Led by the larger-than-life Erasmus Darwin, the Lunar Society of Birmingham were a group of eighteenth-century amateur experimenters who met monthly on the Monday night nearest to the full moon. Echoing to the thud of pistons and the wheeze of snorting engines, Jenny Uglow's vivid and swarming group portrait brings to life the inventors, artisans and tycoons who shaped and fired the modern world.
Here's just a few of the many great reviews for The Lunar Men:
'An exhilarating book, filled with wonders . . . Jenny Uglow is the most perfect historian imaginable.' Peter Ackroyd, The Times
'An irresistible book, rich as a Christmas pudding in its detail. Uglow is the perfect guide, lucid, intelligent, sympathetic and wise. A wonderful subject has found its perfect historian.' Spectator
'A constant delight . . . Beautifully illustrated with many plates and diagrams, The Lunar Men lays bare the forces that prepared the way for the modern world.' John Carey, Sunday Times
'I loved them, every one, from the vagaries of Dr Erasmus Darwin, who listed boredom and credulity along with scabies as human afflictions, to Josiah Wedgwood's dismissal of a chic sculptor's rococo models as 'the head of a drowned puppy'. Uglow, uniquely, can do things, thoughts and well-rounded people in the round. Nobody else writes so perceptively about the power of friendship. Great stuff.' Guardian