6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Muddy-Trousered Philanthropists, 3 Nov 2012
These days there are plenty of novels featuring work in offices, but almost none about the kind of work that enables offices to exist in the first place. This is one of the few, and maybe the best.
Davidson has drawn on his own experience as a civil engineer in the water industry to write this intense look into the lives of men whose hard work makes our lives liveable, yet who we usually see as indistinguishable figures knee-deep in mud. It's eye-opening on how much engineering knowledge and back-breaking toil goes into something as common and easily overlooked as a pipe under a road.
By the end of the book the reader has seen the project from the point of view of every type of individual involved, and been given a sympathetic yet critical insight into how each sees the job, themselves, the others, and the world. Most readers will see a culvert, a sewage outfall, a bridge or a gang of workers in hard hats and high-vis with a lot more admiration and appreciation than they ever had before they read it.
I once said to the author that his book was 'like The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists without the hope of socialism' but actually it's better than that!