George and Robert Stephenson
Amberley Press, 2016
Amberley Press, 2010
Originally published by Longmans in 1960
It is a mark of its enduring appeal that Amberley are now publishing again this brilliant, perceptive biography of the father and son who initiated the age of the railway.
"Rolt was more than a clear narrator through whom the past speaks. It is not too much to say that he stands in a great tradition of vigorous and clear English prose that goes back through Dickens to Bunyan. It would be difficult to equal the sublime evocation with which the book opens, of a raw morning in 1805 when young George has to begin a day’s work at a Northumberland 'winning'. Or that other scene towards the end, in 1857, when on the Britannia bridge as an autumn dawn breaks over the Carneddau, there stands the crumbling yet still titanic figure of Robert Stephenson."
David Gwyn from his foreword to the edition of 2016
"This biography is a work of distinction in both the historical and social sense. It is written by one who adds engineering knowledge to biographical skill."
E W Martin in the The Listener
"Mr Rolt is a master of correct terminology and can even turn it to literary advantage where, under another hand, it would cumber context with jargon. This gift, coupled with his own practical knowledge of mechanical and civil engineering, has enabled the author to produce yet another contribution to English history, which would have been quite beyond the power of the academic historian."
Edmund Vale in the Observer