How The Victorians Took Us To

How The Victorians Took Us To

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The rich and fascinating history of the scientific revolution of the Victorian Era, leading to transformative advances in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

The Victorians invented the idea of the future. They saw it as an undiscovered country, one ripe for exploration and colonization. And to get us there, they created a new way of ordering and transforming nature, built on grand designs and the mass-mobilization of the resources of the British Empire.

With their expert culture of accuracy and precision, they created telegraphs and telephones, electric trams and railways, built machines that could think, and devised engines that could reach for the skies. When Cyrus Field’s audacious plan to lay a telegraph cable across the Atlantic finally succeeded in 1866, it showed how science, properly disciplined, could make new worlds. As crowds flocked to the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the exhibitions its success inaugurated, they came to see the future made fact—to see the future being built before their eyes.

In this rich and absorbing book, a distinguished historian of science tells the story of how this future was made. From Charles Babbage’s dream of mechanizing mathematics to Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s tunnel beneath the Thames to George’s Cayley’s fantasies of powered flight and Nikola Tesla’s visions of an electrical world, it is a story of towering personalities, clashing ambitions, furious rivalries and conflicting cultures—a rich tapestry of remarkable lives that transformed the world beyond recognition and ultimately took mankind to the Moon.
Written by Iwan Rhys Morus. Published by Pegasus Books, 2022. Hardcover, 400 pages.