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A fascinating and colourful social history of the nighttime.

‘A wonderful revelation of a vanished age of darkness’ SPECTATOR

‘Fascinating’ SUNDAY TIMES

‘A splendid book … great entertainment’ Sir Patrick Moore

‘A triumph of social history. Almost every page contains something to surprise the reader … one of the most enjoyable literary experiences of the year’ MAIL ON SUNDAY

From blanket fairs to night kings, curfews to crime, At Day’s Close is an intriguing and captivating investigation into the night. Until now, this rich and complex universe in which we spend nearly half of our lives was a world long-lost to historians.

Here, Ekirch explores how the night was lived in the past, through travel accounts, memoirs, letters, folklore, poems, court records and coroner’s reports. More than this, it is a passionate argument in the case for less artificial light in an increasingly bright world.

Reviews

This enlightening book ... is one of the most fascinating and rewarding literary experiences you are likely to discover this year.
HERTS & ESSEX OBSERVER (11/5/06)
Just the sort of browsable treat guaranteed to cause insomnia.
THE SCOTSMAN (29/4/06)
Wonderful... Ekirch spares no pains to rediscover the lost world of the dark. ... A book that can't be summarised but must be experienced.
David Wootton, LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS (9/3/06)
Ekirch's absorbing history reveals an alternative universe shaped by real and imaginary perils.
SUNDAY TIMES (23/4/06)
Night-time has been curiously ignored by social historians. This fine book corrects that lack. ... Entertaining and informative, this book is also challenging.
THE TIMES (25/3/06)
A wonderful revelation of a vanished age of darkness
SPECTATOR
In his fascinating survey of the dark hours of the pre-industrial era, A Roger Ekirch takes us deep into an age when the very lack of light threw life into confusion ... an engrossing book that illuminates the darker recesses of the past
SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
A comprehensive account of nightlife...bursting with esoteric and well-sourced information about everything from candles and curfews to church bells and chamber pots
EVENING STANDARD
Wonderful... Ekirch spares no pains to rediscover the lost world of the dark ... A book that can't be summarised but must be experienced
David Wootton, LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS
Just the sort of browsable treat guaranteed to cause insomnia
THE SCOTSMAN
Night-time has been curiously ignored by social historians. This fine book corrects that lack ... Entertaining and informative
THE TIMES
Ekirch's absorbing history reveals an alternative universe shaped by real and imaginary perils
SUNDAY TIMES
This enlightening book ... is one of the most fascinating and rewarding literary experiences you are likely to discover this year
HERTS & ESSEX OBSERVER
Fascinating ... exploring what went on at night between 1500 and 1830 ... Here are microcultural tales of pirates and robbers, blanket fairs (people climbing into bed together to talk before going to sleep), curtain lectures (wives who felt emboldened by the dark to complain to their recumbent husbands) and night-kings (sewer cleaners in German)
GUARDIAN
The book is especially engaging on the social significance of the night, the moral meanings projected into the dark
FINANCIAL TIMES
Meticulously researched ... AT DAY'S CLOSE is a splendid book ... great entertainment, and to social historians it will be of immense value
Sir Patrick Moore, TIMES HIGHER EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT
A triumph of social history. Almost every page contains something to surprise the reader ... one of the most enjoyable literary experiences of the year
MAIL ON SUNDAY
An enthralling anthropology of the shadow reals of Western Europe from the late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution ... a passionate case against too much artificial light
HARPER'S MAGAZINE
There are so many good stories here which do not usually find themselves between the same covers
LITERARY REVIEW
Absorbing ... fascinating ... tells us about everything from witches to firefighting, architecture to domestic violence ... a monumental study
THE NATION