• Sign In
  • Help
  • My Basket0
Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain (Hardback)
  • Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain (Hardback)

Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain (Hardback)

2 Reviews Sign in to write a review
Hardback 448 Pages / Published: 26/01/2017
  • In stock online
  • Free UK delivery

Usually despatched within 24 hours

  • This item has been added to your basket
Your local Waterstones may have stock of this item. Please check by using Click & Collect

The modern world was arriving in North Wales that night in 1826. Everything was changing. And Thomas Telford was there. Thomas Telford was the man who made it happen.

The enthralling 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.

Thomas Telford invented the modern road. A stonemason turned architect turned engineer, he built churches, harbours, canals, docks and the famously vertiginous Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Wales. He created the backbone of our national road network. His bridges are some of the most dramatic and beautiful ever built, most of all the Menai Bridge, a wonder then and now, which spans the dangerous channel between the mainland and Anglesey. His constructions were the most stupendous in Europe for a thousand years, and - astonishingly - almost everything he ever built remains in use today.

Telford was a complex man: a shepherd's boy who loved the countryside but helped industrialise it; an ambitious man who cared little for accolades; highly sociable and charming, but peculiarly private about his personal life; and an engineer who was also a poet. He cherished a vision of a country connected to transform mobility and commerce: his radical politics lay not in ideas but the creation of useful, solid things. In an age in which economics, engineering and national identity came together, Thomas Telford's life was a model of what can be achieved by persistence, skill and ambition.

Drawing on contemporary accounts, this, the first full modern biography of Telford, at once intimate and expansive, is an utterly original portrait. 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 fittingly diverting biography of the plain-speaking ‘Colossus of Roads’’ – The Guardian

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408837467
Number of pages: 448
Weight: 831 g
Dimensions: 234 x 153 x 41 mm

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 *

You may also be interested in...

A Shed Of One's Own
Added to basket
David Jones
Added to basket
The Train in the Night
Added to basket
Leonardo and the Last Supper
Added to basket
Land's Edge
Added to basket
Added to basket
Just My Type
Added to basket
£10.99   £8.99
Burying the Typewriter
Added to basket
The Great Animal Orchestra
Added to basket
Midnight in Peking
Added to basket
What the Grown-ups Were Doing
Added to basket
Sugar in the Blood
Added to basket
The Man Within My Head
Added to basket
My Judy Garland Life
Added to basket
The Letters of John F. Kennedy
Added to basket
Hedge Britannia
Added to basket


View all

“Man of Iron”

Excellent book, well written, easy to read and very interesting.

Hardback edition
5th March 2017
Helpful? Upvote 42

“Man of Iron”

Although I have not finished reading this biography, it is already a compelling insight into a remarkable man which has clearly been thoroughly researched by an author who i had previously only viewed as an actor. A... More

Hardback edition
22nd March 2017
Helpful? Upvote 38

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.