California on Fire by Katherine Blunt | audio book

  • Narrated by: Nan McNamara
  • Duration: 9 hours and 41 minutes
  • Release date: 30-08-22

California Burning by Katherine Blunt Audiobook Summary

An eye-opening and urgent narrative with national implications, exploring the decline of California’s largest utility company that sparked countless wildfires, including the one that destroyed the city of Paradise, and the human toll of infrastructure failure.

Pacific Gas and Electric was a legacy company built by innovators and visionaries, establishing California as a desirable home and economic powerhouse. In California on fire, Wall Street Journal Reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist Katherine Blunt examines how that legacy fell apart, revealing a long history of deadly failures in which Pacific Gas and Electric endangered millions of Northern Californians through criminal neglect of its infrastructure. While PG&E prioritized profits and politics, power lines went unchecked—until a rusty hook purchased for 56 cents in 1921 snapped in two, sparking the deadliest wildfire in California history.

Beginning with the public reckoning of PG&E after the Paradise fire, Blunt chronicles the evolution of PG&E’s shareholder base, from innovators who built some of California’s first long-distance power lines to aggressive investors eager to reap dividends. Following key players through pivotal decisions and legal battles, California on fire reveals the forces that shaped PG&E’s plight: deregulation and market games led by Enron Corp., an unyielding push for renewable energy, and a rapid rise in wildfire risk across the West, while regulators and legislators pushed their own agendas.

California on fire it’s a deeply informed, character-driven narrative, the story of a disaster that expands into a much larger exploration of responsibility. It’s an American tragedy that serves as a warning to utilities across the country, especially as climate change makes aging infrastructure more vulnerable, with potentially fatal consequences.

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