How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon (Hardback)
The Story of the Nineteenth-Century Innovators Who Forged the Future
Iwan Rhys Morus
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'[An] insightful analysis of 19th-century futurism … Morus's account is as much a cautionary tale as a flag-waving celebration.' – DUNCAN BELL, NEW STATESMAN
'[How the Victorians Took Us to the Moon] rattles thrillingly through such developments as the Transatlantic telegraph cable, the steam locomotive and electric power and recalls the excitable predictions of the fiction of the time.' KATY GUEST, THE GUARDIAN
'Excellent … A terrific insight into why the Victorian era was a golden age of engineering.' – NICK SMITH, ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY MAGAZINE
By the end of the Victorian era, the world had changed irrevocably. The speed of the technological development brought about between 1800 and 1900 was completely unprecedented in human history. And as the Victorians looked to the skies and beyond as the next frontier to be explored and conquered, they were inventing, shaping and moulding the very idea of the future.
To get us to this future, the Victorians created a new way of ordering and transforming nature, built on grand designs and the mass-mobilisation of the resources of Empire – and they revolutionised science in the process.
In this rich and absorbing book, distinguished historian of science Iwan Rhys Morus tells the story of how this future was made. From Charles Babbage's dream of mechanising mathematics to Isambard Kingdom Brunel's tunnel beneath the Thames, from George Cayley's fantasies of powered flight to Nikola Tesla's visions of an electrical world, this is a story of towering personalities, clashing ambitions, furious rivalries and conflicting cultures – a vibrant tapestry of remarkable lives that transformed the world and ultimately took us to the Moon.