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Brunel (Life & Times) [Paperback]

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Item description for Brunel (Life & Times) by Annabel Gillings...

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59) was the outstanding example of an entrepreneurial Victorian engineer, seen at his most memorable in front of the chains used to launch the Great Eastern. His father, the French-born engineer Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849), invented the tunnelling shield and with it constructed the world's first underwater tunnel, 366m long, under the Thames between Wapping and Rotherhithe; it is still in use as part of London's underground. The younger Brunel was appointed resident engineer of the project at the age of 19. In 1833, when he was 27, he became chief engineer to the Great Western railway, building the line from Paddington to Bristol. His design for the new Clifton suspension bridge and had been accepted in 1831. The boldest of his many endeavours were his three great ships, each the largest in the world when launched. The Great Western, a wooden paddle steamer, was the first steamship to be build specifically for the Atlantic; she made her inaugural crossing in 1838 in 15 days (the small Sirius had been by a whisker the first to steam across, reaching New York the previous day after a journey of 19 days). The iron-hulled Great Britain was launched in Bristol in 1843 and is now back there. The Great Eastern (1858) was a monster which almost literally killed Brunel. It was another half century before any ship exceeded her length of 211m or her displacement of 22,500 tons. She proved almost impossible to launch and then had an unsatisfactory career crossing the Atlantic (so much coal had to be carried that there was insufficient room for the intended 4000 passengers). She only came into her own when laying the Transatlantic telegraph cable in 1865. Brunel was spared the pain of much of this saga; he suffered a stroke on board the ship just before her maiden voyage.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   182
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.64" Width: 5.04" Height: 0.63"
Weight:   0.62 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2006
Publisher   Haus Publishers Ltd.
ISBN  1904950442  
ISBN13  9781904950448  

Availability  0 units.

More About Annabel Gillings

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Annabel Gillings is a producer of the BBC Horizon programme series, mostrecently for the Horizon special on SARS. She also produced the TV series'What the Victorians Did for Us' (2001). She has written widely, includingan article for the magazine Prospect on 'Genes and Behaviour'.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Arts & Literature > Artists, Architects & Photographers
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > British > General
4Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical > General
5Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Scientists
6Books > Subjects > History > Europe > England > General
7Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Civil > Construction > General
8Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Civil > General
9Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Engineering > Civil > Surveying & Photogrammetry
10Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy > Science
11Books > Subjects > Science > Technology > History of Technology

Reviews - What do customers think about Brunel (Life & Times)?

The biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel   Aug 12, 2006
Brunel by Annabel Gillings (a BBC television producer of Science and History programs) is the biography of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59) whose life and work as an entrepreneurial Victorian engineer in England is nothing short of impressive. He helped his father design and construct the Thames Tunnel, the first in the world to be constructed underwater; he labored on the construction of the Great Western Railway and its Terminus, Paddington Station; and he created three great ships, each of which was the largest in the world when it launched. These and many other achievements earned him fame and prestige long after the stroke that felled him; now, two hundred years after his birth, he remains held in high esteem across Britain. Black-and-white illustrations, including artistic depictions of Brunel's creations, pepper this concise yet absorbing story of one man's colorful life, dreams, and constructive achievements.

An Eminent Victorian Engineer  Jul 20, 2006
Growing up in England and being educated as an engineer I was familiar with the name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of England greatest Victorian engineers. I had never read much about him or put his life and achievements together or looked at the whole picture. This book solved that problem by providing a thorough easy to read summary of his life and times.

Brunel was born in Portsmouth in 1806 to French born parents. His father was an engineer and provided opportunities for the young Isambard, sending him to be formally trained in France as there was nowhere in England to be educated as an engineer. It was while in France his father spent time in debtor's prison. Upon returning to England we learn about his engineering achievements: Thames Tunnel (after some floods); Clifton Bridge; Bristol Docks; Great Western Railway and Paddington Station; the steamships Great Western, Great Britain and Great Eastern.

The book is about his life and times not just about achievements. We learn about his energy, his up and down finances and his love life. Here is a real human being accomplishing great things through energy, drive and creativity.

This is an easy read with lots of good illustrations. There is a nice annotated bibliography for those wanting to learn more about Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

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