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Full Steam Ahead

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What to expect

The Age of Railways was an era of extraordinary change which utterly transformed every aspect of British life – from trade and transportation to health and recreation.

Full Steam Ahead reveals how the world we live in today is entirely shaped by the rail network, charting the glorious evolution of rail transportation and how it left its mark on every aspect of life, landscape and culture. Peter Ginn and Ruth Goodman brilliantly bring this revolution to life in their trademark style which engages and captivates. They explore the everyday lives and the intangible ephemeral history that make up the stories of the people who built, worked and were affected by the railways. From the very first steam train to the infrastructure that is still used in part today, they look at the men, women and children who lived and sometimes died constructing Britain’s railway heritage.

As they trace the emergence of the Industrial Revolution across the country, the authors discover a hidden layer of social history, using rail transportation as a backdrop to reveal Britain’s radical change in social attitudes and culture across the 19th and early 20th centuries, including the rise of the working class, women’s rights, industrial growth, economic decline, warfare and the birth of the great British holiday. They tell the stories of the historic characters whose lives were changed by this radical mode of transport.

Beautifully illustrated with photographs and artwork throughout, Full Steam Ahead is a passionate, charming and insightful look at Britain through the lens of one of its most momentous eras.

Critics Review

  • Praise for the authors:

    ‘Packed with delicious kernels of knowledge … all served up by the most delightfully eccentric author I’ve ever encountered. Seldom have I had so much fun reading history. Seldom have I learnt so much.’ The Times

    ‘Always entertaining’ Observer

    ‘Fascinating, immersive history’ New York Times

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