Check It Out: The Last Days of Night

Jun 29, 2017

Today, I’m recommending The Last Days of Night by New York Times bestselling author and Oscar-winning screenwriter Graham Moore. Named one of the best books of the year for 2016 by both The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Last Days of Night is a thrilling novel based on actual events that took place more than a century ago.

   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.  

When electric light innovator Thomas Edison sues his only remaining rival for patent infringement, George Westinghouse hires untested Columbia Law School graduate Paul Ravath for a case fraught with lies, betrayals and deception.

The case affords Paul entry into the intoxicating world of high society—the glittering parties and the sneaky dealings done behind closed doors. The task he faces is beyond daunting. Edison is a crafty, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, the newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J.P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown shares with his famous adversary a need to win at all costs. How will he do it?  

In an obsessive pursuit of victory, young Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric yet brilliant inventor and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As he takes greater and greater risks, Paul finds that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.

         Putting his own spin on the real-life rivalry between Westinghouse and Edison, author Graham Moore has crafted a novel that expertly explores the true nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and dives headfirst into the historic battle to electrify America.

         But what really sets The Last Days of Night apart from other works of historical fiction is how it is able to tap into such an exciting period of history, when magical thinking was giving way to the possibilities of technological innovation.  

Check out The Last Days of Night and other great works of historical fiction like it at the Sioux City Public Library.

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers