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The Last Days of Night

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  30,419 ratings  ·  4,020 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 371 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by Random House
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Angie Boyter I can't swear (lol) there is NO swearing, but the book takes place in 1888, and if there is anything like that it is VERY mild compared to what you he…moreI can't swear (lol) there is NO swearing, but the book takes place in 1888, and if there is anything like that it is VERY mild compared to what you hear everywhere today. (less)
Kimberley The LitLovers discussion questions posted here by Belinda were the only ones I could find. I also came up with one: What is your favorite quote includ…moreThe LitLovers discussion questions posted here by Belinda were the only ones I could find. I also came up with one: What is your favorite quote included at the start of each chapter and why?

Also, it might be fun to start your book club meeting with candles if you are meeting in someone's house, then voila! switch to electric lights. Libraries do not allow wick candles because it's against their fire code, but you could bring electric votive candles for the same sort of effect. I'm looking forward to our book group discussion later this month -- it should be very "illuminating." Hee, hee. (less)

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Will Byrnes
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
All stories are love stories. Paul remembered someone famous saying that. Thomas Edison’s would be no exception. All men get the things they love. The tragedy of some men is not that they are denied, but that they wish they’d loved something else.
Paul Cravath, a young attorney in late 19h Century New York City, is drawn into a battle of the titans, as George Westinghouse engages him to defend his company against a lawsuit filed by his nemesis. The amount demanded is staggering, one billion
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel wears its heart on its sleeve. I could tell the author loved his characters, flaws and all, and was fascinated by the time period. That enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and I enjoyed this book more than I expected.

The Last Days of Night is historical fiction about the electrifying feud between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse in the late 1800s. We see the battle through the eyes of a young lawyer, Paul Cravath, who Westinghouse hired to represent him in the long legal fight against E
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore is a 2016 Random House publication.

I have been on a wait list for this book, I kid you not, for FOUR MONTHS!!

So, the big question is-

Was it worth the wait? YES! WOW! Who knew light bulbs were so fascinating?

This is a fictional account of the ‘war’ between Thomas Edison / General Electric and George Westinghouse over patent rights, inventions, and the law. It’s also a novel about genius, competitiveness, obsession and madness.

All the major characters in
"The nighttime of our ancestors is ending. Electric light is our future. The man who controls it will not simply make an unimaginable fortune. He will not simply dictate politics. He will not merely control Wall Street, or Washington, or the newspapers, or the telegraph companies, or the million household electrical devices we can’t even dream of just yet. No, no, no. The man who controls electricity will control the very sun in the sky. - Thomas Edison

When I walk in the front door and flip the
Andy Marr
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Dem by: Cher
A masterful mix of historical fiction and fact and a wonderful insight into the battle to electrify America

Ever since watching the TV Series "The Men who built America" I have a great interest in this period of American history and these fascinating characters, so when a Goodread's friend reviewed The Last Days of Night I knew this book was right for me.

This is a fascinating portrait of American inventors and entreprenuers, Thomas Edision, George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla, J.P. Morgan and atto
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I have read a few biographical pieces about Thomas Edison of late, as well as Graham Moore’s latest piece of quasi-legal fiction, so I thought the blend here would do me some good. Set in the latter part of the 19th century, the story opens with a horrible electrocution of a worker who is trying to deal with a fallen electrical line. Paul Cravath, a young attorney, witnesses this and finds himself pulled into the middle of a clash of titans like no other! Cravath arrives to see Thomas Edison wit ...more

“Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana. —Bill Gates”

This was sure a surprise! I don’t know what I was expecting, but not something as interesting and entertaining as this wonderful example of ‘historical faction’. Lots of factual information, but nothing dry or boring, as it is when popular authors try to find a subject to ‘teach’ us and then work a story around it the way I find a lot of popular chick lit, in particular.

Authors pick a place for romance—dairy, hospital, Par
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Power Plays: May Make for Fantastic Film (Young Manhattan Attorney from Nashville Takes on NY Business Titan Notorious for Narcissism and Bullying)

This novel was written by a novelist turned Hollywood screenwriter with, ostensibly, a big payday in mind. I have little doubt that in the right hands (a lush budget, a talented director and a name movie star(s)) this will make an award-winning film. I read somewhere that British actor Eddie Redmayne had already signed on to star as the protagonist Pa
May 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, book-clubs
I love a good historical novel that teaches me about events about which I was unaware. This one fits the bill, exploring the lawsuits between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse in the late 19th century. Anyone who enjoyed Doctorow’s Ragtime will enjoy this.

