"Remarkable….Ekirch has emptied night's pockets, and laid the contents out before us."—Arthur Krystal, The New Yorker
It's been thus for so many generations that we take it for granted: Night is when we go out, when we entertain, when we read, when -- of course -- we sleep. Yet in the long span of human history this is a relatively recent development. Not until "the period from 1730 to 1830," Ekirch argues in this interesting, original book, did the Western world undergo "such a sustained assault upon the nocturnal realm," and not until the 20th century and its near-universal use of artificial light did nighttime become what we know now. So At Day's Close is uncommonly welcome, for it covers ground that just about all others have ignored.