Blackout by Dr. James Goodman

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On July 13, 1977, there was a blackout in New York City. With the dark came excitement, adventure, and fright in subway tunnels, office towers, busy intersections, high-rise stairwells, hotel lobbies, elevators, and hospitals. There was revelry in bars and restaurants, music and dancing in the streets. On block after block, men and women proved themselves heroes by helping neighbors and strangers make it through the night.

Unfortunately, there was also widespread looting, vandalism, and arson. Even before police restored order, people began to ask and argue about why. Why did people do what they did when the lights went out? The argument raged for weeks but it was just like the night: lots of heat, little light--a shouting match between those who held fast to one explanation and those who held fast to another.

James Goodman cuts between accidents, encounters, conversations, exchanges, and arguments to re-create that night and its aftermath in a dizzying accumulation of detail. Rejecting simple dichotomies and one-dimensional explanations for why people act as they do in moments of conflict and crisis, Goodman illuminates attitudes, ideas, and experiences that have been lost in facile generalizations and analyses. Journalistic re-creation at its most exciting, Blackout provides a whirlwind tour of 1970s New York and a challenge to conventional thinking.


About Dr. James Goodman

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James Goodman is a professor of history at Rutgers University and the author of Stories of Scottsboro, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Manhattan.
Published July 5, 2005 by North Point Press. 274 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Jazzy, cresendo-building portrait of the blackout that hit New York City in 1977, stitched together in a series of compressed bursts of imagery and critical readings and events.

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Publishers Weekly

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He recalls the 1977 blackout through personal accounts, studies, public reports and period articles from magazines (Time, Newsweek ) and newspapers (the New York Times , Daily News , New York Post , Village Voice , Amsterdam News ).

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Energy Bulletin

To find this article there follow the View this article at link at the bottom of the article A must-read collection by some of the world’s most provocative thinkers on the key issues shaping our new century.

Jul 28 2005 | Read Full Review of Blackout

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