Lights Out by Ted Koppel 3

Lights Out

“It would be the ultimate irony if the most connected, the most media-saturated population in history failed to disseminate the most elementary survival plan until the power was out and it no longer had the capacity to do so.”


Imagine a scenario where a cyberattack takes down one of the three power grids in American and it takes anywhere from months to years to repair. Such a scenario is a definite possibility and is laid out in Ted Koppel’s Lights Out. While the book is two years old at this point, I haven’t heard anything in the news addressing this threat to our society.

I originally ordered the book in January of 2016 shortly after the book was published. I am a guest blogger for The Survival Mom and try to keep tabs on prepper-related books. However, the book sat in my to-read pile until this month. I am glad I’ve been more intentional about what I’m reading each month as it’s forcing me to read through some of the non-fiction books I have been wanting to read. I tend to gravitate toward fiction if left to my own devices.

Lights Out is divided into three sections. In the first section, Koppel talks about the threat of a cyberattack on the power grid. In today’s world, cyber security is a daily topic. When the power grid was put in and then connected to the Internet, the threat was not on the horizon. To retroactively secure the entire grid would take years. In the second section, Lights Out addresses the lack of planning on behalf of the government for a long-term power outage. Koppel talks to various agencies and could not find one with a plan to deal with large sections of the country being power-less. In the last section, the book shows how some people are preparing themselves and their families for such a threat. Koppel interviews people in Wyoming, New York, St. Louis and Utah about how they are preparing for a long-term power outage. He also explores how the Mormon community prepares itself for possible disasters.

(Koppel refers to One Second After by William R. Forstchen several times in the book, which is a book about life after an EMP takes down the power in the U.S. for several years. Read my review of that book here or on the whole series at The Survival Mom.)

When I put the book down, I immediately talked to my husband about the facts presented and we talked about how we could prepare for such a scenario. I said the book should almost be put in the horror section in a bookstore, but it’s non-fiction because it could come true. The Internet, down to a single laptop, is now a “weapon of mass destruction.”

I honestly think every adult should read this book so more people know about this threat. Even Koppel acknowledges that the first step is to know about the problem and then look for a solution. I think mature high school students could read this book as there is nothing objectionable in it, but it deals with a mature topic.

Have you read Lights Out? If so, comment below about what you thought of the book. Also comment if you have thoughts on how people should best prepare themselves for a long-term power outage.

Buy the book here (affiliate link).

About Sarah Anne Carter

Sarah Anne Carter is a writer and reader. She grew up all over the world as a military brat and is now putting down roots with her family in Ohio. Family life keeps her busy, but any spare moment is spent reading, writing or thinking about plots for novels.