NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A world of invention and skulduggery, populated by the likes of Edison, Westinghouse, and Tesla.”—Erik Larson
“A model of superior historical fiction . . . an exciting, sometimes astonishing story.”—The Washington Post
From Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian, comes a thrilling novel—based on actual events—about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America.
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. A young untested lawyer named Paul Cravath, fresh out of Columbia Law School, takes a case that seems impossible to win. Paul’s client, George Westinghouse, has been sued by Thomas Edison over a billion-dollar question: Who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country?
The case affords Paul entry to the heady world of high society—the glittering parties in Gramercy Park mansions, and the more insidious dealings done behind closed doors. The task facing him is beyond daunting. Edison is a wily, dangerous opponent with vast resources at his disposal—private spies, newspapers in his pocket, and the backing of J. P. Morgan himself. Yet this unknown lawyer shares with his famous adversary a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it?
In obsessive pursuit of victory, Paul crosses paths with Nikola Tesla, an eccentric, brilliant inventor who may hold the key to defeating Edison, and with Agnes Huntington, a beautiful opera singer who proves to be a flawless performer on stage and off. As Paul takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
“A satisfying romp . . . Takes place against a backdrop rich with period detail . . . Works wonderfully as an entertainment . . . As it charges forward, the novel leaves no dot unconnected.”—Noah Hawley, The New York Times Book Review
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
It’s not easy to spin a gripping tale from a patent infringement lawsuit. But author Graham Moore won a best adapted screenplay Oscar for The Imitation Game thanks to his talent for making history riveting and relevant. The Last Days of Night dramatizes the rivalry between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over who invented the lightbulb. The novel’s told from the point of view of the lawyer caught between these two titans of invention. Moore captures the legal and personal intrigue, while also quietly instructing in AC/DC currents and the brutal methods of Gilded Age corporate raiders.
Moore (The Sherlockian), again turning to historical events for the basis of a thrilling plot, tackles the "war of the currents," which pitted Thomas Edison against George Westinghouse in a turn-of-the-century New York legal battle. Fresh out of Columbia Law School, Paul Cravath is trained in research and dealing with concrete facts; he is not used to being at the center of a billion-dollar lawsuit, but that is exactly where he finds himself after agreeing to work with George Westinghouse. The two inventors become locked in a back-and-forth legal dispute after Thomas Edison claims he invented the light bulb and sues Westinghouse, who then issues a countersuit against Edison for violating Westinghouse's own patent. At the heart of the matter is determining who invented the light bulb and whether or not the patent covers all forms of the bulb. Paul hopes to win the case by enlisting the help of Nikola Tesla, but that proves to be a much more unruly prospect than he initially expected, as the eccentric man agrees to help but brings with him new challenges. Amid the bickering of the iconic characters, Paul ends up emerging as the emotional center, trying to hold strands of the case together and stay true to his own moral standards. While the plot starts off slowly, the tempo picks up as events within the court begin to unfold. Moore's extensive research is apparent, and readers are likely to walk away from the book feeling as informed as they are entertained.
Fascinating chronicle of amazing inventions
I was amazed that patent law could be so fascinating!
Work of Fiction
This book is loosely based on a true story and reads like a formulaic Hollywood screenplay. The characters are all real, but the timeline is compressed, the dialogues made up (and terrible), and sometimes entire events are imagined. Normally, after seeing a movie based on a book, you would say, "the book is better," but this book is so painfully contrived and obviously designed for the movies that you can see entire chapters play out on the screen. And I mean that in as an insult. The author goes well beyond dramatizing historical events to overtly making up scenes and meetings that never occurred. I'd rather read what actually happened and then let screen writers dramatize the events. This is a terrible book and I would in no way recommend it.
Great, gripping read! Great story about the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to wire America and the young lawyer Paul Cravath’s role in this epic struggle. This novel has everything and it is indeed a page turner. It’s historical fiction so don’t think it’s a Wikipedia account of what happened. The story is rooted in fact with some fanciful license taken by the author; but all in all the book is great fun and highly recommended.