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Book Clubbing

Introduction

The Last Days of Night
by Graham Moore

Title

Movie

In Development --

Director: Morten Tyldum

Starring: Eddie Redmayne

Author

Graham Moore

Author Interviews

About the Book

A thrilling novel based on actual facts about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America. It’s New York City in 1888 and 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. Will it be inventor Thomas Edison or George Westinghouse as a tense legal battle ensues over who invented the light bulb and holds the right to power the country? A young, inexperienced, yet ambitious lawyer named Paul Cravath, recently graduated from Columbia Law School, takes the impossible case.  He must defend Westinghouse who is being sued by the cunning and crafty Edison over the billion dollar question: who invented the light bulb?   How Cravath tackles this challenging, yet infamous case, which exposes him to high society and gives him national attention, makes for a fascinating and intriguing historical novel.

About the Author

Graham Moore is a New York Times bestselling novelist and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. His screenplay for “The Imitation Game” won the Academy Award and WGA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2015 and was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.

His novels, The Last Days of Night (2016) and The Sherlockian (2010), were published in 24 countries and translated into 19 languages. The Last Days of Night was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer. He adapted the screenplay for the The Last Days of Night, which is soon to be a major motion picture starring Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne. 

Graham Moore received a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious history from Columbia University in 2003.  He stayed in New York City after graduation and played in a number of rock bands and worked as a sound engineer while pursuing his writing career. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Discussion Questions

  1. Talk about the role of the lightbulb in changing the face of civilization. Can you imagine life without it?
  2. What do you think about the two great giants of American science and manufacturing: Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse? Are you surprised at the manner in which Graham Moore portrays Edison, an American icon? How do the two men differ?
  3. Can you explain the legal suit that Edison initiated against Westinghouse? In what way did Westinghouse’s lightbulb differ from Edison’s?
  4. Does Graham Moore do a credible job in breaking down the science of electricity, especially the differences between AC and DC current?
  5. How did Nikola Tesla revolutionize AC current? Do you think it possible in real life that Edison might have made an attempt on Tesla’s life?  Or did Graham Moore add that plot point to build fictional suspense?
  6. How was Nikola Tesla different from the two rivals at the heart of the story? In what way was his “genius” different from that of Edison or Westinghouse? What drove Tesla, as opposed to the other two men?
  7. Why does Agnes Huntington take such a keen interest in helping Nikola Tesla recover?
  8. Talk about the role of J.P. Morgan and his insistence that the two men settle their differences. Was his “coup” of Edison’s General Electric fair?
  9. In the end, is it possible to actually say who invented the lightbulb? What role did each of the three men – Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse – play in its development?
  10.  Is Paul Cravath, the young lawyer, a hero in the end or simply a pawn in this intense legal battle? 

Reviews and Interviews