It’s a strange thing, writing a book. You come up with an idea; you run it past the publisher – perhaps coming up with a working title. You submit a synopsis with chapters which may or may not have any resemblance to what you eventually write; you start the research; you write the book; you submit the manuscript – and then you wait for many months. It may be a year or even two years from when you started the ball rolling to when the author’s copy finally arrives in your sticky mitts – two years in which you have embarked on other things, perhaps written other books. And in my case you have almost certainly forgotten just about everything you said in the book.
So it was with Trailblazing Georgians: The Unsung Men Who Helped Shape the Modern World – I had first thought of doing this some years back but knew that writing a book about trailblazing men would be seen as sexist and unbalanced. So I slipped in Trailblazing Women first. By the time the male trailblazers saw the light of day I had forgotten what I had written, so I was delighted to see a review of it on Amazon. It is by someone called Amanda Jenkinson – and no, I don’t know her and have no way of thanking her for her perspicacious review, which kindly awarded five stars.
It reads as follows:
I’m always a bit wary of group biographies as sometimes they can be somewhat superficial and reductive, but this one is extremely well-written and manages to be concise yet at the same time comprehensive in each of its potted biographies of the lesser known or nearly forgotten movers and shakers who shaped our modern world, the inventors and industrialists whose names have been overshadowed to some extent by their more renowned peers. This entertaining and informative book is an ideal introduction to the Georgian world and its development and is a great read.
Another review by AliceMaud Mary gives me my five stars and adds:
This is a very readable collection of pen portraits of about 30 lesser-known, forgotten or over-shadowed inventors with a wide variety of interests who were active in the late seventeenth and eighteenth century Britain, the “Age of Enlightenment”.
The passage of time, personal qualities and situation of these men, their contemporaries and, for some, their descendants have not been kind to them; during their life times they did not get much recognition and by now they are largely forgotten. In many instances, for example, contemporary innovators who took advantage of the inventions and were wealthy enough to patent their model had the financial benefit, the fame and, now, have the place in our history books.
It is important to remember that developments in ideas during the Enlightenment were not restricted to certain places, areas of interest nor social groups. One of the most characteristic aspects of that era was the increasing interest in the cross-fertilisation of ideas between people and across places. There were many cogs in that wheel of intellectual, social and practical change; this book outlines some key players that should be added to the conventional hall of fame.
“Trailblazing Georgians” is an ideal introduction for anyone studying Georgian Britain and the Enlightenment. It would be an excellent addition to the history curriculum for UK schools’
I must admit I am horrified at the idea of some poor students doing their History ‘A’ levels having to wade through my handiwork, but as long as they enjoy reading it, why not?
And finally, even I was blushing at this review in Books Monthly:
Another foray into the history of the men who changed lives before the advent of the Victorians. These men were the architects of the industrial revolution and they are remembered and celebrated in grand style in Mike Rendell’s superlative book.
So, I can’t remember much about the book, or who is in it, or why some people were missed off – but I’ll settle for it being superlative! I might even sit down and give it a read….