This is a narrative history of the development and social impact of a major Industry producing one of the vital raw materials for the industrial age. The production of copper from the crude ores (smelting) is covered in reasonable detail, but this is not a treatise on the applied chemistry of the process. Professor Rees concentrates more on the social and trade aspects of the industry, revealing its origins in the physical geography of the UK and describing the worldwide traffic in copper ores in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He paints a graphic picture of the working conditions in the ships transporting ore to the South Wales coast as well as the smelters there. He also describes the effects of the developing industry on the social as well as the physical geography of the area. I thought the descriptions of the court cases (concerning the effects of the industrial pollution the smelters produced) were unneccessaily long. The Copper Magnates are presented in a neutral light and the reader can form his/her own opinions regarding their actions. They make interesting comparison with the Iron-masters of the same region. The book also examines the issue of industrial pollution and public health. The attitudes of many of the leading medical experts are (in retrospect) jaw-droppingly complacent. The book suffers from having few maps of the areas described, and since there are few if any remains now to be seen, it is difficult to envisage the industry at its height. Do not buy this book as a field guide! Nonetheless, it is an accessible and easy read and illuminates an industry that has now passed into the depths of history but whilst its furnaces burned, it managed to mould a major city and its environs.