Richard Trevithick’s ‘Cornish engine’ was the world’s first self-propelled steam vehicle. His ‘Penydarren engine’ was the world’s first railway engine. But despite his towering historic achievements, fame and fortune obstinately eluded him. An often reckless yet truly brilliant engineer, he died in poverty and relative obscurity. Anthony Burton’s biography however rightly recognises him as one of the most remarkable figures in the history of the industrial revolution. His extraordinary and varied career, which took him from his native Cornwall to London, and then on to seventeen years of picaresque adventuring in South America, makes for wonderfully lively reading. Filled with dozens of illustrations and photographs, Richard Trevithick is a highly enjoyable, well researched biography that dissects the turbulent world of the industrial revolution.