While we take it for granted, the electric light bulb was an invention of mind boggling proportion. Moore walks us through not only the history but the effect of electricity on the country and makes it interesting. Ditto for his ability to
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was intrigued by the title and know the author's work so I requested this book from Net Galley. When I won and then began reading the description more thoroughly, I wondered if I would actually enjoy this book. After the first few chapters, I worried no more! This story totally captivated me. I loved the story told by the lawyer who was and is the least known major character in this historical novel. But that is to be expected with luminaries (I am using that description a little tongue-in-che ...more
Marilyn C.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
The Last Days of Night is exactly why I enjoy reading historical fiction. I was able to learn about events I knew nothing about such as the legal battle over whether to use A/C or D/C in the late 1800’s. The book primarily focuses on Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse, but you will recognize many other names that appear throughout the story. This was a time of great invention and Graham Moore touches on everything from the first x-ray to the electric chair. It is quite apparent ...more
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
To read more of my reviews, please go to Lit. Wit. Wine & Dine.

I do not care so much for a great fortune as I do for getting ahead of the other fellows. - Thomas Edison

Until I read this book, I had an impression of what it would have been like to see the night lit for the first time. It was terribly romantic. It was surreal, ethereal, and peaceful. (Sort of like this book's beautiful cover.) There were scientists and engineers of all sorts slapping each other on the back, congratulating themselv
Jacob Appel
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This proved to be a surprisingly good book -- one that I stumbled upon inadvertently, that is well outside my usual range of interests, but nonetheless turned out to be a deeply enjoyable and thought-provoking read. Perfectly plotted with no lose ends, each character vivid and distinct and authentic, the setting richly imagined to the last detail.

The historical tale of the intrigue between Westinghouse, Edison and Tesla--as told through the eyes of attorney Paul Cravath--is summarized in many ot
I enjoyed this take on 3 giants in American history: Tesla, Westinghouse, and Edison.

Preceding each chapter was a quote from various inventors, scientists and businessmen; Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Carl Sagan among them.

"I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that don’t work.” Thomas Edison.

I listened to this on audio and it was excellent. Highly recommended to anyone wanting to learn more about the current wars via an entertaining medium.
Lisa Vegan
I read this book for my real world (currently Zoom world) book club.

This is a brilliantly told account and I found it fascinating but I did not find the book to be a page turner. I think it was more me than the book but it wasn’t that hard for me to put it down and it wasn’t that hard to not pick it up again. I enjoyed it though and I’m glad that I read it.

The map at the start of book of Manhattan in 1888 was great but I read an e-book (and audio book simultaneously) and I forgot to keep check
Dannii Elle
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I received this book on a read to review basis from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Graham Moore, and the publisher, Random House, for this opportunity.

I have never had the pleasure of previously reading anything by Graham Moore but he is an author I can already say I want to devour every published word from! His writing has a beautiful and lyrical quality to it that just took my breath away: his writing is incandescent in its delicacy and grace. He doesn't write a story to be read, he writ
1888 in New York, and newly out of Columbia Law School, lawyer Paul Cravath had his future ahead of him. He, as yet, had no clients but his new partnership in Carter, Hughes and Cravath, albeit a small percentage, meant he could make a name for himself if he did it right. His first client was George Westinghouse who wanted Paul to win over Thomas Edison – the invention of the light bulb and the patent was at the forefront – Edison was suing Westinghouse.

Naïve and fresh, Cravath had one thing in
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic historical fiction! All I knew about Thomas Edison before reading this book was his quote which is something about not failing 999 times to make the lightbulb, but learning 999 ways how NOT to make it. I often quote this to the children I teach.
I'd never heard of Westinghouse, had heard of Nikola Tesla, but could tell you nothing about him.
So I learned a lot about electricity, the difference between AC and DC currents and the Currents War in America during the last decades of the ninet
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
This was good historical fiction with fictional characters thrown in along with the real inventors and businessmen.

Paul Cravath is a young attorney who has been given what he feels is the opportunity of a lifetime, represent Westinghouse against multiple suits by Thomas Edison. I certainly learned a lot about how the light bulb was invented, how much input there was from various scientists and the real brains behind it all, Nicola Tesla.

