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Isambard Kingdom Brunel: A Life From Beginning to End

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Brunel Isambard Kingdom Brunel. One of the most famous engineers the United Kingdom has ever produced. A man who put his stamp on his own country in the most visible way possible; through the construction of bridges and tunnels that stand to this day and by transforming both the landscape and the nature of society. In 2002, Brunel was voted the second Greatest Briton of al Brunel Isambard Kingdom Brunel. One of the most famous engineers the United Kingdom has ever produced. A man who put his stamp on his own country in the most visible way possible; through the construction of bridges and tunnels that stand to this day and by transforming both the landscape and the nature of society. In 2002, Brunel was voted the second Greatest Briton of all time in a BBC survey, second only to Winston Churchill and putting names such as Darwin, Shakespeare, and Newton behind him. In 2006, numerous events were held across the United Kingdom in celebration of Brunel


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Brunel Isambard Kingdom Brunel. One of the most famous engineers the United Kingdom has ever produced. A man who put his stamp on his own country in the most visible way possible; through the construction of bridges and tunnels that stand to this day and by transforming both the landscape and the nature of society. In 2002, Brunel was voted the second Greatest Briton of al Brunel Isambard Kingdom Brunel. One of the most famous engineers the United Kingdom has ever produced. A man who put his stamp on his own country in the most visible way possible; through the construction of bridges and tunnels that stand to this day and by transforming both the landscape and the nature of society. In 2002, Brunel was voted the second Greatest Briton of all time in a BBC survey, second only to Winston Churchill and putting names such as Darwin, Shakespeare, and Newton behind him. In 2006, numerous events were held across the United Kingdom in celebration of Brunel

