Most helpful positive review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2004
A very well written book that covers what the author has chosen to be subtitled ?The Seven Wonders of the Industrial World.? The basis of this book is that, worldwide the knowledge and the production of iron and steel had reached the point where certain engineering visionaries dared to start considering the material?s properties to build on a grander scale than traditional wood and stone would allow. In little more than the span of a century these diverse engineering projects set a new world standard in their respective fields, and it became the basis for catapulting Western civilization into the modern era of undertaking grand projects. Deborah Cadbury, the author has a very nice writing style. The subject is easily understood, and there is no math. The author evidently did a large amount of research, she includes a bit of background material, but keeps the subject relevant to the central theme. The author does not delve into the engineering details of the problems, but generally strives to give the reader an overall view of the main problems encountered, usually a collection of engineering, financial and political obstacles.
As with most books explaining engineering techniques, a few more diagrams would have been helpful. One consistent pattern throughout many of the projects is that the Engineer/Visionary generally were obsessive control freaks when it came to their projects, and as their project came to life it manifested itself as exacting an equal toll on their health. The title is a little misleading, three of the projects, London Sewers, Bell rock Lighthouse, and the Hoover Dam deal mainly with stone or concrete. The subtitle would be better suited to be the title of this book. This reader highly recommends this enjoyable book