The Blackout of 1977: Background information when reading Another Brooklyn

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Another Brooklyn

A Novel

by Jacqueline Woodson

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson X
Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Aug 2016, 192 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2017, 192 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Norah Piehl
Buy This Book

About this Book

The Blackout of 1977

This article relates to Another Brooklyn

Print Review

Blackout LootingSet in the 1970s, Another Brooklyn references numerous contemporary events, from Vietnam to Son of Sam (a killer convicted of a series of shooting attacks that began in New York City in the summer of 1976 and ended in the summer of 1977.) One event in particular that figures in August's memories is the electrical blackout of July 13-14, 1977. The blackout was notable for its geographic specificity (it knocked out power to almost all of New York City, but nowhere else in the Northeast) as well as for the length of time it took Con Edison to restore power and, most infamously, its incitement of looting and vandalism, as well as arson.

Blackout EffectThe blackout occurred during a period when New Yorkers were facing financial stresses, rising crime rates, and anxieties over the Son of Sam murders. The city was in the midst of a heat wave. A series of lightning strikes prompted the electrical outage, after most shop owners had gone home for the night. No one really knows why this particular blackout resulted in so many acts of vandalism and looting in so many (mostly poor) neighborhoods, when other electrical outages saw few, if any, of these kinds of criminal activities. By the time the lights went back on after 25 hours, arsonists had set 1000 fires, and looters had plundered 1600 stores and businesses.

Blackout Effect 2The blackout of 1977 has had a large influence on pop culture. Some historians have suggested that the looting of DJ and stereo equipment and the subsequent house parties that took place after the blackout were in part responsible for the rise of hip-hop culture in the late 1970s. Among other books written about it, the bestselling novel City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg takes place largely during the events of the blackout. Other references to the blackout exist in movies and even video games. To many, the blackout became a metaphor for what was a particularly dark time in New York City history and, ironically, shone a spotlight on class and racial tensions that had previously been largely ignored.

Looting during the 1977 blackout, courtesy of long70s tumblr
Blackout effect, courtesy of boomboomdown.com
Another blackout effect, courtesy of crimjohn

Article by Norah Piehl

This "beyond the book article" relates to Another Brooklyn. It originally ran in August 2016 and has been updated for the May 2017 paperback edition.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
    Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
    by Olga Tokarczuk
    A subversive feminist noir mystery set in a remote Polish village, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of...
  • Book Jacket: The World Doesn't Require You
    The World Doesn't Require You
    by Rion Amilcar Scott
    You can't move for young authors being marketed as "unique," "bold" and "visionary" these days. So ...
  • Book Jacket: The Long Call
    The Long Call
    by Ann Cleeves
    Penning a great murder mystery seems like it would be particularly challenging. The story often fits...
  • Book Jacket: The Liar
    The Liar
    by Ayelet Gundar-Goshen
    The Liar is a book that will make its readers uncomfortable by design; set in modern-day Israel, it ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Shadow King
    by Maaza Mengiste

    "A brilliant novel, lyrically lifting history towards myth. It's also compulsively readable."
    —Salman Rushdie
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Motherhood So White
    by Nefertiti Austin

    A heartwarming memoir of motherhood and adoption told through an African American lens.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Girl Who Reads on the Métro

The Girl Who Reads on the Métro

An enchanting story for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

L, Damn L, A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.