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Nicholas Faith writes for The Independent on Sunday (London) and many other newspapers and magazines. Christian Wolmar is the author of BLOOD, IRON & GOLD, THE SUBTERRANEAN RAILWAY, FIRE & STEAM and ENGINES OF WAR.
Across American praries, through Siberian tundra, over Argentinian pampas and deep into the heart of Africa, the modern world began with the arrival of the railway. The shock was both sudden and universal: railways transformed the world, carrying empire, capitalism and industrialization to every corner of the planet. For some, the 'Iron Road' symbolized the brute horrors of modernity; for others the way toward a brighter future. From 1825, when the first passenger service linked Stockton and Darlington to the outbreak of World War I, Nicholas Faith's book presents a compelling journey through the first century of rail, introducing visionaries, engineers, surveyors, speculators, financiers and navvies - the heroes and the rogues of the mechanical revolution that turned the world upside down.
Across American prairies, through Siberian tundra, over Argentinian pampas and deep into the heart of Africa, the modern world began with the arrival of the railway. The shock was sudden and universal: railways carried empire, capitalism and industrialization to every corner of the planet. For some, the 'Iron Road' symbolized the brute horrors of modernity; for others the way toward a brighter future. From 1825, when the first passenger service linked Stockton and Darlington to the outbreak of World War I, Nicholas Faith presents an engaging and entertaining journey through the first century of rail, introducing visionaries, engineers, surveyors, speculators, financiers and navvies - the heroes and the rogues of the mechanical revolution that turned the world upside down. The railway was the most important invention of the 19th Century, and THE WORLD THE RAILWAYS MADE argues that in the 21st Century, with high speed lines that can compete with air travel and over 190 metro systems in 54 countries underpinning the world's greatest cities, it remains just as relevant.
The Channel Tunnel, has been one of histories most protracted and at times acrimonious, construction projects. From the paranoia of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, when there was a fear that foreign hordes would rush through the tunnel and invade Britain, to the lethargic attempts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, its a miracle, that this great feat of Engineering, was ever constructed at all. Nicholas Faith, has delved into the archives and researched the fascinating truth about this project, that took so long to authorise and construct. The author has found material in the archives, both in Britain and abroad, that has not been previously published or seen, outside a closed group of people.
It is extraordinary enough that one small area in north-eastern France, on the northern edge of Europe's wine-growing regions, should be capable of producing the finest sparkling wine in the world, one of the few worth discussing as a wine and not merely as a sparkling beverage. Yet champagne fascinates not only wine lovers, but also historians - social, economic, political - linguists, physiologists, physicists and chemists. The long-awaited new edition of Nicholas Faith's landmark The story of champagne tells the tale of champagne from the winemakers' point of view. This classic study of the world's greatest wine is a masterpiece of storytelling and analysis that has for decades sent readers away with renewed excitement about the different types of champagne and the landscape, geology and climate that inspire them. The story of champagne explores the history of champagne from its origins in the seventeenth century to the high-tech industry of the twenty-first before examining the wine itself, how it is made, the crus, the vines and the harvest. Faith provides completely up-to-date statistics on wine production and consumption and finishes the book with an all-important evaluation of today's most important producers. The story of champagne is essential reading for anyone interested in the world's most celebrated wine.
This fully revised third edition of Cognac: The story of the world's greatest brandy provides an authoritative account of how the much-loved spirit is produced and matured. Nicholas Faith, the world's leading authority on cognac, explores the reasons for the spirit's complex character, and reveals its fascinating history. Cognac is an extraordinary and unparalleled collection of insights into the world's finest brandy. The first edition of this book, published in 1986, won the Veuve Clicquot award in the US and the Deinhard/Wine Magazine award in Britain. In 2005 the second edition was awarded the Andre Simon prize, Britain's premier wines and spirits writing prize. This new edition includes a fully updated directory of the top producers and their brandies - including the author's tasting notes - and two new sections on tasting and mixing: a selection of cognac cocktails and how to make them, and revelations on the associations made between brandy and food. This completely updated edition of Nicholas Faith's classic guide is a thorough and engaging resource - the essential companion for every cognac enthusiast.
The story of the Bronfman family is a fascinating and improbable saga. It is dominated by "e;Mr. Sam,"e; the single greatest figure in the history of the liquor business, the man who made drinking whiskey respectable in the United States and who in the 1950s and 1960s built Seagram into the first worldwide empire in wine and spirits. After Sam's death in 1971, his oldest son, Edgar, maintained the business, though he was distracted by his matrimonial problems. Nevertheless, in the 1980s he masterminded a major coup when he translated a small investment in oil made by his father into a 25 percent stake in the mighty DuPont company. But in the 1990s, Edgar allowed his second son, Edgar Jr., to indulge his ambition to become a media tycoon. The stake in DuPont was sold, and the money reinvested in Universal, the film and theme-park empire. Edgar Jr. then paid more than $10 billion to buy Polygram Records and thus fulfill his fancy to be king of the world's music business. But at the same time, he remained in charge of the liquor business, which started to stagnate-indeed, to fall apart. Then came the final disaster when the increasingly divided family sold out to Jean-Marie Messier, overreaching empire builder of Vivendi, the French conglomerate. But the story of this amazing family over the past century is about more than booze and business. The Bronfmans is a spectacular account that details the larger-than-life personalities and bitter rivalries that have made the family so famous and, sometimes, so infamous.