57 review for Isambard Kingdom Brunel: A Life From Beginning to End

  1. 4 out of 5

    Young Kim

    (Kindle Ed., locations 277-279) “If all goes well, we shall all gain credit . . . if the results disappoint anybody . . . I shall have to bear the storm.” —Isambard Kingdom Brunel So independent and active...another common factor found in all successful figures in history. Well, so "passionate" after all. This brief, yet detailed story tells what kind of man Brunel really was. And if you are really a knowledge-seeker, I recommend you to spend a little more of your time and passion to seek out image (Kindle Ed., locations 277-279) “If all goes well, we shall all gain credit . . . if the results disappoint anybody . . . I shall have to bear the storm.” —Isambard Kingdom Brunel So independent and active...another common factor found in all successful figures in history. Well, so "passionate" after all. This brief, yet detailed story tells what kind of man Brunel really was. And if you are really a knowledge-seeker, I recommend you to spend a little more of your time and passion to seek out images and extra info about the man's projects. He was an amazing Human Being: (Ibid., locations 129-159) For Brunel, it signified a return to job seeking. He showed his determination in this regard; in an era before the railways, he managed to travel the length and breadth of the country in his search for work. He appeared on the coast of Essex draining marshland at Tollesbury, constructed a new dock at Monkwearmouth in Sunderland, and collaborated on the design and construction of an observatory in Kensington. Brunel’s acceptance of failure is well-evidenced during this period. He was never paid and was criticized for extravagance by Sir James South who disliked the observatory Brunel had designed for him. He carried out surveying for a new Navy dry-dock at Woolwich but was turned down for the post. His bridge was not being built, and neither was the tunnel. However, Brunel’s frequent appearances at yet another place—surveying, designing, working—shows the attitude which was also apparent in his letters and diaries. That was the “well, well. It can’t be helped” attitude. It was to provide an important outlook to have later in his life. He and his friend Nicholas Roch, a member of the Bristol Docks Committee, were signed as special constables when riots and looting broke out over the Reform Bill. It was significant in Brunel’s life only for the association with Roch, who was to become a useful ally in furthering Brunel’s ties with Bristol. In 1832, following the successful passage of the Reform Act, which extended the right to vote beyond the powerful landowning elite, Brunel was consulted on improvements required to Bristol’s Floating Harbour...The formation of any new railroad company required an Act of Parliament, and Brunel was instrumental in securing this. The bill was rejected once but then deliberated on a second time. It was debated by a House of Commons committee for forty days. During this inquiry, Brunel endured an eleven-day cross-examination. The knowledge and intelligence shown by Brunel in his answers struck many who attended, amongst them George Stephenson, the locomotive pioneer. The bill was approved on August 31, 1835. Construction on the line began in 1836...Brunel was now employed by the Great Western Railway (GWR), and alongside his continuing work on Bristol’s city harbor, he was financially secure for the first time. In 1836, funds were obtained for the beginning of work on the Clifton Suspension bridge. On August 27, Brunel laid the first foundation stone. He was also on hand to supervise the laying of a 1000-foot steel girder which spanned the two towers. An accident saw the beam fall into the gorge and onto a passing ship, but Brunel immediately ordered another to be laid. He himself rode in the basket which ran from a line along the girder, even climbing out of it when it got stuck halfway across. (Ibid., locations 362-394) Today it is possible to travel from Penzance in Cornwall to Glasgow in Scotland, a feat unheard of in Brunel’s lifetime but made possible by his vision...Isambard Kingdom Brunel was more than an engineer. He was an innovator who was not afraid to try new approaches. The Maidenhead Bridge over the Thames possessed the longest brick arch that had ever been constructed. Conventional wisdom said it would never stand. It did...This is not, however, an unwillingness to accept blame. He was always ready to accept his failings as can be seen in his words to the board of the Great Western Steamship Company, where he is prepared to share the credit and equally as ready to take full responsibility for disaster. He saw his father’s failures and equally saw him rise again after each one; always another project, always another invention...because the outcome was not fully known and resources were limited. Brunel was a renaissance man with a wide range of skills, something which is not seen much in this modern world of highly specialized experts. In fact, a man of Brunel’s prodigious range would be regarded with some suspicions based on the maxim “jack of all trades, master of none.” Who in the twentieth century or even twenty-first can claim the building of ships, railways, bridges, tunnels, harbors, engines, and even new towns? Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, Isambard Brunel and more brave pioneers have been and will always be the symbol of Human progress. It is a pretty "informative" read: (Ibid., locations 286-304) The Great Western had been a paddle steamer (engines turning a large paddle wheel to propel the ship) as was her sister ship supposed to have been. But in May 1840 a propeller-driven steamship, the Archimedes, was moored at Bristol. Brunel came to realize how much more efficient a means of propulsion a fully immersed propeller was and decided that the new ship would need to be propeller-driven. An experimental prototype, the Rattler, was developed for the Navy, which provided a useful proof of concept by winning a “tug of war” contest against a paddle steamer. Brunel himself designed the marine engine that would drive the Great Western’s successor...Brunel’s creation pushed forward the frontiers of marine engineering. It proved that propellers were more efficient than paddles, that fast ships could be built of iron, and that the age of sail was well and truly over. The massive construction of the Great Britain also laid the groundwork for other equally huge designs which would allow mass transit of passengers across the Atlantic for the first time in history. This, in turn, paved the way for the immigration explosion from Europe to the United States which would have such a far-reaching effect on that country's economic growth entering the twentieth century. This is what was happening in mainland England while the Opium War was going on on the other side of the planet. It was indeed the century of Great Britain. And when it comes to its quality as a product on market, the book's complete with only a few errors to be edited. The following is the only two errors I've found and corrected: (Kindle Ed., locations 42-43) ...This illustrates well the trait which his son would also demonstrate. The belief that his way was the right way. Correction: This illustrates well the trait which his son would also demonstrate. It was this belief that his way was the right way. (or) This illustrates well the trait which his son would also demonstrate: The belief that his way was the right way. (Ibid., location 153) On July 5, that year, Brunel married a Mary Horsley... Lol, what is "a" Mary Horsley? I recommend this book to anyone who don't really know Brunel despite his landmark works you've probably known already. It's an easy read for starters as well. You will learn about the man and be inspired.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Thom Swennes

    Many children have been rumored to have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths; Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born with a T-square and compass. His father, Marc Isambard Brunel was born near Rouen, France on April 25, 1769 (the same year as Napoleon Bonaparte). At a very early age, he displayed an aptitude for mathematics and mechanics. During the French Revolution, he fled France, eventually taking up residence in England. He was involved in many engineering projects, as well as designing Many children have been rumored to have been born with a silver spoon in their mouths; Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born with a T-square and compass. His father, Marc Isambard Brunel was born near Rouen, France on April 25, 1769 (the same year as Napoleon Bonaparte). At a very early age, he displayed an aptitude for mathematics and mechanics. During the French Revolution, he fled France, eventually taking up residence in England. He was involved in many engineering projects, as well as designing many inventions. In retrospect, one could say that he was successful at what he accomplished, but it didn’t translate into monetary wealth. He even spent a short time in debtor’s prison. Isambard Kingdom Brunel was born in Portsea, near Portsmouth on April 9, 1806. Like his father, Brunel showed an aptitude in engineering. He attended schools both in and outside of England. At this time, with the Napoleonic Wars over and relative peace on the horizon, the Western World was more than ready to enter a new phase of development, the Industrial Revolution. With the stage set, it was time to introduce the cast. Brunel was destined to be a star. Superseding the mere architect, a new breed of craftsmen was emerging, the civil engineers. This new science combined architecture with the practical appliance (railroads, bridges, tunnels, waterways, and docks). Brunel projects such as the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Maidenhead Bridge, Bristol Temple Meads, and the Royal Albert Bridge are still standing and operating today; a true testament to an engineering genius. Isambard Brunel was truly a man of his times. The countless inventions and projects that can be attached to his name are more than impressive. Necessity is the mother of invention is the perfect axiom for Brunel. During the early and mid-Victorian age, manufacturing was booming, as was the increase in transportation. Brunel was the perfect man to expedite these phenomena’s. This short book is a mere taste of a scrumptious meal of history. It is sure to inspire many readers to delve deeper into the life of this truly remarkable man.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anirudh

