From Publishers Weekly
The title, at first, seems impossibly hyperbolic, because it is: Isambard Kingdom Brunel did not, in fact, build the world. However, the things he did build-steamships, bridges, tunnels, train stations-are staggering feats that continue to influence civil engineering today. This book's strength lies in its well thought-out organization: rather than a play-by-play recount of Brunel's life and times, the author organizes chapters according to different genres of his work, separating, for instance, railways from bridges and "The Three Great Ships." Exquisite historical photos, including elegantly rendered fold-out illustrations depicting the plan Brunel drew for the Thames Tunnel, give remarkable insight into the mind of the engineer and his preparation for the project. But, as evidenced by the book's overblown subtitle, the writing suffers lapses into hyperbole: "Brunel's genius had conceived her, his charisma had foisted this vision onto his dazzled contemporaries, including Scott Russell, and lured the money out of their pockets," Brindle writes of the steamship Great Eastern. Brindle, ever the steadfastly enthusiastic guide, in loading this book with illustrations and reproductions, has given engineers and history buffs much to appreciate. 100 color illustrations, 50 b/w photos.
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'The illustrations in this book are quite outstanding... the book's design and reproduction quality make it an invaluable document of record.' BUILDING DESIGN 'suitably monumental... the supreme strength of this book is its beatuy and visual scholarship... after reading this wonderful work all should concur that Brunel can lay claim to the title of Britain's greatest engineer' -- Tristram Hunt HISTORY TODAY 'Packed both with interesting facts and rare illustrations... Brindle has produced an excellent book that is not only accessible but is genuinely riveting stuff, and I'd highly recommend it' RAIL 'excellent... Steven Brindle's book is immensley readable... contains a fantastic collection of images... It is a book to be read straight through, and then to dip into again and again.' THE VICTORIAN 'This is truly the finest biography of his life published to date: with accessible and informative text illuminated by a wide variety of images' FAMILY HISTORY MONTHLY