The Last Days of Night Book Summary - The Last Days of Night Book explained in key points

The Last Days of Night summary

Graham Moore

Brief summary

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore is a gripping historical fiction novel that unravels the electrifying battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse during the early days of the electric industry, showcasing the triumphs and tribulations of these brilliant minds.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    The Last Days of Night
    Summary of key ideas

    Betting on the Future

    In The Last Days of Night, Graham Moore invites us into the electrifying world of late 19th century America. We begin with the young lawyer, Paul Cravath, who faces the seemingly impossible task of defending George Westinghouse in a billion-dollar lawsuit over who invented the lightbulb. We find ourselves immersed in Paul’s daunting struggle against Thomas Edison, a formidable adversary in the courtroom and a pioneer of electrical lighting.

    As we delve deeper into the narrative, we witness Paul’s masterful maneuvering among an array of fascinating characters, from his client, George Westinghouse, to the elusive and brilliant Nikola Tesla, and the eloquent high-society belle Agnes Huntington, who becomes Paul’s love interest and confidante. These relationships underscore the complexities and intrigue typical of the era and its transformative scientific discoveries.

    The Race of Brilliant Minds

    The plot intensifies in the middle of the book, where Moore skillfully paints a picture of the intellectual race that shook America and the world. The book allows us an intriguing glimpse into the lives of these famous inventors and the unrealized cooperation potential between them. The infamous rivalry between Edison and Westinghouse serves as the backdrop to Paul's growing understanding of the implications of alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC).

    Critical to Moore's portrayal of this tale is the understated genius, Tesla. His brilliant mind and peculiar ways add a layer of complexity to Paul's hard-won alliance with Westinghouse. These alliances and competitions illuminate how these titans of industry planted the seeds of America’s technological renaissance.

    Shadows of Deception

    The story reaches its climax as Paul uncovers a conspiracy that could tamper with the result of the trial. Behind the scenes, corrupt deals and power plays abound. The patent war swells into a national scandal, with each side using every manoeuvre in their legal arsenal to claim the invention and potential glory of electric light. Paul's real challenge is discerning who he can trust among the influential figures he encounters.

    With Agnes's help, Paul unveils many secrets—some that endanger their lives. Despite the escalating stakes, Paul continues his relentless quest for truth, making surprising discoveries about Agnes, Tesla, and one mind-boggling invention that could change everything.

    Raw Ambition and Grit

    In the end, The Last Days of Night is as much a story about ambition and grit as it is about the cutthroat dynamics among great inventors. Edison’s dogged determination, Westinghouse’s pragmatism, Tesla’s enigmatic genius, and Paul’s unyielding pursuit for justice collide to shape history.

    To conclude, this historical drama brilliantly weaves together fact and fiction to recreate the tumultuous world within which the electric era was born—a tale that reminds us just how the world we take for granted came about, and the pointed reminder that progress is often the result not of straightforward collaboration, but of fierce competition, messy battles, and a healthy dose of chaos.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Last Days of Night about?

    The Last Days of Night is a historical fiction novel that takes place in the late 19th century and follows the intense rivalry between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse in the race to electrify America. The story is told through the eyes of a young lawyer, Paul Cravath, who is tasked with defending Westinghouse in a high-stakes legal battle. Filled with intrigue, courtroom drama, and scientific innovation, the novel offers a captivating glimpse into a pivotal moment in history.

    The Last Days of Night Review

    The Last Days of Night (2016) delves into the captivating story of the legal battle between inventor Thomas Edison and entrepreneur George Westinghouse over the invention of the light bulb. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its meticulous research and attention to detail, it offers a fascinating insight into a little-known piece of history.
    • Through its vivid portrayal of the central characters' clashing ambitions and strategic maneuvers, it brings this true story to life.
    • The book combines history, science, and legal drama, making it a thrilling and informative read for anyone interested in the intersection of innovation and law.

    Who should read The Last Days of Night?

    • Readers who enjoy historical fiction with a touch of suspense
    • People interested in the invention of the light bulb and the ensuing legal battles
    • Anyone curious about the lives of famous inventors and the challenges they faced

    About the Author

    Graham Moore is an American author and screenwriter. He is best known for his novel "The Last Days of Night," which tells the story of the legal battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the invention of the light bulb. Moore's captivating storytelling and meticulous research bring to life the dramatic events of the late 19th century. In addition to his literary work, Moore has also written screenplays, including the critically acclaimed film "The Imitation Game."

    Categories with The Last Days of Night

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Last Days of Night FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Last Days of Night?

    The main message of The Last Days of Night is the pursuit of justice and innovation in the legal battle for control of electricity.

    How long does it take to read The Last Days of Night?

    The reading time for The Last Days of Night varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Last Days of Night a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Last Days of Night is a captivating book that offers a fascinating historical account of the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of The Last Days of Night?

    The author of The Last Days of Night is Graham Moore.

    What to read after The Last Days of Night?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Last Days of Night, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
    • The Art Of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau
    • A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink
    • Theory U by C. Otto Scharmer
    • The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman
    • The Innovator ’s Dilemma# by Clayton M. Christensen
    • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
    • Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull with Amy Wallace
    • Things a Little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone
    • Think Like a Freak by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner