On the Grid

On the Grid Cover

On the Grid

A Plot of Land, an Average Neighborhood, and the Systems That Make Our World Work

By Scott Huler

Rodale Books, Hardcover, 9781605296470, 248pp.

Publication Date: May 11, 2010


A lively, captivating investigation into the infrastructure that makes society possible

In our daily lives, we're surrounded by wires, pipes, utility poles, cell phone towers, and a myriad of other infrastructure that facilitate almost everything we do. Even though these systems are essential, when was the last time you gave them much thought? Not only is infrastructure shrouded in mystery, much of it is woefully out of date bridges are falling, public transportation is overcrowded, and most roads haven't been updated since the 1950s. In On the Grid, Scott Huler sets out to understand all of the systems that shape our society from transportation, water, and garbage to the Internet coming through our cable lines.

He begins his entertaining, fascinating journey at his house in Raleigh, North Carolina, and travels everywhere from the inside of a storm water pipe to the sewers of ancient Rome. Each chapter follows one element of infrastructure back to its source. Huler visits power plants, watches new asphalt pavement being laid, and traces a drop of water backward from his faucet to the Gulf of Mexico. He reaches out to guides along the way, both the workers who operate these systems and the people who plan them.

A mesmerizing and hilarious narrative, On the Grid is filled with amazing insights, interviews, and stories that bring an overlooked but indispensable subject to life. You'll never look at your day the same way again.

About the Author
Scott Huler, a Cleveland native, currently roots for the Browns from Raleigh, North Carolina. He has written five books and has been a staff writer for the Raleigh News and Observer and the Philadelphia Daily News as well as an award-winning producer and reporter for Nashville Public Radio. His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times and have been heard on such national radio shows as National Public Radio's All Things Considered and Public Radio International's Marketplace. Huler graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis and was a 2002-2003 Knight-Wallace Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan.