The Grid: Electrical Infrastructure for a New Era

The Grid: Electrical Infrastructure for a New Era Review

America’s electrical grid, an engineering triumph of the twentieth century, is turning out to be a poor fit for the present. It’s not just that the grid has grown old and is now in dire need of basic repair. Today, as we invest great hope in new energy sources--solar, wind, and other alternatives--the grid is what stands most firmly in the way of a brighter energy future. If we hope to realize this future, we need to re-imagine the grid according to twenty-first-century values. It’s a project which forces visionaries to work with bureaucrats, legislators with storm-flattened communities, moneymen with hippies, and the left with the right. And though it might not yet be obvious, this revolution is already well under way.

Cultural anthropologist Gretchen Bakke unveils the many facets of America's energy infrastructure, its most dynamic moments and its most stable ones, and its essential role in personal and national life. The grid, she argues, is an essentially American artifact, one which developed with us: a product of bold expansion, the occasional foolhardy vision, some genius technologies, and constant improvisation. Most of all, her focus is on how Americans are changing the grid right now, sometimes with gumption and big dreams and sometimes with legislation or the brandishing of guns.

The Grid tells--entertainingly, perceptively--the story of what has been called “the largest machine in the world”: its fascinating history, its problematic present, and its potential role in a brighter, cleaner future.

Title:The Grid: Electrical Infrastructure for a New Era
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Clif Hostetler

    This book provides a thorough explanation of both the history and the details of how the electrical power grid works. The book then proceeds to discuss prospects for its future. Anyone who is an advoc...

  • Scott

    This book, unfortunately, is a perfect example of a magazine article's worth of concept, analysis, and insight stretched too thinly to book length. The Bloomsbury editors -- who clearly have zero back...

  • Mary Beth

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I can't believe how much I enjoyed this book... I am not in any way an energy person, but this book caught my eye -- maybe for just that reason -- and I am del...

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    The grid is a well-done book on a topic that is not sexy. The maintenance and refiguring of the grid for newer alternative energy sources that aren't steady and reliable like fossil fuels but are unli...

  • Pamela

    For the first time in my life, I actually think I understand how electricity works, how it is generated, why it does what it does and how it gets to you and me from where it starts. I don't think I co...

  • Jason Anthony

    This book represents a great idea (the need to explain how our electricity system and the grid work) in desperate need of a greater editor. The topic might not be "sexy" but that doesn't mean the writ...

  • Fraser Kinnear

    Very interesting history lesson of how we got our current (terribly antiquated) grid, as well as the monopoly/monopsony powers the utilities running the grid have wielded. Especially interesting to me...

  • Ian Scuffling

    I really thought The Grid: Electrical Infrastructure for a New Era was going to be a heck of a lot more interesting and informative than it was. Another reviewer here rightly suggests that this is a b...

  • Meghan

    Very interesting overview of the grid and its many ailments, as well as a meditation on our relationship with electricity. I'm surprised I knew as little about the grid as I did going into this, consi...

  • Kelly Kuwabara

    I thought this book certainly lived up to its promise - it was at least as good a history, exposition, and analysis of our electrical grid as I expected; an in fact was both more thorough and more cre...