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**This "superb history" of artificial light traces the evolution of society"**invariably fascinating and often original[it] amply lives up to its title" (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

In Brilliant, Jane Brox explores humankind's ever-changing relationship to artificial light, from the stone lamps of the Pleistocene to the LEDs embedded in fabrics of the future. More than a survey of technological development, this sweeping history reveals how artificial light changed our world, and how those social and cultural changes in turn led to the pursuit of more ways of spreading, maintaining, and controlling light.

Brox plumbs the class implications of lightwho had it, who didn'tthrough the centuries when crude lamps and tallow candles constricted waking hours. She identifies the pursuit of whale oil as the first time the need 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 bulbs produced a light that seemed to its users all but divorced from human effort or cost. And yet, as Brox's informative portrait of our current grid system shows, the cost is ever with us. Brilliant is infused with human voices, startling insights, and timely questions about how our future lives will be shaped by light

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