Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Faster than the rest

OK, so I've finished another book and want to share the joy. In this case, as the picture may just hint at, it is Mallard by Don Hale.

Not just a simple tale of the loco itself and the attaining of the world steam speed record, but a detailed look at the work of Sir Nigel Gresley and the development of his pacific engines. I've always had a soft spot for Mallard and the A4s (I took the photo above back in 2002 before digital so apologies for the quality of the scan) and this was a lovely nostalgic wallow of a read. Not overly technical, but with enough detail to keep the bits of my brain that worry about that sort of thing amused.

A real story of triumph against the odds in some places and also, when placed against the backdrop of the political tensions building in the late '30s, a good stab of patriotism there too without being overt. My only complaint with the book (other than it not being about five times longer!) is the lack of pictures. There are some, but it could use being a fully-illustrated edition. Still, there's always the internet to plug the gaps.

Interestingly, Don Hale was also the subject of a dramatised version of his struggle to win freedom for a wrongly imprisoned man - In Denial Of Freedom - and played by Stephen Tompkinson. We enjoyed that despite the review there!