This volume is a study in words and pictures of one of the greatest changes in society in the history of the world - the Industrial Revolution which began in 18th-century Britain. It is a story of contrasts - of man's inventive skill and the suffering and cruelty that stemmed from it.
The Industrial Revolution was one of the greatest changes in the history of society. It transformed Britain's "green and pleasant land" from an agricultural world into one dominated by machinery: spinning and weaving were mechanized; roads, railways and canals spread across the country; mining and factories wiped out the cottage industries and eroded a rural way of life for ever. Man's immense inventiveness and skill also created appalling suffering and cruelty, sacrificing humanity for profit in a society riven with inequalities that remian today. Yet, as the photographs in this book show, the "dark, satanic mills" and machines that changed the world are brilliantly, often beautifully designed, and the industrial landscape is haunting in its vast, imposing grandeur. Combined with lively writing and dramatic historical accounts, they transport our imaginations back to the revolutionary age of smoke and steam.