Monday, June 3, 2019


Today’s book, The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore published in 2016, is a most remarkable work of historical fiction.  If my daughter had not called it to my attention, I would have missed it. The story takes place in New York in 1888 when indoor lighting was limited to gas lamps and candles.  This legal contest between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse aided by a Nikola Tesla arose to answer a billion-dollar question. Which one of them was the first to invent the electric light bulb and hold the right to light the United States? The case also determines whether the electricity used for lighting and other industrial purposes should be direct or alternating current.

Paul Cravath, just out of Columbia Law School, is selected to represent George Westinghouse. This is Cravath’s first case. He attends sparkling parties where he meets the upper crust of New York society and a star of the Metropolitan Opera.  His task is incredibly difficult as he encounters insidious political machinations done behind closed doors.  In his relentless representation for Westinghouse, Cravath’s legal naiveté is shattered time and again as he jousts with the powers of Edison, City Hall, and Wall Street.

This book is definitely a page-turner the reader will find hard to put down.

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