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The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0316182904 ISBN-10: 0316182907 Edition: First Edition

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The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light + At Day's Close: Night in Times Past + Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316182907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316182904
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In this artful blend of environmental and cultural history, Bogard manages to make a book about light pollution pure reading ­pleasure. As he travels the world looking for dark spaces that best reveal the night skies, Bogard considers our affinity for artificial light, the false sense of security it provides, and its implications. He studies the skies of Las Vegas and Paris, Walden Pond and Mantua, Italy. He walks with lighting designers, naturalists, and astronomers while pondering the best way to embrace the night. Authors such as Thoreau and Henry Beston serve as hallmarks, while the thoughtfulness with which Bogard considers such broadly diverse issues as the impact of working the night shift and the persecution of bats, quintessential creatures of the night, is inspiring. Bogard urges readers to weigh the ramifications of light pollution and our failure to address them, illustrating his arguments with photographs that prove his point (most staggeringly, a satellite shot of Europe’s light pollution). Smart, surprising, and thoroughly enjoyable. --Colleen Mondor

Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, Nonfiction: Editors' Pick, July 2013

Chosen as one of Gizmodo's Best Books of 2013

"Bogard's exploration of what electrical illumination is doing to humans--biologically, culturally, and neurologically--is fascinating from cover to cover." -- Gizmodo

"A lyrical, far-reaching book. Part elegy, part call-to-arms, The End of Night feels like an essential addition to the literature of nature." -- Boston Globe

"A moving, poetic, immersive, multifaceted, and thought-provoking study... Terrific." -- Publishers Weekly

"[Bogard] offers delightful insights from experts on the activities of nature during the night.... Bogard will leave readers in awe of darkness and in admiration of his book." -- Library Journal (starred review)

"It's impossible to read it without feeling the impulse to set out for the spaces beyond the city limits and spread out a blanket under the stars." -- Columbus Dispatch

"Absorbing... The End of Night delivers a forceful...critique of our overexposed world." -- Wall Street Journal

"Appealing.... An engaging blend of personal story, hard science and a bit of history." -- Kirkus Reviews

"An enthralling reminder of the power and pleasures of the dark." -- The Bookseller

"Introducing us to the pitch-black island of Sark, and groups such as Civil Twilight (designer of streetlights that shut off under moonlight) and Starlight Reserves (which considers freedom from light pollution a basic right), Bogard makes a solid case for hitting the national dimmer switch." -- Mother Jones

"A paean to a type of deep darkness most Americans have lost." -- Wilson Quarterly

"In this artful blend of environmental and cultural history, Bogard manages to make a book about light pollution pure reading pleasure.... The thoughtfulness with which Bogard considers such broadly diverse issues as the impact of working the night shift and the persecution of bats, quintessential creatures of the night, is inspiring.... Smart, surprising, and thoroughly enjoyable." -- Colleen Mondor, Booklist

"A hymn to vanished darkness. A literary journey. This is a rich book. As you read it, you too will want to reclaim the night and perhaps rediscover the heavens of the Enlightenment." -- Nature

"The most precious things in the modern world are probably silence, solitude, and darkness--and of these three rarities, true darkness may be the rarest of all. Many thanks to Paul Bogard for searching out the dark spots and reminding us to celebrate them!"--Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature


"Darkness is among the many things we have lost gradually, without mourning. Paul Bogard offers a brilliantly illuminating history and a badly needed reminder that we have been blind to the death of night."--Bill Streever, author of Cold


"This is an important and beautifully narrated journey into our endangered inheritance: the sleep-silvery dark of night."--David George Haskell, Professor of Biology at The University of the South, author of The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch In Nature

"Many of the words one might use to praise this book-lucid, illuminating, brilliant-are, ironically, metaphors drawn from light. Paul Bogard deploys his brilliance to seek out and celebrate the primordial darkness that surrounds our lit-up bubble. He shows how much we lose by living cooped up inside this perpetual glare, cut off from the beauty and mystery of the cosmos, lulled into thinking we are masters of the universe rather than members of the web of life. And he shows how we might reconnect to that original world."--Scott Russell Sanders, author of Earth Works and A Conservationist Manifesto

"This intriguing book about darkness, light, cities, the starry sky, night, and migrations of birds is a masterwork about the beauties and the challenges of reclaiming naturally dark nights." -- Spirituality & Practice

"It's impossible not to read this thorough and engaging survey of the subject and not be convinced [that light pollution matters]." -- Evening Standard

"A soon-to-be-classic on the treasure of darkness and the poetry of our night sky. It's a manifesto on par with the greats, and is to the issue of light pollution what Silent Spring was to the modern ecology movement!" -- AstroGuyz

"In the way of all truly interesting writing, The End of Night defies categorization--it's part environmental history, part social history, part literary history, and part travelogue... Throughout, Bogard's passion for poetry and literature shine through, as does his appreciation for "the necessity of the unknown", the wonder that real nights give us, and the mystery of darkness." -- Scope Magazine

"Forget Brian Cox -- Paul Bogard is the kind of guy I'd want to go star-gazing with." -- Telegraph (UK)

"To seek to let back in a little of the lost starlight and allow more of nature's shadow to reassert its balm seem to me both modest and wholesome aims, and Bogard's book does much to make a case for them." -- The Guardian

"Bogard is at his best when he describes how wonder can make us more empathetic: the fact that the biggest thing we will see in our life is a star light-years away ought to create a sense of humility. The End of Night ... should be read, and its ardour is impressive." -- The Scotsman

