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on 21 March 2013
The book is very well researched but it is very heavy reading . There is a lot of detail which you have to plough through. I got lost trying to filter out his engineering achievments. Would not reccommend. Print is very small. Plates were disappointing.
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on 15 June 2011
It is astonishing that a pioneer like William Armstrong is not a household name, in every household. We are rarely informed of his groundbreaking, and sometimes controversial, feats.
However, Henrietta Heald's biography, William Armstrong, Magician of the North, has brought his infamy back into the perspective.
This is a thoroughly researched and evenly-balanced text which depicts every aspect of Armstrong's life and work, some of which may come as a surprise to people unfamiliar with his numerous leaps in invention.
I highly recommend this book to everyone, so that his memory can be restored to its rightful place.
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on 7 April 2013
Having seen a little about Cragside on a TV programme (Renovation Man?) and having never heard of Armstrong I decided I wanted to find out about him and his engineering works. I liked the book very much, I liked how the links were established between family and friends, the circles that people move in. One very tiny criticism and it's very much subjective is that I would have liked a little more detail about how the inventions actually worked, the mechanics of them. But forget that it's a very good book.
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on 26 February 2013
Magic to read such a wonderful piece of important history.
Should be part of school curriculum in the UK at least.
Very readable style and great to read the older use of English in the many excerpts of letters and reports from the time.
I have an affinity for older engineering feats - especailly by the untrained.
Willaim Armstrong was fortunate enough to be able to transpose himslelf from an imposed legal career to engineering.
I was not so lucky and am still an accountant.
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on 1 January 2014
A brilliant book about a brilliant man. As is stated in the book, W. Armstrong should have been as highly regarded as Nelson and Churchill.
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on 5 July 2011
Having been to Cragside some time ago, I bought this as a present for my wife, who has found it surprisingly absorbing. She reported that it's well-researched, lots of interesting detail, and really good history of the industrial development of Newcastle as well as the man himself. Enough technical, engineering detail for those who'd be interested in that sort of stuff, but not too much to deter someone reading it for the the history and the story.
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on 15 February 2017
I've been a fan of William Armstrong since I first visited Cragside, and discovered this book recently while in the shop at Bamburgh Castle. Its a very readable book, and it reminds me of the work by Jenny Uglow, e.g. The Lunar Men, and Thomas Bewick. I enjoy technical detail and there is just enough in this book, although I would have liked more. The quotes and discussion on the morality of gun making were also interesting. Thoroughly recommend.
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on 8 January 2015
Armstrong was a very important figure in the history of engineering who does seem to have been forgotten. This book covers his life and achievements in considerable detail. While interesting, I found it heavy going at times, with rather excessive quotes from letters etc, and too much detail about periferal events. However, over all I am glad I read it, and really hope to be able to go to visit Armstrong's house Cragside within the near future.
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on 23 October 2014
I have visited Cragside and Bamborough Castle and wanted to get an in depth view on an amazing but little known pioneer who contributed so much to the industrial revolution and the north east. This biography does not dissapoint and is and provides a great insight to a very important yet sadly overlooked person whose inventions played a major part in our world of today.
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on 2 May 2015
An excellent account of how Armstrong, one of our greatest Victorian engineers, who ranks alongside Brunel, by genius and sweat increased our standard of living which today's population think they should have for nothing ! Pity the name Armstrong, due to take-overs, is missing from our list of engineering firms today.
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