Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

Who invented the light bulb?  Thomas Edison, right?  Perhaps, but perhaps not.  This engaging work of historical fiction follows the "current wars" between Edison and his rival, George Westinghouse.  In the race to electrify America (and make lots of money in the process), Edison advocated DC current, and Westinghouse chose AC.

Edison sued Westinghouse over the light bulb.  If Edison won the suit, he would also win the current wars.  A young untested lawyer, Paul Cravath, takes on the case for Westinghouse.  Over the span of the lawsuit, many wide ranging factors come into play -- among them corporate espionage, JP Morgan, a financial crisis, an opera singer, capital punishment, and Nikola Tesla.

And that untested lawyer went on to create the structure of the modern day law firm!  There was much more to the current wars story than I realized.  Moore also includes notes in the back to explain where he deviated from actual history, which I appreciated.

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