- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 1 minute
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: August 16, 2016
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01JSJ6QJW
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Last Days of Night: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is an easy read. The author sticks to a bread-and-butter style, with few adjectives or adverbs, that might even be called pedestrian. He does have an irritating habit of closing chapters with portentous remarks about what the next chapter will bring, in a clumsy effort to create suspense. The efforts to create psychological depth in the main character, Paul Cravath, also seemed a little pedestrian.
Overall, it was an enjoyable entertainment, decent historical fiction, not at all taxing of one's mental energy.
The plot revolves around three main historical characters: Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla. The inventor, the businessman, and the genius. All three men were primary warriors in what became known as the “current war”, i.e. the battle over whether or not A/C or D/C would win out in the end. In the middle of this tripod of giant historical figures is a young 26 year old recently graduated attorney named Paul Cravath, a name not familiar to me when I began reading this book but who I learned became one of the giants of the legal profession, largely due to his involvement in the “current war” and it successful resolution (depending on one’s point of view).
This is a pretty fast-paced novel with short chapters and a swift narrative style. The facts are well-researched and the author provides a welcome section at the end wherein he separates facts from fiction. There is also a nice little romance sub plot. But where the novel really shines is in how it is capable of transcending the simple facts of the events during the late 1800’s when electricity was harnessed and helps us to understand the nature and value of the inventive process. A relatively brief 15 years in our history saw not only many new discoveries related to electricity, but also the birth of new ideas on how we would go about “inventing” in the future. The notion of an eccentric lone inventor working in his personal lab quickly morphs into the business of inventing. Really, it’s the beginnings of how technology is advanced today.
This was what made me interested to read this book. But in addition, thanks to having Paul Cravath as the protagonist character, I also got to witness the concurrent development of the legal profession, seeing it change quickly from a cottage industry into a legal “factory” with Cravath’s introduction of the idea of associate attorneys and building an entire legal firm. Pretty cool.
I’ve read this author’s previous novel, “The Sherlockian” and enjoyed it a lot and I’ve also seen the “The Imitation Game” movie for which he was the screenwriter. Clearly, much like the characters he writes about, Graham Moore is a name to watch in the future.
And what a story it is! Many giants of the American Industrial Revolution knocked heads and pocketbooks in the development and diffusion of electricity - and the most significant device that electricity made possible: the light bulb.
Edison, Westinghouse, J. P. Morgan, Nicola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell and young attorney named Paul Cravath all played a role in this fascinating story.
Take a break from binge-watching TV or internet content. Instead, pick a weekend and read the whole book between Friday night and Monday morning. You'll feel wonderful having been so thoroughly engaged and entertained.
The legal fight is not the basis of the book, it's the people involved and their motives. Is Edison a saint or a ruthless devil? Is George Westinghouse a crass capitalistic monster? Is DC current better than AC? At this time, it's an open question - the answer to which depends on which party is paying you.
The 'Current Battle' as it was known then took place amongst a jungle of lawsuits, allegations of patent violations, and various financial
warriors (JP Morgan,) et al that were hell-bent to advance Edison's cause and to destroy anyone and everything that opposed the Edison/Morgan interests.
Extra credit question for prospective readers: "How and why was the 'electric chair' developed?" "Why was the 'chair' abandoned by the same forces that developed it?" And just who advanced the use of A/C current in the dreaded 'electric chair'?
the book, and enjoy an excellent read; bar none, call in the dogs the hunt is over, ya'll.