Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath
It's good to see a prominent figure like Ted Koppel addressing a security concern that remains off most Americans' radar. The unsettling thing, as proven by his research, is that a "lights out" scenario is largely off the government's radar, too. Koppel gained access to both current and former government officials and asked them about both preventative measures and contingency plans should the U.S. electrical grid go down.
Not surprisingly, the former officials were more frank than current ones in admitting that we don't really have a plan for a lengthy, wide-scale outage. Frustratingly, many current government officials dodge the question by downplaying the threat or sizing it down to something manageable, such as a one or two day outage in an urban area. The plan is...there is no plan.
As for what might have been done better...my qualms or really minor. I thought it unnecessary to focus on cyber attacks, since most grid-down scenarios would play out the same, whether a cyber attack, EMP, CME, etc. I thought Part 2 was a bit weaker than Part 1. Part 1 focuses on government preparedness and Part 2 on the preparedness of individuals and organizations (these are my generalizations, not the author's). I think most people with an interest in a grid-down scenario are already thoroughly familiar with the makeup of the prepper/preparedness community. Perhaps someone new to the topic would find the interviews more interesting or informative than I did, though.
Nevertheless, I'd recommend the book on the value of Part 1, alone.
Overall, a great book.