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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

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  68 ratings  ·  18 reviews
Hardcover, 311 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by J. Henry Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 174)
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Stephen Murley
As I work in the Utilities field, I appreciated this book a great deal. It is well written and provides an excellent history and overvieww of one of life's present necessities--electricity.
This is far from a dry book on what some may take as a dull subject. I really appreciated the historical background on Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and Insull--all early giants in the field.
The author details the causes and impacts of the 1960's Northewastern blackout which I found very interesting. I found pr...more
Pete Sikora
Dec 29, 2007 Pete Sikora rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: an editing teacher looking for a case study
Does the author realize that asked and answered questions are really annoying? Apparently not. It's a bad enough rhetorical device - even worse in writing, particularly in constant repetition. Good lord, what an awful book.

And I'm a big fan of public works stuff... so the subject matter is actually very interesting to me. He beats to death the same set of limited points, layering on his terrible writing (isn't it amazing that the socket in your wall is connected through electricity to places all...more
The first 188 pages are interesting, and the last 98 are filler, a kind of bastardized attempt to enter John McPhee territory, but at least without the pretense of being quite so pretty the prose stylist.

Basically, the experience of reading the book was like watching or listening to a Seahawks game. There's going to be good quarters and bad quarters, and the end result depends all upon the sequencing.

Seahawks lost this one, especially once all the Apollo moon mission jibber jabber stepped on t...more
Tim Shores
For many of the two billion people enjoying consistent and adequate wattage, electricity is overlooked and taken for granted. If you can pardon a gawky sense of humor and the adventurous prose, The Grid will fill in the gaps in your understanding of how we make, distribute, and use electricity. Schewe is a mirthful science writer, and his 'journey' is fun.
Tragedy Booze
Apr 05, 2014 Tragedy Booze added it
Shelves: 2014
If you'd like to know what I thought of this book, please contact me directly and I'd be happy to discuss it with you.

All the best,

- TB
Just finished this book, encouraged by reviews found elsewhere. For the uninitiated, this offers exellent coverage of a very important topic. If you know something of electronic fundamentals, you can skim parts, but the book's strong part is relating the technology with the human historical context. Schewe uses some analogies that work, such as how electricity leaking unexpectedly from the grid can be like a grain of sand giving rise to an avalanche. Readers remembering the late 1960s blackout w...more
Feb 13, 2008 Steve added it
Overview with some depth covering the origin of the mass generation, use and popularization of electricity and the creation of the electrical grid. Of particular interest were the treatment of famous major blackouts; how deregulation has influenced the generation and transmission of electricity and changed who owns the facilities; and the stories of the major personalities that created the industry of power generation.
May 20, 2008 John rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: engineers
This book presents an excellent overview of the development of the electrical power grid. I'd have liked more technical detail, but as it was, it was an enjoyable book for a certain kind of person.

A certain kind of person being a geek like me.

I recommended it so several of my engineer friends, and they enjoyed it. I described it to some of my more emotional friends, and they said I was nuts.
The Grid provides a serviceable and populist introduction to electricity, with a narrative grounded in people and stories rather than technical detail or engineering. While Schewe’s prose can tend towards the florid, his great accomplishment is in weighing the philosophical and moral implications of electricity’s pervasiveness and convenience in parts of the world, and its utter lack elsewhere.
It seems that the author can't decide which way to go: a history of the USA grid? A description of how the grid works by practical examples and anecdotes? A dissertation about the "philosophy" of the grid and its effects on the human life? All those things are present, but not developed (sometimes only hinted) in a satisfactory way.
Ram Kaushik
Informative book on the history of electricity in the US. Writing style is highly idiosyncratic and makes heavy weather of simple concepts. Needed to really wade through some sections and cringe. But overall a good read for those wanting to understand more about what makes our modern world tick.
I had to give this one up about 50 pages in. The subject seemed interesting to me, and I love a natural history as much as the next reader, but this guy's writing style was so choppy, so unnecessarily intrusive that I couldn't slog any further. Too bad :-(
John Hoag
This isn't an official NAE/NAS book, but it may represent the best set of ideas going-forward, Amin's concept of the microgrid. Note that they have defined the grid to be all-things transmission AND distribution.
Frederick Bingham
A book about the electric grid. It discusses such subjects as the 1965 and '2003 blackouts in the northeast, the battle between Edison and Westinghouse and the electric infrastructure in Noew York City.
A well grounded historical overlay on our current electrical Grid priority's and issues.

Touching on Enviomental and social effects of an elctrified society
An account of how the U. S. (mainly) electrical grid works, told through examples of present conditions and past disasters (the big blackout of the 1960s)
I would have loved more detail. This book is a very high-level, non-technical survey of the electric grid.
Doug Page
I've had a brown-out on this one...
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