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The Last Days of Night: A Novel von Graham…
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The Last Days of Night: A Novel (Original 2016; 2017. Auflage)

von Graham Moore (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
1,0097115,996 (4.09)33
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.
Mitglied:PiperS7500
Titel:The Last Days of Night: A Novel
Autoren:Graham Moore (Autor)
Info:Random House Trade Paperbacks (2017), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
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Die letzten Tage der Nacht von Graham Moore (2016)

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This book was very interesting and hard to put down. It tells of the 'current war', the battle between a/c and d/c electricity, therefore the battle between Westinghouse and Edison. As an added bonus you get Tesla in the mix. I knew very little about the development of electrical power other than that Edison invented the lightbulb. This book was a real eye opener to the actual events. Highly recommend. ( )
  Nefersw | Jan 14, 2022 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
Graham Moore's recent novel, "The Last Days of Night" is a fictionalized depection of the competing systems to electrify American cities in the late 1800's. The two competing systems were the direct current (DC) system invented by Thomal Edison, and the alternating current (AC) system developed by George Westinghouse (along with Serbian inventor Nicola Tesla). The main characters in the book are real, as are the basic elements of the story.

Any attempt to tell this story in dry, scientific and engineering terms would probably only be of interest to a limited audience, but Graham Moore adapted the basic story for this novel by adding dialog for the major characters. It probably didn't hurt that Moore also included the love story of Westinghouse's lawyer Paul Cravath with popular socialite singer Agnes Huntinghon, making the book a more interesting story for most readers.

Except for some liberties taken by compressing the timeframe of the events, I was surprised by how much of the novel remained true to history. It is true that during the developing stages of electrical power distribution systems, whichever inventor's system could be demonstrated to be the best would earn huge profits. Graham Moore captures the Edison - Westinghouse competition in their "battle of the currents", telling the story through the eyes of Paul Cravath. Cravath was a young lawyer hired by George Westinghouse to defend a lawsuit against him from Mr. Edison for infringing on the Edison electric lightbulb patent. Moore tells the story about what their competition may have been like, and of the personal animosity between them.

Note: Since the book also includes the story of the first use of electricity as a form of capital punishment, i.e., the invention of the electric chair, readers interested in that macabre side of the story might also be interested in Michael Daly's book "Topsy". While mostly about Barnum & Bailey's circus and the treatment of circus elephants, that book does get into the experimentation with electricity's deadly effects on animals, including experiments on dogs and elephants, done with an objective of developing an operational electric chair.

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  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Paul Cravath, a young white-shoe lawyer, improbably turns street fighter in the AC/DC wars of the Gilded Age. History supplies many mysterious turns, and Moore deftly crafts a few more in binding Westinghouse, Edison and Tesla as a trinity of fin de siècle science, and Cravath as an inventor in his own right. Fast-paced and fun.
  rynk | Jul 11, 2021 |
After a memorable opening scene followed by a somewhat sluggish set-up period, Graham Moore’s ‘The Last Days of Night’ builds to an intriguing inner-workings story of a clash between two turn-of-the-century American titans.

This fictionalized retelling of the feud between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison, which also entangled the enigmatic Nikola Tesla ends up being a moving and exciting story, even though its bedrock has to do with lawsuits and patents for the electrical systems and devices that would light up 20th century America. From this rather unpromising raw material, Moore has managed to extract a tale of industrial espionage, arson, dirty dealings, collusion, and monumental egos, most of which is played out from the viewpoint of yet another historical personage, attorney Paul Cravath, who represented Westinghouse and who also managed to develop the template on which most large law practices are now built (while simultaneously courting a notorious opera singer).

If that sounds like a lot to cram into one novel, it is. But Moore has selectively moved a few events around to smooth things out, makes some reasonable assumptions about his characters’ inner lives, and sculpts a fascinating story. (For the historical purist, an author’s end-note specifies the liberties taken with the timeline and who-probably-knew-what-when details.)

Readers seeking a comprehensive biographies of Westinghouse, Edison, or Tesla will have to look elsewhere (though Tesla gets the most ink when it comes to the details of his creative life), and Edison, particularly, gets some of the gloss knocked off his legend. Moore has also, without belaboring the fact, led many chapters with quotes from men whose lives wrought equally massive changes in our lives a hundred years later – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. If there are specific parallels to be drawn, it’s up to the reader to draw them. ( )
  LyndaInOregon | Jun 29, 2021 |
The author of The Sherlockian (2010) presents another twisty historical novel set at the end of the gaslight era. This time the story takes place in a New York City perched on the very precipice of electricity. The book's central focus is on American ingenuity as the basis for commercial success and the so-called war of currents waged between ThomasEdison, George Westinghouse, and NikolaTesla over the creation of the lightbulb. Paul Cravath, the brilliant but inexperienced lawyer hired by Westinghouse to countersue the pugnacious Edison for copyright infringement, unscrupulous behavior, and even violence, provides a first-person perspective. Legal battles and the rancor between scientists drive the pace, while a curious romance unmasks yet another underhanded charade. Woven into this complex drama is a philosophical question about invention: Who is the inventor: the one with the idea, the one who makes a working model, or the one to obtain the patent? Who really did invent the lightbulb?
hinzugefügt von kthomp25 | bearbeitenBooklist (Apr 20, 2018)
 
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I have not failed. I've just found ten thousand ways that don't work. —Thomas Edison
People don't know what they want until you show it to them. —Steve Jobs
Don't you understand that Steve doesn't know anything about technology? He's just a super salesman.... He doesn't know anything about engineering, and 99 percent of what he says and thinks is wrong. —Bill Gates
No rational argument will have a rational effect on a man who does not want to adopt a rational attitude. —Karl Popper
Whoever lives for the sake of combating an enemy has an interest in the enemy's staying alive. —Friedrich Nietzsche
Widmung
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FOR MY GRANDFATHER, DR. CHARLIE STEINER,
who first taught me to revere science on a trip to
Bell Laboratories when I was nine years old. He set an
example of intelligence, kindness, and decency to which I aspire every day.
Erste Worte
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On the day that he would first meet Thomas Edison, Paul watched a man burn alive in the sky above Broadway.
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The Western Union man was attempting to untangle the two sets of wires. He looked like a child flummoxed by enormous shoelaces.
Paul felt not only that the lights were new, but that he was. A spark of the filament, and he had been revealed as something he never thought he might be.
None of these early iterations were fit for the home—no wife in America would sanction the installation of a lamp that was confusing to use, expensive to repair, and more likely than not to set the drapes on fire.
That spring, the light-bulb lawsuits descended like locusts upon the land.
"It's one thing to design something, kid. Thomas Edison designs all manner of junk. It's another thing entirely to design something that can be practically built. A thing that will work. That is what a real inventor does. He designs manufacturable devices."
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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.

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