In his time Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the world's greatest engineer. His list of achievements is truly breathtaking: the Thames Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel in the world; the SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven ship; the Clifton Suspension Bridge, then the longest span of any bridge in the world; and the Great Western Railway. History has been kind to his memory: many of his creations still exist and he is lauded by historians as a truly 'Great Briton'. In this full-scale biography Colin Maggs presents a portrait of a complex, ambitious and determined genius. But the Brunel that emerges is not without flaws. He made mistakes, both personal and technical – he wasn't always right but never admitted he was wrong. Drawing on Brunel's diaries, letters and business papers, we see the real Isambard, a more human figure, emerging from behind the towering structures and machines he created.
Colin Maggs is one of the country's foremost transport and engineering historians and has written over one hundred books as well as innumerable magazine articles. He has also made several TV and radio appearances. In 1993 he received the MBE for services to railway history. He lives in Bath.