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One of the joys of the festive season is receiving new books and having time to read them.
Assuming they are average size books it's a reasonable ambition to get through them before going back to work - but the one I was given is very far from average.
I've only managed to get through a couple of chapters, as far in the story as the introduction of the Small England engines, but already I am hugely impressed.
It's clear that a tremendous amount of research has been done by a the authors with lots of new information collated and reinterpreted.
What's struck me most is the way they are giving us the big picture and not confining themselves to a dry and purely technical history of the locomotives.
This book also delves into the social history surrounding the railway and the personalities behind it - I had no idea that Robert Francis Fairlie was such a cad or the machinations of the very Victorian George England.
The book is not cheap, and it weighs a ton, but it is a very impressive piece of work and comes highly recommended.
This article first appeared on bronhebog.blogspot.com
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