This story begins in 1800, with the need for a lighthouse on Bell Rock off the Firth of Forth in Scotland. The account of how this was built is interwoven with the work of Richard Trevithick perservering at the same time in Cornwall on steam engines, road carriages and locomotives. Thomas Telford's and John Rennie's work as civil engineers is similarly intercut with the emergence of George Stephenson in the north of England and Marc Brunel in the south: as Stephenson completes the Stockton-Darlington railway, Brunel starts work on his tunnel under the Thames. Both men have talented sons roughly the same age, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Robert Stephenson, who in the 1830s, along with Joseph Locke, come to dominate the engineering scene. Their railways are expressions of the nation's industrial might that the engineers had themselves made possible.;Britain became the workshop of the world and the most powerful of all nations, all of which was vividly demonstrated at the Great Exhibition of 1851. There seemed nothing the engineers could not achieve. Isambard Brunel's steamship had already opened up ocean-going travel; now he built the biggest ship of all and at last overreached himself. The failure of the "Great Eastern" led directly to his death and the end of an era. From now on, as steel replaced iron and as steam gave way to electricity and the internal combustion engine, the days were numbered for British industrial and commercial supremacy.;This book tells the engineers' story, showing how their work and lives interconnected to carry forward a saga that in the space of only two generations turned Britain from a pastoral into an industrial country and opened the way for the rest of the world to do the same. It is a tale of talent and tenacity, of flair and perseverance, and of sweat and inspiration. Very good copy. Dust jacket slightly creased around edges. Marks on flyleaf.