This is the first biography to show Brunel as he actually was. Drawing on evidence ignored or suppressed in Rolt's classic Life, Adrian Vaughan reveals not just an engineer of genius, a born actor and a courageous leader, but also a man who was obstinate, unjust, dictatorial and in the end paranoid.;Outwardly indomitable, Brunel was driven by his 'blue devils': fears and insecurities he confided only to a journal he kept locked. His drive cost others dear: lives and fortunes were lost in the execution of his dramatic projects. He was an engineering knight-errant, not interested in mundane solutions but in daring experiments that would make him famous. Brunel's superbly engineered raflways'and bridges, and three great ships, serve as his monument. Much of his work is still in place, as serviceable as when it was first built. But he sold his soul to ambition, and like Faust he paid.
Adrian Vaughan, foremost railway historian, discovered Brunel's Great Western railway in 1946, when he passed under the line daily on his way to school. He worked on the railways until 1975, since when he has written twenty-five books on the subject, most recently The Heart of the Great Western (1994), Railwaymen, Politics and Money: The Great Age of Railways in Britain (John Murray, 1997) and Tracks to Disaster (2000).