Gavin Weightman

Roads to Glory

Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain


Bloomsbury 416pp £25 order from our bookshop

In Man of Iron, his affectionate life of the Scottish engineer Thomas Telford, Julian Glover seeks a guiding hand and spiritual companion to his own endeavours as a promoter of more efficient transport and cutter of red tape. Glover, a former speechwriter for David Cameron, was a political adviser on the High Speed Two (HS2) project and reckons Telford ‘would have understood the dilemmas, insisted on innovation and elegant design and known how to work the parliamentary system’. Whereas HS2 is Glover’s great project, Telford’s was the new road to Holyhead and the bridge over the Menai Strait. Never the twain shall meet.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • He weeps by the side of the ocean, He weeps on the top of the hill; He purchases pancakes and lotion, And chocolate… ,
    • 'Half-way through The Conquest of Water I felt as if I had been subjected to the literary equivalent of excessive c… ,
    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,