Mike's Reviews > At Day's Close: Night in Times Past

At Day's Close by A. Roger Ekirch
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's review
Aug 09, 2011

really liked it

A really awesome, and unique, history book: the whole focus of this book is on how in previous times, prior to electric light, our forefathers coped with darkness. As you'd expect, most of this introspection by a professsor of history focuses on fears of ghosts, robbers, people falling down open cellardoors, and encounters with hookers. You really can't go wrong with stories of that tenor, and with an author who is a strong writer as well as a quality historian and seeker of facts, these tales are well-told. The primary focus is on British and to a more limited extent American experiences (the author teaches in Virginia—what else would you expect?) but contains not only entertaining stories but information certain to help other scholars figure out crucial aspects of how people lived their lives before electric lights. The impact of the night, the sheer terror of a time when without light all lived in some degree of peril, on times bygone is really drilled home here and you come away from it with a new appreciation for all-night diners, lighted highways, and being able to flip a switch and get a lamp to come on at home.
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