The Lunar Men: The Friends Who Made the Future
Faber & Faber (UK); Farrar, Straus and Giroux (USA), 2002
‘ A spectacular, epic book… Never has the eighteenth century come so much to life.’ Gaby Wood, Observer
‘A remarkable story of remarkable men, richly detailed and brilliantly told’, New York Times Book Review
‘An absolute wonder of a book, huge in its span and close in its detail’, The Economist
Led by the larger than life Erasmus Darwin, and including the steam engineers Matthew Boulton and James Watt, the chemist and radical preacher Joseph Priestley and the pioneering potter Josiah Wedgwood, the small Lunar Society of Birmingham was a group of amateur experiments who met monthly near the full moon. Echoing to the thud of pistons and the wheeze of engines, this vivid group portrait brings to life the inventors, artisans and tycoons who shaped the modern world.
Winner of the PEN Hessel-Tiltman prize for history, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography
ISBN (hardback) 0571196470; (paperback) 0571216102