Thomas Telford's name is familiar; his story less so. Born in 1757 in the Scottish Borders, his father died in his infancy, plunging the family into poverty. Telford's life soared to span almost eight decades of gloriously obsessive, prodigiously productive energy. Few people have done more to shape our nation.
A stonemason turned architect turned engineer, Telford invented the modern road, built churches, harbours, canals, docks, the famously vertiginous Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Wales and the dramatic Menai Bridge. His constructions were the greatest in Europe for a thousand years, and, astonishingly, almost everything he ever built remains in use today.
Intimate, expansive and drawing on contemporary accounts, Man of Iron is the first full modern biography of Telford. It is a book of roads and landscapes, waterways and bridges, but above all, of how one man transformed himself into the greatest engineer Britain has ever produced.