Title: The End of Night: Searching for Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light
Author: Paul Bogard
Release Date: July 9, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Non-Fiction, Science, Travel
Rating: 4 out of 5
With the increasing urbanization of the globe and the expansion of major cities, the simple beauty of the night sky is quickly disappearing. But this loss has more than just aesthetic implications; it can affect our health as well. Paul Bogard investigates this phenomenon, traveling from the darkest spots in the world to the brightest cities in order to understand the consequences of light pollution.
Paul Bogard’s The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light is part travelogue, part science, and part sociological study. Because of this cross-genre subject matter and easy, clear writing style, this is a book that will appeal to many different readers.
There are multiple different aspects to The End of Night. Bogard employs vivid descriptions in order to describe what he’s seeing, but he also delves into history, tracing the influence and importance of the night sky in our pasts. One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is when he travels around Paris at night with the man who designed the city’s lighting system. It’s one of the best, most unobstrusive in the world, and it’s so interesting to understand why exactly that is.
Bogard also addresses the increasing light from a natural point of view. He discusses the troubling effects that light pollution, and the lack of a natural dark sky, has on wildlife. His experiences at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas (the brightest city in the world) are especially visceral. But it’s not just wild animals that are affected by the loss of night; Bogard extensively discusses how human health has been affected by the lack of dark in The End of Night. It’s a thought-provoking discussion, to be sure.
Reading The End of Night is not only eye opening, but it will make you think. You’ll find yourself scrutinizing the street lamps and lighting conditions around your home and in your hometown, wondering whether things could be less obtrusive and more smartly designed. This is a book you’ll not only ponder but will want to discuss, so book clubs who include non-fiction in their choices should take note of this book, as it’s well-written, easy to read, and full of interesting tidbits.