‘Crisis’ by David E Nye

‘Bureaucrats’ was written in 1976 – ‘Crisis’ looks at 1977, and covers similar ground, as postwar certainties gave way to Ballardian postmodernity. Nye tells the story of the USA’s power grid by looking at its failures, chiefly the New York blackouts of 1965 and 1977. The former was a curiously festive affair – the latter, described in ‘Crisis’, was something like a test-run for the apocalypse. The same city, similar only 12 years apart. What had changed?

In When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America, MIT Press, 2010

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