"Bogard's book reminds us of what we are losing." -- Las Vegas CityLife

"Paul Bogard's book shines in its ability to weave scientific fact with interesting anecdotes that are relatable to readers." -- Elephant Journal

"In inviting readers along to experience and fall in love with the night sky, Bogard is betting that beauty-the knowledge, appreciation, and love of it-will gradually prompt us to reclaim the darkness of night as it was meant to be. His book is a reminder that we need to take the environment and beauty entrusted to us seriously, with reverence and love." -- Patheos

More About the Author

Paul Bogard is the author of The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light, published by Little, Brown. He is editor of the anthology Let There Be Night: Testimony on Behalf of the Dark. A native Minnesotan, Paul grew up watching the stars and moon from a lake in the northern part of the state. He has lived and taught in New Mexico, Nevada, Wisconsin, and North Carolina, and is now assistant professor of English at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Find him at paul-bogard.com.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Yes, it really is that good.
Jim Quinn
I like non-fiction and Paul Bogard's book, The End of Night, makes it come alive with creativity, humor, and great intellect.
Marj Bear
In a very personal way Bogard explores the consequences of light at night and what it means to humans and the natural world.
W. S. Kardel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By starguy on July 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Paul Bogard's The End of Night is an eloquent,lyrical,heart-felt meditation on the night sky. A personal odyssey in search of "real dark," Bogard takes the reader on a journey through the stars and constellations both within our own souls and the magical dark of the sky above. The book is cleverly organized around a descending scale of darkness, from the bright glare of Las Vegas, to the near perfect dark of the desert Southwest. Bogard travels the world, interviewing various experts, from astronomers and city planners, to nurses and janitors working the night shift, trying to answer the question of what the ideal balance would be -- environmentally, physically, and spiritually -- between civilization's need for artificial light and the planet's primal, fundamental necessity for darkness. Though equal parts personal memoir, travelogue, astronomy, science, and nature, ultimately, The End of Night is a call to action disguised as great literature, full of lyricism, metaphor and beauty.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jim Quinn on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
So far, every reader review of this book gives The End of Night five stars. Yes, it really is that good. As someone who knows something about this topic, I am delighted to find an author able to reveal so much that is new to me.

Bogard is not the first important writer to recognize that contemporary culture suffers from a deepening state of "nature deficit disorder." And it is true that our humanity is diminished by the shrinking role that the natural world plays in our lives. The greatest minds in history have always found the infinite in nature. Emerson and Thoreau found it in the forests of New England. John Muir and Ansel Adams found in in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Jacques Cousteau found it beneath the surface of the sea.

But the night sky is different. It is the only natural realm that that virtually all of our ancestors experienced. It shaped our evolution in ways most of us don't recognize. Bogard does a remarkable job of conveying the depth of what we've lost now that it is almost impossible to see the sky as our ancestors saw it.

As a writer myself, I am envious of Bogard's success at blending so many themes into a single, unified book. Most people who've tackled this topic in the past have concentrated on discreet parts of the issue - the nature of light pollution, the cultural history of stargazing, the ongoing efforts to restore darkness, etc. Bogard manages to tell a story that is a remarkable hybrid of the entire subject.

I've never seen a book anything like it before. Yes, it really is that good. Is there a way to give it six stars?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Evan Bean on July 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
When it comes to researching the human relationship to light and the night sky, most books either approach the subject in a historical storytelling manner, a scientific research manner, or less often in terms of the human spiritual relationship to light and dark, day and night. What is so whole-fully engaging about this book is that it combines all of these methods. Bogard's writing summarizes the most interesting facts and history about light and the absence of light, while taking the reader on a narrative journey from the brightest places on the planet to the darkest.

I was so captivated by this book that I read it from front to back in two days, wishing the whole time that I could physically be in the places the book took my mind to. This book will make you want to travel in order to experience a truly dark night sky.

Most importantly, this book notes that the night sky is not only pleasurable due to its beauty, but it is also important way of being reminded of how vast the universe is, how special our tiny planet is, and how disconnected from these systems that support our lives we now are... to the point that it is affecting our physical, mental, and spiritual health.

While reading I felt equally happy about our human technological accomplishments in lighting as I did feel sad about the tragedy that comes with the loss of darkness. But the book ends on a positive note, discussing advances in technology which may help us to solve our problems with the overabundance of bad and unhealthy lighting in the future. Read this book, turn off your computer, turn off your lights, go outside and appreciate the night.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tognetti TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"According to the World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness, created in 2001 by Italians Pierantonio Cinzano and Fabio Falchi, two-thirds of the world's population--including 99% of the people living in the continental United States and Western Europe--no longer experience a truly dark night, a night untouched by artificial light." -- p. 25

Being a city kid I guess I never really thought about it all that much. Over the past half-century the world has become a substantially brighter place. Due to the intrusion of high intensity artificial lighting our nights are being transformed while some of the darkest places on earth are being impacted in ways that we could not possibly have anticipated. Some call it progress but a growing cadre of scientists and concerned citizens believe that the phenomenon known as "light pollution" decimates our view of the heavens above, wastes money and precious natural resources and threatens the health and well-being of people all over the world. Author Paul Bogard explores this endlessly fascinating subject in his captivating new book "The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light". Bogard takes his readers to myriad locations in the U.S. and across the globe to shed light on the subject of darkness. You will discover how urban sprawl and our irrational demands for ever-increasing levels of security are robbing most of humankind of the magnificent darkness that poets and philosophers have been writing about since the beginning of time. Clearly, the time has come to re-evaluate the way we think about darkness.
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