Fire & Steam

  • by Christian Wolmar
  • Narrated by Christian Wolmar
  • 12 hrs and 50 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The opening of the pioneering Liverpool & Manchester Railway in 1830 marked the beginning of the railway network's vital role in changing the face of Britain. Fire & Steam celebrates the vision of the ambitious Victorian pioneers who developed this revolutionary transport system and the navvies who cut through the land to enable a country-wide railway to emerge. From the early days of steam to electrification, via the railways' magnificent contribution in two world wars, the chequered history of British Rail and the buoyant future of the train, Fire & Steam examines the importance of the railway and how it helped to form the Britain of today.

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What the Critics Say

"A beautifully written, detailed (but never anoraky) history of two centuries of life on the iron road." (Telegraph)
"An excellent book." (Independent)
"It is written in a brisk, down-to-earth style (a favourite adjective is "daft"), and is enjoyably replete with bizarre details" (Guardian)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating & Compelling

I?ve always been a `railway enthusiast` ever since my school days, but not as much for the technical gauge?s and measurements, specs and performance, but more so for the love of the `thing` itself, the railways? This book is fantastically arranged and pieced together, offering a perfect account of the history of the railways merged with the explanations behind why we have the system we have today, who was responsible and why. The author self-reads this title, and his voice is compelling and alluring, you feel the man really did love the topic and that his whole heart and sole has gone into this one. and it really has. I would easily listen to this again and highly recommend to anyone, be they just wanting an overview from their beginnings to now, or a true railway enthusiast.
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- Neil

Even if you are no railway buff...

... This is a supurb read. The balance of detail with breadth, of purely railway information with wider social and economic developments is impressive. I am NOT a railway buff, but took a chance on this book and was hooked. Wonderful for anyone wanting to mug up 'railways' for a history exam, or for anyone simply looking to enrich their understanding of the past two centuries. Wolmar loves his subject, but can step back and take a balanced, non-sentimental view of it. The reactity of steam travel in the so-called Golden Age is well described, and you get an understanding of the reasons why Britain acquired such a jumbled rail network. If you are looking for something a little different, may I recommend you try this book. I wanted more, and there's an international follow-up that I will certainly hunt out.
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- Ian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-08-2008
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books