This is an important book If you read even part of it, you will be introduced to another world, another way of thinking about light, If you read to the end, you will never look at lights in the same way again You may not have spent much time thinking about the quality of energy saving compact fluorescent lamps CFLs or even energy saving LEDs and how it s impossible to buy incandescent light bulbs today You may not have a reaction beyond annoyance to certain fluorescent lights or LEDs But this book reveals how in many ways our quality of life, personally and as a global community, is being seriously degraded by manufacturers taking advantage of energy saving subsidies and laws to sacrifice the old standard incandescent light bulb, the one invented by Thomas Edison, and to sell the public a vastly inferior light source.The importance of this book makes it sound a bit forbidding, perhaps I should have started by telling you this is a riveting personal story by author Anna Levin who was having trouble with headaches, disorientation and other side effects from CFLs and LEDs and was driven to find out if there were others like her there are many and to find out how and why these kinds of light had managed to take over the world.Anna s tale is passionate, lyrically and carefully written She s a good story teller as well as a master science writer who knows how to explain things to anyone simply because she started out knowing nothing and had to go step by step to figure it out She uses a novel technique to explore the physics of light in a section that made this reader who never had a physics class grasp the essentials rather easily The book is loaded with anecdotes but also probes the science.Along with natural daylight, the dawn and the natural night, Anna celebrates the incandescent lightbulb, the light that those of us of a certain age grew up with before it was banned for using too much electricity Yes, energy saving important and Levin is a conservationist, but we have to consider human health, indeed the planet s health with the growing spectre of our increasingly LED lit planet The much larger world issue is what we re doing to plants and animals by recklessly destroying the night and creating a world that is 24 7 full of bad light Witness the nesting marine turtles who no longer can find the shimmering moon on the water but instead head to well lit towns along the shore they look for a dark beach and end up depositing their eggs in the water to die because they can t find it.This is the best sort of book, taking you along on one person s journey it is not a book with a foregone conclusion plastered on the back of a campaign It s alive and moving and Anna recaptures the sense of how she herself had no idea where this was all going Yet if a book was ever ripe for a campaign, this is it The fact that it was written without any campaign in mind, but purely because the book needed to be written on a personal level makes it all the powerful.As I bend over my desk next to the window, writing this in the anticipation of the pink dawn light, I appreciate this natural, truly energy efficient light even , and thank Anna for this brilliant book about an unexpectedly certainly to me important subject. With 50years experience in professional lighting this book stands out head and shoulders above any other lighting book I have ever read It details the authors own personal journey and experiences and goes on to demonstrate how really poor legislation from the EU and later the rest of the world left consumers bereft of any choice in technology choice to meet their lighting needs The book also exposes the fallacy of poorly specified delivery and the potentially significant impacts on fauna and an increasing number of humans alike and for all it supposed benefits how the new generation lighting is responsible for increasing skyglow year on year. Incandescent by Anna Levin is everything I need in a book of this sort It has a rich and enjoyable narrative tinged with just the right amount of scientific know how And what a tale she has to tell Although I had a splattering of knowledge on the subject, this book presented well researched issues in a way that should have us all talking Let s hope the world has another light bulb moment because we certainly need it I felt at one with Anna when she talked about being on the wrong side of lefty green consensus for the first time I too have been there by criticising the damage done to the environment by wind farm development There is an ever expanding amount of greenwashing going on in the world It is a worrying trend Well done Anna, brilliant book I highly recommend it. Haven t read it yet but having scanned it it looks great I really enjoyed this book It is really interesting and quite alarming I ve been researching light and health for many years now and I still learned a lot For one, I had no idea how severe some people react to synthetic light including skin reactions The part that is really terrifying to me was to learn about the politics involved in how the incandescent light bulb became demonized and politicized I am hopeful that scientist are finally taking light pollution seriously I just hope that it is not too late. This book left me astonished at how I had missed this whole thing I wasn t even aware that tungsten light bulbs had been banned But much than that, the issue of light, what it is and how it affects us is fascinating and scary Well, done, Anna, for bringing this issue into the, er, light Light affects humans and the environment in complex ways There is a growing understanding about this in the scientific community but the information isn t getting through to the people who are racing ahead with installing LEDs and other forms of synthetic light everywhere The properties of LED light are completely different from natural light Incandescent bulbs put out light that is much closer matched to the light spectrum found in natural light LEDs were meant to reduce energy use but instead as the cost of the bulbs comes down people are installing them in and places, and light pollution overall is going up Life is now miserable for those people with higher levels of sensory processing sensitivity e.g the 25% of people who are Highly Sensitive Persons a scientifically studied trait that makes people sensitive to environmental stimuli and be able to warn others of potential threats This trait is very valuable to the human species, which is why it has persisted throughout evolution, but now some of those with it are trapped at home, less and less able to venture out into the world which induces distress from migraine inducing car headlights, security lights and lights in schools, cafes, supermarkets etc Even those who don t consciously feel stressed by this synthetic light are still being affected It affects metabolism and the immune system having so much light pollution, and light from harsh street lights trespassing into people s bedrooms, affecting the quality of sleep you may be able to sleep with harsh white LED light coming in around the edges of your curtain but your body still reacts to light and your sleep with not be the deep regenerative kind Leaving you prone to developing health issues The circadian rhythm is so important to health of both humans and other animals, and we are now seeing the collapse of the insect population and the detrimental effects of lights on migratory birds The author of this book does an excellent job of explaining all of this in a way that makes this book a real gem She weaves the personal, the political and the scientific aspects so skilfully I am going to buy some of the print copies and send them to some people in our city council and in the Ministry for the Environment. Light is changing, dramatically Our world is getting brighter you can see it from space But is brighter always better Artificial light is voracious and spreading Vanquishing precious darkness across the planet, when we are supposed to be using less energy The quality of light has altered as well Technology and legislation have crushed warm incandescent lighting in favour of harsher, often glaring alternatives Light is fundamental it really matters It interacts with life in profound yet subtle ways it tells plants which way to grow, birds where to fly and coral when to spawn It tells each and every one of us when to sleep, wake, eat We mess with the eternal rhythm of dawn day dusk night at our peril But mess with it we have, and we still dont truly understand the consequencesIn Incandescent, journalist Anna Levin reveals her own fraught relationship with changes in lighting, and she explores its real impact on nature, our built environment, health and psychological well being We need to talk about light, urgently And ask the critical question just how bright is our future