He sees that working with companies is likely to have more of an effect than being righteous and holier-than-thou. The book provides examples of companies, of start-ups, that are doing good things, that might help in the grand scheme of things. Five Books aims to keep its book recommendations and interviews up to date. If you are the interviewee and would like to update your choice of books or even just what you say about them please email us at editor fivebooks.

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We ask experts to recommend the five best books in their subject and explain their selection in an interview. This site has an archive of more than one thousand interviews, or five thousand book recommendations. We publish at least two new interviews per week. Five Books participates in the Amazon Associate program and earns money from qualifying purchases. Support Us. Buy all books Read. Bob Johnstone. Climate Change Nature Renewable Energy.

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Save for later Kindle. Adam Maloof on Earth History Books. Paul Kingsnorth on Uncivilisation Books. Mark Serreze on Ice Books.

The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World
The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World The Grid: A Journey Through the Heart of Our Electrified World

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