Customer Reviews


17 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Present
This book was given to me and it is so beautifully written and illustrated I shall treasure it always. It has a wonderful introduction by Dan Cruilshank and excellent text by Steven Brindle who has obviously done his research well. The book is written in an easy, flowing manner and is really makes you feel that you know the true Isambard Kingdom Brunel -what a man!
I...
Published on 18 Oct 2005

versus
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good overview but no particluar depth
I picked this book up while working out in the Middle East recently. Well, I'd been away for a while and exhausted the local sights so inevitably it was time to become a resident of Starbucks, drinking coffee and reading.

'Brunel', I thought - 'now that should be interesting', knowing him as the guy who built Paddington Station, the railway to Bristol and...
Published on 22 Aug 2008 by James Belton


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5.0 out of 5 stars 'It is a proud thing to monopolise all the West as I do', 19 Nov 2013
By 
S. Matthews "astafjevs" (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've grown up with Brunel; my first home was a pub built to serve the railway works he started; the first shopping centre I can remember as a child was named after him; later, we moved to Bristol where his legacy is both visible and unavoidable. I was put in 'Brunel' house at school, where we did a project on the SS Great Eastern. I could go on...

And yet while I've used his railway, stations and bridges countless times, and visited some of his other works, such as the Thames Tunnel where I bought this book, the SS Great Britain, and the Starcross Pumping House as a tourist, this is the first real biography of the great man that I've read. And it's fantastic, if a bit brief.

Although I could probably claim a bit of prior knowledge of the extent of Brunel's works, I am no engineer, and yet even the most technical parts of this book kept me enthralled. As well as neatly summarising Brunel's career, in subject specific sections (his work with his father, his railway, his bridges, his ships, etc) rather than chronological order, Steven Brindle has done a great job of both showing what a catalogue of achievements Brunel's career was and bringing the character of the man alive; the inclusion of excerpts from Brunel's own letters is a wonderful touch. Many of them are amusing, one of them in particular made me laugh out loud.

The book inspires a sense of wonder that one man achieved so much, much of it all going on at the same time. But it isn't simple hagiography. Whilst they're not dwelt on, Brindle does expand on some of Brunel's failures, and questionable negotiating tactics. He comes across as a little unscrupulous by modern standards.

I can't really fault this book in any way apart from wishing it was longer. This is a summary of a career, rather than a detailed biography. But as an introduction to the man, his career, legacy and character, I recommend it fully.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, 5 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I really enjoyed this book, i have an interest in real people who have changed the world and the way we do things .
everybody has benefited from people like Brunel and others like him.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully illustrated, 28 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a great book on an excellent topic. Beautifully illustrated throughout, logically organised and without plenty of information. I bought this after borrowing a library copy. Definitely recommended for anyone wanting to know more and/or enjoy reading about IKB - 'The Little Giant'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Fair to good reading, 8 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Good book in general. It is not in cronological order so it is a little difficult to fully understand the brain that was Brunel, dealing with many different projects and problems during similar time frames. There is some good engineering detail in this book. More diagrams would help the reader to becoome more involved.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't understand why this is so highly rated, 22 Feb 2007
I'm disappointed with the book, and slightly perplexed with the reviews it has been given to date.

Firstly, the style is feels awkwardly 'casual' to me - it obviously isn't aimed as a particularly formal history book (fine), but tries to impact some 'Jeremy Clarkson' enthusiasm which doesn't ring true to me (awkward like my Dad trying to dress casual!)

I was disappointed by the limited technical explanations on the engineering - I realise that the book need to be accessible to all, but it left me unsatisfied. Some more diagrams please! My imagination isn't as good a Brunel's!!

There are lots of comments like "...its complexities can only be hinted at here" and disclaimers all over the place. At less than 200 pages of large type I also felt short-changed by the quantity. The editing was also rather poor, with some sentences seeming repeated during the book - a little slap-dash on the old copy-and-paste!

Repeatedly throughout the book there are disclaimers such as: "It is important to remember that there is no catalogue of Brunel's works...". Brunel always 'seems' or 'appears' to have done something - it's all a bit vague (or that might be Brindle's attempt at a down-to-earth style), and that's all contradictory to comments that Brunel "must be one of the most well-document individuals...in British history". Maybe the answer relates to Brunel "leaving a huge archive of documents...much of this immense collection remains unexplored" - I can't see much evidence of primary research - the book seems to be a mainly a quick re-hash (and cash-in) of other biographies. I was looking for some substance.

Not that it's all bad by any means...some positive have already been pointed out in other reviews.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Damaged, 12 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The sleeve of the book was damaged and stated as 'like new' in the description. Didn't look as good as expected.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I never got the book after 4 months and and numerous correspondence and assurances., 23 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I never got the book after 4 months and numerous correspondence and assurances..I've asked for my money back on two occasions.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews