The Last Days of Night

The Last Days of Night

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • "A world of invention and skulduggery, populated by the likes of Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla."—Erik Larson

"A model of superior historical fiction . . . an exciting, sometimes astonishing story."—The Washington Post

From Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian, comes a thrilling novel—based on actual events—about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America.
New York, 1888. Gas lamps still flicker in the city streets, but the miracle of electric light is in its infancy. The person who controls the means to turn night into day will make history—and a vast fortune. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul's client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?
The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?
In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he'll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.
"A satisfying romp . . . Takes place against a backdrop rich with period detail . . . Works wonderfully as an entertainment . . . As it charges forward, the novel leaves no dot unconnected."—Noah Hawley, The New York Times Book Review
Published: Random House Publishing Group


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Jun 01, 2021

It has been claimed from time to time that baseball is America’s favorite game. It’s certainly not true today and in fact has never been true; America’s favorite game is lawsuits. “I’ll sue!” not “Play ball!” is the prototypical American declaration. There are far more lawyers per capita in the USA than have ever existed in any nation in human history. And our fascination with legal wrangles is easy to understand: it’s a highly entertaining game whose outcome is not predictable (otherwise it would have been settled beforehand). Vast resources are often thrown into the fray — reputations, fortunes, even life and death may be at risk. Highly skilled players are engaged, speaking an occult language, a priesthood, so to speak.
Such is the opening premise of this novel — the gargantuan legal battle between Edison and Westinghouse over rights to the humble (and now quickly becoming obsolete) incandescent light bulb. Moore has taken a set of historical events that were, in themselves dramatic and fascinating and has built around it an even more intriguing (albeit perhaps overly romanticized) dramatization. A cast of real historical figures, each in his own way larger than life, appear on stage. I was constantly reminded of Stewart Hall Holbrook’s "The Age of the Moguls: The Story of the Robber Barons & the Great Tycoons", a book I recommend for both its historical and its spectator value.
By speeding up a series of actual events, Moore has intensified dramatic tension; and by moving the story along quickly, he has merrily skipped over a host of technical details and legalistic minutiae that might otherwise have become tiresome. We are therefore asked to accept a number of seemingly farfetched actions and relationships without looking too closely into their credibility. All of which makes for an enjoyable piece of historical fiction.

Apr 09, 2020

Although this is fiction, it brings to light (no pun intended) the intrigue and issues of bringing electricity to us all. This is so complex and confounded and made me so aggravated at the politics behind the science. But the author does justice to the men behind the intrigue and I really enjoyed this book. I highly recommend to anyone who is fascinated with history or even Sci-Fi.

Dec 25, 2018

In this historical fiction I not only learned a ton about Edison, Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla, but couldn’t put the book down through all their legal battles and back-stabbings. It’s told through the voice of Paul Cravath, Westinghouse’s young lawyer, whose method of law office organization is still the model for lawyers today. It spills the beans on the greed, deceit, genius and egocentricity when inventors were changing the world in the late 1800s. And, for good measure, reveals the real-life love story between Cravath and opera singer Agnes Huntington. Well researched and thoroughly absorbing.

Oct 06, 2018

Interesting details between Edison and Westinghouse's battle over the light bulb, and the development of electricity for the masses. Even Tesla is involved. Great research done for the bad guys, just very differences of opinions. Thought provoking while delivering a great story flow. So glad I read it.

Sep 04, 2018

THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT is precisely why I’m a fan of historical fiction. It entertains while it informs and is rich with period detail and fascinating, real, larger-than-life personalities. THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT shines a light on the age of invention and the dawn of electricity. Impeccably researched, author Graham Moore’s novel is nothing short of brilliant.

May 07, 2018

Almost reads as a self help book for those who are inclined the be inventive, or someone who wants to become very sucessful but has doubts about what it takes to become what their dreams are. Great story, enjoyable read . Setting the tone for Nicola Tesla who is the middle of a fight, but today will are still seeing a fight between two companies name Nicola and another named Tesla. Each chapter starts off with a comment that people like Steve Jobs, Edison, Fuller and others have espoused what it takes to make your dream come true even after so many failures.

Apr 28, 2018

I liked reading this book. It is historical fiction, but at the end in "Notes from the Author" he goes into his research and comments on how much of the story is based on actual facts, placing the timing to suit his story. It was filled with tension at times. Very enjoyable.

LPL_TriciaK Apr 27, 2018

Do you feel left behind by all of the STEM and STEAM talk? Well, here's a book for you! In this fast-paced, short-chapter thriller, you'll get a good dose of science and technology - with a little romance & mystery thrown in. It's about the real-life battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over how the U.S. would be electrified. Would the winner be DC current (Edison) or AC current (Westinghouse)? Read about the dirty tricks, devastating betrayals, and industrial spies while you bone up on the fundamentals of electricity. Bonus: you get to know why Tesla is so important in the history of science and technology (so influential that he has a car named after him!) Put an end to your insecurity about science - read this book.

Feb 15, 2018

Historical fiction thriller with a bit of romance based on facts. Enjoyed the flow and writing of this engaging tale formed around actual events. I felt engaged and pulled in to the story and learned a little more of our history along the way.

Jan 10, 2018

A fascinating tale about how big business works, made even more so because it was grounded in reality. Entertaining and informative.

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Sep 04, 2018

“Thomas Edison was not, Paul thought, the first man to become rich by inventing something clever. Rather, he was the first man to build a factory for harnessing cleverness…. His genius was not in inventing; rather, it was in inventing a system of invention.” - p. 172


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