Monday, February 15, 2016

Brunel, The Man Who Built The World

Brunel, The Man Who Built The World: A Penny Dreadful Review

            As I traveled by train the other day, I perused the biography of a man known for his bridges and railroads. He’s honored by monuments across England, and many of his viaducts and bridges still stand. He designed several of the routes that trains still travel, elegant stations that are still in use. Responsible for countless inventions and innovations, Isambard Kingdom Brunel truly built the world. Or at least, he shaped modern Britain.
            The book is Brunel: The Man Who Built The World. The author is Steven Brindle. The prose is accessible and fascinating. The man was a genius and a workaholic.
            Steven Brindle’s work is organized by accomplishment category (trains, bridges, ships, and so on) rather than strictly chronological. Indeed, as Brunel worked on several projects at once, it would be easy for the reader to lose track of them all if they were presented in such an order. I did not understand some of the technical aspects of bridge-making, but Mr. Brindle explained it as plainly as possible. A more mathematically-minded reader would doubtless understand everything.
            Isambard Kingdom Brunel shaped the Victorian world. He created much of the landscape Steampunk inhabits. Surely investigating such a figure is a worthwhile pursuit, and Brunel: The Man Who Built The World is a worthwhile book. I highly recommend this quick biography and award it four gears out of five.

Your Correspondent From The Bookstore,

Penny J. Merriweather

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