Book Review from TM in Arkansas – Lights Out

  • © Ted Koppel 2015
  • Published by Crown Publishing Group, New York
  • ISBN: 978-0-553-41996-2 (Hardback) 978-0-553-41997-9 (eBook)
  • There are twenty chapters, 279 pages, index, and notes.

This is not another fictional EMP book. It is facts concerning an intentional attack on the electrical grid of the USA. I have studied that particular threat for many years, so I thought I would read this book, confirm what I already knew, and pass it on to the local public library. After my first read, I have decided to keep the book in my personal library for reference. Sorry folks, you will have to buy your own copy.

The author is a well-known journalist and ably uses his skills to cut through the chatter and get down to the facts. He interviewed dozens of present and former government officials entrusted with protecting the Unites States from a cyberattack and executives from numerous electric power companies. He did the same with several individual “preppers” around the nation, including some members of the Mormon church who have a reputation for being prepared for emergencies to ascertain their plan for surviving this type of calamity. Do they even have a plan?

The premise of the book is who will attack our national power grid, how they will attack, why they will attack, and what will happen in the aftermath. What is the likelihood of such an event? Is it doable? What is the plan or plans for recovering?

We are given details on who is responsible for reacting to a cyberattack and how the USA will retaliate, if it can. After much personal research over the years, I was unpleasantly surprised at the answers and scenarios in this book. I think most of you will share my discomfort. If you truly think your government and industry leaders are on top of this problem after numerous expert warnings of the likelihood, you need to read this book right away.

There are several instances in this story when you will be angered and dismayed. I will not give away too much by saying there is no consensus of government officers on anything concerning a cyberattack. They do not agree it will even occur, much less how to deal with it. There is no plan to deal with it. The emergency response folks (FEMA) are duplicating the military who prepare for the last war. In this case, they are preparing for the last regional or local hurricane, earthquake, flood, et cetera but not the complete loss of electricity across the entire nation.

The same holds true for electric power company officials. They cannot agree on whether or not to coordinate their defensive plans with each other or the government. They cannot agree on the probability of a cyberattack against their particular company. They cannot agree on how to harden their computer systems. They cannot even agree to disagree in a civil manner.

Emergency preparedness supply companies do not want to contemplate a grid failure, especially in the dead of winter. Without electricity, they cannot freeze-dry or dehydrate anything for even their own families. Delivery to you is out of the question.

Current estimates say less than one percent of U.S. citizens are preppers. That is less than three million in a nation of 335 million. What happens to the 332 million with no preps on hand?

Do you and your family have a plan for the complete, long-term absence of electricity from your lives? My family does, and we pray hard we never have to use it.

I will close with one quote from the book by Rudolf Giuliani: “… the more you prepare, the better off you are going to be, even if you haven’t quite anticipated the thing that happens.” Please read the book for the enlightening details and facts to help you be prepared.