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Countdown to Blackout: On EMPs, Solar Flares, and 48 Hours by William R. Forstchen

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By Jennifer McClelland-Smith

In 48 Hours, New York Times bestselling author William R. Forstchen writes of a “Carrington Event”, a powerful solar storm able to wipe out the Earth’s electrical grid, threatening humanity itself. So how exactly does the American population prepare to defend itself in this prescient thriller?

Mr. Science Explains It All
In anticipation of this potentially catastrophic event, the federal government calls in Mr. Science, a popular television host to explain it all. His simple, if slightly bizarre, explanation of what to expect in the next 48 hours runs continuously on all networks and internet sources, garnering hundreds of millions of views, at least as long as the grid is up and running.

All Citizens Will Disconnect

The next step in preparing for the solar storm is for all Americans to shut down the electricity in their homes, going as far as pulling the plug on every last electronic device and disconnecting every gadget connected to the internet. Staying unplugged and offline protects the grid until the storm passes.

Transportation Will Be Severely Limited

At midnight, before the anticipated storm hits, all airline and railway traffic will stop and all Americans will be advised to stay off the roads, as those with electric cars, hybrids, and other late-model automobiles may be impacted by the storm as well, due to their electrical components.

World Leaders Unite

Finally, the United States government reaches agreements with leaders around the world to use their military forces for defensive purposes only. The US, Russia, China, and NATO agree to keep watch, ensuring this solar storm does not devolve into a world war.

It all sounds simple enough, right? Told from the alternating perspectives of a no-nonsense security expert in the Missouri Ozarks and a leading scientific expert on the subject, staring down the catastrophe with the president, 48 Hours is both a nail-biting thriller and a powerful tribute to the resilience of the American spirit.

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