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.


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

A story of how technology impacts society.

A thoroughly absorbing story detailing the history of rail in Britain; how it affected and transformed the social fabric in the Industrial age and how it had to, ultimately, transform itself to deal with modern times, technological advancements (usually through necessity) and the whims of political interference.
A simple thing like the standardization of time from village to village is a consequence of being able to maintain a train schedule! This and other anecdotes show how things that are taken for granted today presented major problems in the mid 1800s. Fresh milk in the city, only if you had a cow in the back yard! What do you imagine life was like when the typical speed of transportation was only 2mph!
If you love technology or even just how it can impact life, there is no better read. This is the 19th century equivalent of the Internet revolution,
Non British readers may be confused by all the place names but they are so well interwoven into the compelling narrative that you will actually want to know where they all are, I would suggest having a small map of the UK handy to pinpoint the locations.
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- Brian Cohen

Book Details

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