Isambard Kingdom Brunel – The life of an engineering genius
THERE IS LITTLE DISAGREEMENT THAT ISAMBARD KINGDOMBRUNEL WAS A TOWERING GENIUS OF THE VICTORIAN AGE.BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MAN BEHIND THE REPUTATION?
In his time Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the world’s greatest engineer.
His list of achievements is truly breathtaking: the Thames Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel in the world; the SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven ship; the Clifton Suspension Bridge, then the longest span of any bridge in the world; and the Great Western Railway.
History has been kind to his memory: many of his creations still exist and he is lauded by historians as a truly ‘Great Briton’.
In his full-scale biography Collin Maggs presents a portrait of a complex, ambitious and determined genius. But the Brunel that emerges is not without flaws.
He made mistakes, both personal and technical – he wasn’t always right but never admitted he was wrong. Drawing on Brunel’s diaries, letter sand business papers, we see the real Isambard, a more human figure, emerging from behind the towering structures and machines he created.
Author: Colin Maggs