I didn’t know much about the lawsuits or about the intense
Karen R
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that don’t work.” Thomas Edison.

This was a great piece of historical fiction that pits titans Westinghouse vs. Edison in the race to deliver an electrical system to the entire nation. Edison’s company was many times the size of Westinghouse’s, loaded with lawyers, scientists and cash so it did not appear to be a fair race. I was puzzled when Westinghouse hires a no-name inexperienced 26-year old lawyer named Paul Cravath to fight his battles.
Linda Hart
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WOW! Fantastic read! Of the many things we take for granted in the 21st-century electric power has to be at the top of the list. This captivating historical fiction set in New York City late 1800's, brings to life the personalities of Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, and the battle between them to build the electrical system that would light the United States. The story is told from the point of view of 26-year-old Paul Cravath, an inexperienced but ambitious recent law school graduate who ...more
♥ Sandi ❣
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ♥ Sandi ❣ by: member of BT
This is the birth of General Electric!
This is a book based on fact, however rearranged in time, to fit into the late 1890's. The accounts of Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, Nikola Tesla, J.P. Morgan, Alexander Graham Bell and Westinghouse's attorney Paul Cravath, were all based on the actual person. The premise of the story is to reveal the person who actually discovered the light bulb, and to track the fight that perused between these men. The lies, deceit, and experiments that took place
This is a wonderful historical novel regarding the fight to prove who had invented the electric light bulb, with the three main characters being Edison, Westinghouse and Tesla.

The book is actually narrated by Paul Cravath, a young lawyer hired by Westinghouse after Edison had filed 312 suits against him. There is a lot to like about this book, as it is a real page tuner, which I read all in one sitting. Apart from all the machinations going on between the three main characters, there is also a m
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
4 stars - It was great. I loved it.

This book was recommended to me by a friend and while I was only mildly intrigued by the synopsis, I gave it a go. Absolutely loved it. The author has an easy and smooth writing style with consistent pacing throughout the novel, and I look forward to reading his other works.

I enjoyed the quotations that he included from Gates and Jobs and appreciated the nod to a more modern technology showdown of sorts. It was especially appreciated how the author went into g
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, suspense, history
In many ways, Graham Moore's novel, THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT is a work of genius. He grasps how Nikola Tesla's thought process is a perfect illustration of Thomas Kuhn's “paradigm shift.” (Quotes from Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions appear as epigraphs to several chapters). Moore portrays how Tesla's psychological anomalies lead him to astonishing visions: unleashing the potential of alternating current, wireless transmission to be realized as the radio, and the “shadow graph” which ...more
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Fans

“If you think you can stop me,” Edison said softly, “go ahead and try. But you’ll have to do it in the dark.”

There is no way this does not make best Historical Fiction at the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016. There is no way this does not get made into a movie. This was good.

This was the time of clashing titanic personalities - of Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla; their war of patents, science, and ideology decided nothing less than the future of our nation - of the world. The book is told fro
Jay Pruitt
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"One doesn't lie down with a lion and get to act surprised if one finds oneself devoured."

This book turned out to be SO much better than I even imagined. Written by the screenwriter who wrote the award-winning movie Imitation Game, Last Days of Night reads like a fast-paced novel. However, the story is largely based on the factual intrigues surrounding the relationships of Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, J.P. Morgan, and Alexander Bell. The storyline is very engaging, and not the dry subject ma
Reading the novel, The Last Days of Night, was a real pleasure for me. Graham Moore has written vibrant historical fiction with fully fleshed out characters, while maintaining integrity to the true story of the "electricity" battle waged between inventors Edison and Westinghouse in the late 1890s. Litigation over patents had become a constant combustible state in the days of these early technological inventions. Edison sued Graham Alexander Bell repeatedly, insisting that he had advanced his tel ...more
Jessica Jeffers
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Ever finish a book and think to yourself, "This was well-done but not at all what I wanted to read"?

That's how I felt about this book, which is a novelization of the conflict between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse (and, tangentially, Nikola Tesla) in the late 19th century over who had the right to patent the electric light bulb and who therefore would get to profit from the electrification of America.

The story is framed largely through Westinghouse's lawyer, Paul Cravath, who is young an
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Graham Moore is a New York Times bestselling novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter.

His screenplay for THE IMITATION GAME won the Academy Award and WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015 and was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

His first two novels, THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT (2016) and THE SHERLOCKIAN (2010), were published in 24 countries and translated into 19 languages.


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