Blunt offers a fascinating chapter on PG&E’s surprisingly colorful 117-year history, featuring stories of admirable pluck, including a winter sled race for water rights to build a power dam ... Blunt’s book is not a technical tome but a drama, a human tragedy, loaded with fascinating characters and tales of death and destruction, incompetence and chicanery, malfeasance and greed. Any detail necessary to understand the electric grid and how it works is woven seamlessly and clearly through the narrative.
As a portrait of a state in crisis, California Burning isn’t as dramatic as dispatches from the wildfire front lines — instead of heroic firefighters, we get lawyers and engineers — but Blunt is a thorough reporter and a lucid writer. She makes the struggle to supply California with power on a warming planet clear and compelling ... Occasionally in Blunt notes tentative optimism. She points out that PG&E has been a pioneer in solar power.
... intensely researched, deeply unsettling ... California electric rates are rising steadily, and Blunt delivers detailed accounts of complex, ongoing political, business, and courtroom maneuvers that would overwhelm readers if not for her abundant journalistic skills. But even this plugged-in author cannot deny that PG&E’s problems may be insoluble ... A compelling and heart-wrenching study.