1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Informative and energetic,
This review is from: The Lighthouse Stevensons (Hardcover)
It's hard to imagine that a book about lighthouses would be a page-turner, but this one is. The tale of how multiple generations of Stevensons (with a Smith or two thrown in there) perfected the modern lighthouse is told with a perfect balance of technical coverage, tales of bravery, and family history. The fact that one part of the line ended with Robert Louis Stevenson, who helped build one major lighthouse before turning his back on the family business, adds a fascinating coda to the story.
I've been to Scotland, but never visited the coasts. I've climbed several lighthouses in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and South, but they are not sited on such difficult terrain. So, reading this book makes me want to see the lighthouses of Scotland: the true tests of man's ingenuity vs. nature's power. Those lighthouses have withstood gales and 100-foot waves for more than a century (sometimes more than two centuries). The author really makes you feel what kind of an achievement that has been.
It's also one of those books that makes you want to do more reading -- on lighthouse construction, but also on the history of modern Scotland, the Crimean War, and, of course, Robert Louis Stevenson.