    This is a short biography on the 19th Century British engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was ranked number 2 in BBC’s list of 100 Greatest Britons back in 2002, second only to Winston Churchill. The book starts with his background, and as to how his father himself was an engineer, from whom Isambard developed the interest in engineering. It goes on to describe his attempts at building the Thames Tunnel (a project which failed), the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and the Western Railway This is a short biography on the 19th Century British engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was ranked number 2 in BBC’s list of 100 Greatest Britons back in 2002, second only to Winston Churchill. The book starts with his background, and as to how his father himself was an engineer, from whom Isambard developed the interest in engineering. It goes on to describe his attempts at building the Thames Tunnel (a project which failed), the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and the Western Railway line. The book also described as to how Isambard was very keen on publicising all his constructions, having grand foundation and inauguration events. The multi-faceted nature of Isambard was also brought out, wherein, he was a civil engineer, an inventor and also, a ship builder, which is quite difficult in modern times as people expect extreme levels of specialisation. So, there was a fair effort in bringing all these aspects of Isambard through a short biography. However, the man was an engineer, and to explain his marvels better, you do need illustrations and maps (especially for the Western Railway), so that the reader would be able to appreciate as to why it was difficult to build the structures back then. Thus, the book seemed like a plain narrative which could perhaps have been appreciated only by people who are still administering these structures or already have some knowledge on how they were built. I feel they took an interesting historical figure; I was always curious about him, one; for his strange name and  especially for;  when someone finishes ahead of Isaac Newton, William Shakespeare, Charles Darwin, Alexander Fleming or Alan Turing and still, I know very little about him as compared to the others, I felt I should definitely read up. From that perspective, I felt this book failed to deliver; all I got to know from this book are the names of his various projects and the short descriptions on the difficulties encountered proved to be insufficient. I would award the book a rating of one on five.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jerry Jares

    Having already read the absolutely amazing story of JosephBazalgette (also of British fame as an infrastructure engineer), I wanted to read about another of the British titans of civil engineering.  Like many of the emerging engineers of the Industrial Revolution, he was a self-made man.  Brunel was certainly not an instant success; he had to accept failure often in his early days. It would have added so much to this book if the author had included photos or drawings of the edifices that Brunel c Having already read the absolutely amazing story of JosephBazalgette (also of British fame as an infrastructure engineer), I wanted to read about another of the British titans of civil engineering.  Like many of the emerging engineers of the Industrial Revolution, he was a self-made man.  Brunel was certainly not an instant success; he had to accept failure often in his early days. It would have added so much to this book if the author had included photos or drawings of the edifices that Brunel completed.  I googled for the photos.  Besides understanding his workers (by working amongst them, not just over them), Brunel also had a sense of history and art.  Thus, he understood the historical traditions that were important to Bath, England.  His creations fit into the aura and history of the area. The Maidenhead Bridge over the Thames and pictures of Brunel's ships are awe-inspiring.  Brunel enchanted people with his uplifting designs; he was truly a jack-of-many-trades.  Brunel was so multifaceted that he built ships, railways, bridges, tunnels, harbors, engines, and even new towns.  Absolutely amazing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    James Crawford

