The Last Days of Night

The Last Days of Night

A Novel

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * A thrilling novel based on actual events, about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America--from the Oscar-winning screenwriter of The Imitation Game and author of The Sherlockian


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.

Praise for The Last Days of Night

"A fascinating portrait of American inventors . . . Moore crafts a compelling narrative out of [Paul] Cravath's cunning legal maneuvers and [Nikola] Tesla's world-changing tinkering, while a story line on opera singer Agnes Huntington has the mysterious glamour of  The Great Gatsby . . . . Moore weaves a complex web. . . .  He conjures Gilded Age New York City so vividly, it feels like only yesterday." -- Entertainment Weekly

"A model of superior historical fiction . . . Graham Moore digs deep into long-forgotten facts to give us an exciting, sometimes astonishing story of two geniuses locked in a brutal battle to change the world. . . . [A] brilliant journey into the past." -- The Washington Post

"Mesmerizing, clever, and absolutely crackling, The Last Days of Night is a triumph of imagination. Graham Moore has chosen Gilded Age New York as his playground, with outsized characters--Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse--as his players. The result is a beautifully researched, endlessly entertaining novel that will leave you buzzing." --Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
"In The Last Days of Night , Graham Moore takes us back to the dawn of light--electric light--into a world of invention and skulduggery, populated by the likes of Edison, Westinghouse, Tesla, and the novel's hero, a young lawyer named Paul Cravath (a name that will resonate with ambitious law students everywhere). It's part legal thriller, part tour of a magical time--the age of wonder--and once you've finished it, you'll find it hard to return to the world of now." --Erik Larson, author of The Devil in the White City
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2016
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780812988901
Branch Call Number: MOOR
Characteristics: 368 pages : map ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 25, 2018

In this historical fiction I not only learned a ton about Edison, Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla, but couldn’t put the book down through all their legal battles and back-stabbings. It’s told through the voice of Paul Cravath, Westinghouse’s young lawyer, whose method of law office organization is still the model for lawyers today. It spills the beans on the greed, deceit, genius and egocentricity when inventors were changing the world in the late 1800s. And, for good measure, reveals the real-life love story between Cravath and opera singer Agnes Huntington. Well researched and thoroughly absorbing.

Oct 06, 2018

Interesting details between Edison and Westinghouse's battle over the light bulb, and the development of electricity for the masses. Even Tesla is involved. Great research done for the bad guys, just very differences of opinions. Thought provoking while delivering a great story flow. So glad I read it.

Sep 04, 2018

THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT is precisely why I’m a fan of historical fiction. It entertains while it informs and is rich with period detail and fascinating, real, larger-than-life personalities. THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT shines a light on the age of invention and the dawn of electricity. Impeccably researched, author Graham Moore’s novel is nothing short of brilliant.

May 07, 2018

Almost reads as a self help book for those who are inclined the be inventive, or someone who wants to become very sucessful but has doubts about what it takes to become what their dreams are. Great story, enjoyable read . Setting the tone for Nicola Tesla who is the middle of a fight, but today will are still seeing a fight between two companies name Nicola and another named Tesla. Each chapter starts off with a comment that people like Steve Jobs, Edison, Fuller and others have espoused what it takes to make your dream come true even after so many failures.

Apr 28, 2018

I liked reading this book. It is historical fiction, but at the end in "Notes from the Author" he goes into his research and comments on how much of the story is based on actual facts, placing the timing to suit his story. It was filled with tension at times. Very enjoyable.

LPL_TriciaK Apr 27, 2018

Do you feel left behind by all of the STEM and STEAM talk? Well, here's a book for you! In this fast-paced, short-chapter thriller, you'll get a good dose of science and technology - with a little romance & mystery thrown in. It's about the real-life battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over how the U.S. would be electrified. Would the winner be DC current (Edison) or AC current (Westinghouse)? Read about the dirty tricks, devastating betrayals, and industrial spies while you bone up on the fundamentals of electricity. Bonus: you get to know why Tesla is so important in the history of science and technology (so influential that he has a car named after him!) Put an end to your insecurity about science - read this book.

Feb 15, 2018

Historical fiction thriller with a bit of romance based on facts. Enjoyed the flow and writing of this engaging tale formed around actual events. I felt engaged and pulled in to the story and learned a little more of our history along the way.

Jan 10, 2018

A fascinating tale about how big business works, made even more so because it was grounded in reality. Entertaining and informative.

ehbooklover Oct 07, 2017

Part historical fiction, part legal thriller with a hint of romance. This is a fictionalized account of the War of Currents that occurred between powerhouses Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. I loved the short chapters, the well-developed characters, and I learned a lot about a subject that I knew almost nothing about. Bonus: The author's notes at the end that explain what was fact and where he took some liberties.

Oct 01, 2017

An engaging, well-written story. After reading it, I enjoyed Moore's comments at the end about how he worked with the actual history to create the story he told so well.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Sep 04, 2018

“Thomas Edison was not, Paul thought, the first man to become rich by inventing something clever. Rather, he was the first man to build a factory for harnessing cleverness…. His genius was not in inventing; rather, it was in inventing a system of invention.” - p. 172

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SCL

To Top