On the Grid
A Plot of Land, An Average Neighborhood, and the Systems that Make Our World Work
By Scott Huler
(Rodale Books, Paperback, 9781609611385, 256pp.)
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
Turn on a switch and from the nearest bulb out pours light from . . . somewhere; turn on a faucet and
water appears. Wires, pipes, and roads support the lives we lead, but the average person doesn’t know where they go or even how they work. In On the Grid, Scott Huler takes the time to understand the systems that sustain our way of life, starting from his own quarter of an acre in North Carolina and traveling as far as 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 the 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.
On the Grid brings infrastructure to life and details the ins and outs of our civilization with fascinating,
back-to-basics information about the systems we all depend on.
Scott Huler is the author of six books including Defining the Wind and No Man’s Lands. His essays and stories have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, and other newspapers nationwide. He has been a staff writer for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Raleigh News & Observer and a staff reporter and producer for Nashville Public Radio. His award-winning radio work has been heard on "All Things Considered" and "Day to Day" on National Public Radio and on "Marketplace" and "Splendid Table" on American Public Media. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, the writer June Spence; they have a son and another child on the way.
“Terrific new book . . . a fascinating read.” Robin Young, host of NPR’s Here and Now “Scott Huler’s fascinating account of his trips through the mesmerizingly crafted infrastructure that
sustains our modern american lives gets us toward an understanding of a system that ought to be
celebrated.” Robert Sullivan, author of The Thoreau You Don’t Know