The End of Night began well enough, but ultimately it failed to sustain my interest or an overall focus on light pollution. Two of my major complaints were the lack of focus and the lack of science.
Largely the author relied on personal observations (his own and a number of people he interviewed) rather than real data. Ultimately too little data and too little science resulted in me getting very bored. I can only tolerate someone waxing poetic about the night and stars so much before I want to stop reading. The author clearly is not scientifically minded or he would not have insisted on including pseudo philosophical ramblings at every turn possible while introducing poem and book quotes speaking of darkness. How does this address the issue of light pollution exactly? So someone wrote of darkness in a poem and now we have to hear about it while you lay on a rock in yet another national park? (Seriously, how many places did I have to hear about him laying on a rock in the dark?) And stop with your vain inclusions about your Minnesota lake and trip to Europe, oy, just get back to the topic at hand please?
The chapters are labeled to coincide with the Bortle scale related to darkness (9 being inner city, 1 being as dark as it comes on the continents?). But while the book begins following this route towards finding darkness, the author seems to eventually give up and the chapter numbers become meaningless. Chapter four was the absolute worst chapter of all. Suddenly we were in a self-help book nightmare. Included in this chapter were God ramblings, Bible verses mentioning darkness, the topic of death, good vs. evil and so on. WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH LIGHT POLLUTION???? Why is "god" in my book that is meant to be scientific (but fails miserably to be so)?!? *sigh* I did not sign up for a self-help book, I signed up for a book on light pollution.
Overall the author chose to use his own and others' anecdotes instead of facts. I was often asking "Facts? Where are you facts?" while reading. His ramblings and writing that jumped around made a number of parts nearly unreadable and exceedingly dull (chapter four being the worst). The author presented some "science" but it lacked depth and credibility due to the lack of facts supplied. There was a lot of "may" and "might" which added to the lack of study data made the statements seem rather false. The chapter including talk about cancer related to artificial lighting ultimately felt like fear mongering. There are far, FAR too many factors when it comes to cancer and people that are up at nights to make such a direct connection. (One study compared blind people to those exposed to artificial lighting at night I believe, never seemingly to take into account the impact seeing NO light has on the blind and ultimately skews data. One also much take into account all of the physical stresses on those who work at night, food and lack of rest being two major factors in cancer. The science that was available in this book was not solid, ultimately too many variables to say what is what.)
I did find the lighting of Paris interesting, as well as the information on Las Vegas and the Luxor. (Although again, he only vaguely speaks of ecosystem disruption due to the birds/bats/insects drawn to the light rather than giving any true detail.) I also liked that migration and a number of bird issues were included but they were rather shallow. There was much more in terms of book/poem quotes and waxing poetic about how the dark makes one feel.
Overall I grew exhausted with the author's waxing poetic about the dark and his lack of focus. I was rather surprised to find out he teaches writing, I would not have recommended that as a career choice. It does, however, explain the lack of science in the book.