Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light Audiobook, by Jane Brox Play Audiobook Sample

Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light Audiobook

Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light Audiobook, by Jane Brox Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Randye Kaye Publisher: Highbridge Audio Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 6.83 hours at 1.5x Speed 5.13 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: January 2019 Format: Unabridged Audiobook ISBN: 9781684416011

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

46:07 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

03:48 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

26:42 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Jane Brox: > View All...

Publisher Description

Brilliant, reminiscent of Lewis Hyde's The Gift in its reach and of Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time in its haunting evocation of human lives, offers a sweeping view of a surprisingly revealing aspect of human history—from the stone lamps of the Pleistocene to the LEDs embedded in fabrics of the future.

Brox plumbs the class implications of light—who had it, who didn't—through the many centuries when crude lamps and tallow candles constricted waking hours. She convincingly portrays the hell-bent pursuit of whale oil as the first time the human desire for light thrust us toward an environmental tipping point. Only decades later, gas street lights opened up the evening hours to leisure, which changed the ways we live and sleep and the world's ecosystems.

Edison's "tiny strip of paper that a breath would blow away" produced a light that seemed to its users all but divorced from human effort or cost. And yet, as Brox's informative and hair-raising portrait of our current grid system shows, the cost is ever with us.

Brilliant is infused with human voices, startling insights, and—only a few years before it becomes illegal to sell most incandescent light bulbs in the United States—timely questions about how our future lives will be shaped by light.

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“Invaluable and thought-provoking, Brox’s inquiry into artificial light reminds us that the too-much-of-a-good-thing paradox is inherent in all of our technological endeavors.”

— Booklist 


  • “Brox succeeds brilliantly thanks to writing that rivals her subject in sparkle, glow, and wattage.”

    — Sylvia Nasar, New York Times bestselling author
  • “Fascinating in its subject matter, charming in its storytelling and accessible style, and meticulously researched. This kind of book helps place science in a human context.”

    — Alan Lightman, New York Times bestselling author
  • “A superb history of how the availability of ever more artificial light has changed our world over the centuries…This book amply lives up to its title.”

    — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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About Jane Brox

Jane Brox is the author of Clearing Land, Five Thousand Days like This One, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Here and Nowhere Else, which received the L. L. Winship / PEN New England Award. She lives in Maine.

About Randye Kaye

Randye Kaye is a national voice talent and actress, also currently heard as part-time newscaster and classical music host on NPR affiliates WSHU-FM and AM. Prior to that, while raising her children, she was a full-time morning personality for a top-rated Connecticut radio station in addition to her voice-over, on-camera, and theater work.