The Last Days of Night- Graham Moore

The Last Days

I found this to be a very entertaining read, which helped give me a real feel for the period when the electricity cables started to connect the cities and then towns of North America. Moore did a great job of invoking a sense of place and time. I felt the magic of those times, so appropriately generated, by profound technological progress. The alchemy of turning night to day was of an order of wonder only matched in my lifetime by the Apollo missions to the Moon.

My difficulty with this reading is small and to many will seem pedantic. That being my strong preference that writers of historical fiction never play fast and loose with the known timelines of events. Facts and the time on which they act should be sacrosanct in the reporting of history. The writer should only weave his fiction, his story, on the solid framework of all commonly accepted truth. He may of course dispute details if there is a case to be argued, such that perhaps in one infamous earlier history ‘the princes weren’t suffocated in the Tower of London’ and Richard III didn’t have the extreme deformity reported by Shakespeare. However, to condense and distort events is to rip deep slashes into the fabric of the past.

This book, despite telling the story so well can finally stand only as an entertainment; a first class one, an informative one, but mere entertainment nevertheless.

Crude measure of a book should be awarded simply on the qualities of the writing, and so giving less than five stars where such banality is demanded would be disingenuous indeed.

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