Man of Iron
The enthralling Sunday Times-bestselling biography of the shepherd boy who changed the world with his revolutionary engineering and whose genius we still benefit from today
Thomas Telford’s name is familiar; his story less so. Born in 1757 in the Scottish Borders, his father died in his infancy, plunging the family into poverty. Telford’s life soared to span almost eight decades of gloriously obsessive, prodigiously productive energy. Few people have done more to shape our nation.
A stonemason turned architect turned engineer, Telford invented the modern road, built churches, harbours, canals, docks, the famously vertiginous Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Wales and the dramatic Menai Bridge. His constructions were the greatest in Europe for a thousand years, and – astonishingly – almost everything he ever built remains in use today.
Intimate, expansive and drawing on contemporary accounts, Man of Iron is the first full modern biography of Telford. It is a book of roads and landscapes, waterways and bridges, but above all, of how one man transformed himself into the greatest engineer Britain has ever produced.
A biography of great verve ... brings back to vivid life a man who should never have been forgotten -- Andrew Marr 'Glover has done detailed research and any other author will struggle to improve on his life of Telford ... Man of Iron is a competent, interesting book about an engineer whose star ... deserves to shine a little brighter' -- Simon Heffer * Daily Telegraph * 'An evocative biography of Britain's greatest civil engineer ... An evocative telling of an interesting life, an account that has lots to admire ... Glover catches the thrill of Telford's engineering quite beautifully' * Guardian * 'A strikingly clear portrait of the man who helped shape Britain. ... A beautifully-written biography, reading almost as a work of classic literature' * Engineering & Technology * 'Vivid, enthusiastic ... Glover makes an enormously readable and persuasive case for Telford's importance in our national story' -- Dominic Sandbrook * Sunday Times * 'Astonishing and inspiring ... Mixing effortless prose with genuine insight has produced an immersive biography that proves hard to put down ... The story of Thomas Telford is the story of modern Britain, and never has it been so well told' * BBC Countryfile * 'Glover has sailed across Telford's aqueducts, walked his towpaths and tracked down his most obscure Scottish bridges [and his] dedication ... has paid off' -- Harry Mount * Spectator * 'Absorbing ... [Glover's] clear, concise style gives the plain-speaking Telford ... a fitting literary treatment' * Observer * 'Glover has ... been digging in the archives with Telfordian energy to produce a readable book about an overlooked man' -- Damian Whitworth * The Times * 'This is a fine biography of a man of outstanding genius' * Who Do You Think You Are? * An engaging new biography which celebrates the achievements of the Borders boy who invented the modern road * Sunday Post * [Glover] has avoided hagiography in this engaging, evocative and very readable tale * Financial Times * He paints a vivid picture of a man who was at once massively gifted, restless, ambitious, arrogant and utterly relentless in pursuit of his projects ... A superb biography. Lengthy but rewarding, it sets Telford in the clash, clamour, stink and roar of Britain in the Georgian era * Herald * Julian Glover applies his skills as a journalist to write a very readable biography charting the history of Telford's work * History Today * Glover digs in the archives with Telfordian energy to produce a readable book about the overlooked man * The Times * Thomas Telford, the great builder of bridges, canals aqueducts, churches and roads, is less famous than say, Christopher Wren or Isambard Kingdom Brunel. After you read this engrossing biography, you will wonder why -- William Leith * Evening Standard *
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