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The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World by Jenny Uglow
In the 1760s, five men formed the Lunar Society of Birmingham (so called because it met at each full moon) and kick-started the Industrial Revolution. They were James Watt of steam engine fame, toymaker Matthew Boulton, the potter Josiah Wedgwood; the larger-than-life Erasmus Darwin, physician, poet, inventor, and theorist of evolution (a forerunner of his grandson Charles), and Joseph Priestley, discoverer of oxygen. These amateur experimenters from humble origins changed the face of the world as we know it. Jenny Uglow's The Lunar Men is part biography, part history, and part science textbook. The Washington Post calls it "a book you can live in for a month or longer."
Winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography