Iron is everywhere around us and within us. It is vital to organisms – it colours our blood as well as the earth. We admire people with an iron constitution and a steely determination, and almost everything we do involves iron and steel in some form. Yet we hardly seem to realise how reliant on this ancient metal we are. Without iron there would be no cars, no cargo ships, no railways. Most bridges and buildings would crumble. Agriculture would have stayed small and we would have had no Industrial Revolution. There would be no energy networks, no elevators, no oyster-shucking, no piano music... And paints would not have become what they are today. This book describes the fascinating life of iron and our life with iron and steel, from the earliest days of our planet to our growing ironworking techniques and the miracles that are achieved through metallurgy today. It delves into an exceptional combination of qualities no other material offers us and shows us why, through millenia of rust, recycling and reinvention, this tough stuff continues to reveal enormous potential for our world and our future.

With a foreword by Ratan N. Tata

ISBN 978 90 811850 5 9 English

ISBN 978 90 811850 6 6 Dutch

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Gorgeous book, fascinating background information, stunning photos. One to have and to hold.

– 'Windekind', Limburg, on

Whenever anyone asks me why I am so passionate about this material, I now point them to this book. It reflects the magic and the versatility of it so wonderfully.

– Klaas, blacksmith and restorer, Antwerp

This is the future of the 'coffee table book'. It is as well-researched and thrilling to read as it is beautiful.

– Lance, financier, London