History Books

Garfield, Simon: The Last Journey of William Huskisson (9043)

Faber & Faber 1st 2002
8vo M/F 380 gms
(Order reference 9043).

‘The engine attained the speed of 35 miles per hour, which made it the fastest train in the world. Unaware of the incident, vast crowds of onlookers waved heartily as the calamity rattled past...’

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was the greatest engineering feat of its age. George and Robert Stephenson's Rocket was to become the most famous locomotive in history. William Huskisson was one of the greatest statesmen of his generation, and certainly the most accident prone.

On 15 September 1830, the three met for the first time.

Huskisson's fateful accident, in which the Rocket crushed his leg and thigh, is an unforgettable image of the Industrial Revolution. But what really happened on that day? How did the opening of the world's first passenger railway turn from a glorious morning into a tragic afternoon?

The Last Journey of William Huskisson is a wonderfully entertaining tale of ambition, genius, rivalry and legend, plotting the eight~year struggle to build a railway with a cast of engineers, politicians, actresses, surgeons, socialites and breathtaking machines. It is a loud and evocative snapshot of the times, but above all it is a deeply affecting human story of one man's shocking and very gory demise.

This is an uncorrected proof copy