    I knew a small bit about Charles I and what happened but this book helped me understand just what was going on. Basically, he was pompous and figured he could do whatever he wanted. He seemed to have no respect for the way things were done in relation to Parliament and their government in general. He was a Calvinist, a scholar and may or may not have been gay. He was set up to get a Spanish wife but only if he converted to being a Catholic and that wouldn't have gone over very well in England. Wh I knew a small bit about Charles I and what happened but this book helped me understand just what was going on. Basically, he was pompous and figured he could do whatever he wanted. He seemed to have no respect for the way things were done in relation to Parliament and their government in general. He was a Calvinist, a scholar and may or may not have been gay. He was set up to get a Spanish wife but only if he converted to being a Catholic and that wouldn't have gone over very well in England. Whenever he wasn't going to get his way with Parliament he just suspended them and only called a new one when he needed money. After a while that stopped working so he shut Parliament down and started making new rules himself. Eventually that led to war, Oliver Cromwell, and execution, and after all that Charles II. It's no surprise to me that he ended up in a war the way he tried to figure he was above everyone. A very interesting book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ed Barton

    English Engineering Genius Brunel was one of the fathers of the rail system in the UK and the propeller driven steam ship. I never heard of him prior to reading the book, and developed an appreciation for his vision of transportation infrastructure, engineering and determination. An interesting look at a genius that few Americans will know, but that many owe a debt to. Good read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Lonsdale

    The lowdown on a famous person A useful introduction to the life and main achievements of I K Brunel. Failures too and of the type of man he was. A bit more meat on the bones would have been appreciated but, perhaps enough to give you a good flavour and inspire you to find out more

  8. 5 out of 5

    Star Gater

    Lots of engineering particulars. There is more engineering in this writing than I would like. I do enjoy the insight into his personal self. I see he persevered but would have liked more of his pysche when he failed, as well as when he succeeded. Love that more than 100 years after his death, he is the 2 out of 100 great influencers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ashwin

    Isambard brunel.... The multifaceted engineer. Wow! It was a great piece of writing by hourly history on Isambard brunel. He was truly a visionary and a multifaceted engineer. To be named the second most famous Britain was a tribute to his genius.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lin Li

    Learnt something new about the great engineer Brunel First time to read about one of the greatest engineers during 19 century. The bridges and railroad stations designed by Brunel are simply beautiful and magnificent.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Wilkinson

    Good little read. Good little read, informative and well put together. Not one that bubbles on to much giving the subjects inside leg

  12. 4 out of 5

    George Polansky

    An interesting read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    Not a bad overview of Brunel's life. It doesn't go into too much detail and there are a few (less than a dozen) editing mistakes, but it's good for someone to get their toes wet. Not a bad overview of Brunel's life. It doesn't go into too much detail and there are a few (less than a dozen) editing mistakes, but it's good for someone to get their toes wet.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    I actually read this one, but there is no Kindle/epub/ebook edition to choose from. It isn't terrible but it reads more like a high school essay than anything else. I actually read this one, but there is no Kindle/epub/ebook edition to choose from. It isn't terrible but it reads more like a high school essay than anything else.

  15. 5 out of 5

    lucjan kujawa

  16. 5 out of 5

    Darren

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ron Gerughty

  18. 5 out of 5

    M HUNT

  19. 5 out of 5

    shiree.larvinoutlook.com

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fredric L.Vaccarella

  21. 4 out of 5

    Linda Younger

  22. 5 out of 5

    martin sole

  23. 5 out of 5

    chris hodge

  24. 4 out of 5

    Grahamalba

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brett

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marcin Zawierucha

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Margaret Taylor

  28. 5 out of 5

    Martin Filip

  29. 4 out of 5

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  30. 5 out of 5

    Vera Mottino

  31. 5 out of 5

    Frederick B. Buckholz

  32. 4 out of 5

    ray latham

  33. 4 out of 5

    David W Patrick

  34. 5 out of 5

    Maria

  35. 4 out of 5

    Jay

  36. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  37. 4 out of 5

    Wes Becker

  38. 4 out of 5

    John Franklin

  39. 5 out of 5

    Keith Jones

  40. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Garcia

  41. 5 out of 5

    Charles E. Baker, Jr.

  42. 5 out of 5

    robert keehn

  43. 4 out of 5

    Ewagner

  44. 4 out of 5

    Nik Olsen

  45. 5 out of 5

    Jay

  46. 4 out of 5

    betty cook

  47. 4 out of 5

    Craig Bardsley

  48. 4 out of 5

    Derek

  49. 4 out of 5

    Roger Smith

  50. 5 out of 5

    Debie

  51. 5 out of 5

    T L Oxtoby

  52. 4 out of 5

    Neil

  53. 5 out of 5

    T

  54. 4 out of 5

    mrs p yeomans

  55. 5 out of 5

    Yazir Paredes

  56. 4 out of 5

    S Farrer

  57. 4 out of 5

    john O’R

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