Lights Out

  • by Ted Koppel
  • Narrated by Ted Koppel
  • 8 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America's power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
Imagine a blackout lasting not days but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to generators, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before.
It isn't just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation's three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure - and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon.
Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors - from "hacktivists" to terrorists - have the capability as well. "It's not a question of if," says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, "it's a question of when."
And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. The current secretary of homeland security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.
In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation's estimated three million "preppers", we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake stocked with fish and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company - the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?
With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.

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What the Critics Say

"Ted Koppel's unparalleled reporting skills are on full display in Lights Out. A fascinating and frightening look at just how vulnerable we are to a cyber attack." (Anderson Cooper)
"Lights Out is a timely warning about the vulnerability of America to a massive cyber attack that would cripple all we take for granted - electricity, communication, transportation. This is not science fiction. Hats off to Ted Koppel for putting us all on alert." (Tom Brokaw)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Incredible book

This is the most in depth expose' of the total lack of preparedness across the board in civil and government agencies I have yet read. I have been following this subject for many years, and never has anyone done the hard work of going to the sources for information like Ted Kopel. All I can say is I hope people in places of responsibility listen.
Thanks Ted
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- MountainmanID

Fascinating but incomplete

This was a very interesting book. In a lot of ways it was preaching to the choir as I already realize the danger of a large-scale power grid failure. I have taken some small steps to self-sustainability both because of environmental concerns and because it never hurts to have useful skills. However, I don't believe Mr Koppel did a strong enough job proving the likelihood of such an attack. The possibility, yes definitely. But not the likelihood. I also believe that he left out a great deal about how people should prepare on an individual basis. While this was clearly not a manual on self-reliance or preparedness, the two examples of Preppers he gave were rich dilettantes. I think that as a warning to the general public this book fell short, and as a warning to people in power it's too softball. Still, it was far more readable than the book "One Second After", not too mention less right wing, and he highlights some interesting groups that are trying to put in place safety nets should something of the scale of massive power grid failures ever happen. Definitely worth reading.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-27-2015
  • Publisher: Random House Audio