The cover bears the legend "His life: his locomotives: his legacy - including the story of the ‘Dean Goods’ at home and at war".
Anyone looking for an in-depth biography along the lines of Adrian Vaughan’s books on Brunel will be disappointed. The biographical information is limited, perhaps because there is not a great deal known about this intensely private man. Never-the-less, what there is in these ten chapters, is interesting and takes pains to dispel some of the negative perceptions of the man promoted by other authors. Much of it was new to me.
The book is meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated with excellent quality, captioned, photographs on good quality paper. Written in an easy style in good English, it is, despite its technicality, not tedious to read.
I did not spot any typographical errors either, which indicates that it has been put together using high production values; that justifies the price in my view.
It probably represents the definitive work on the Dean Goods and offers much information about the class’s wartime records in both world wars. It also gives, for this reader anyway, a good chronology of the development of Dean’s engines. I have not tried to cross reference this to the RCTS’s ‘bible’ but the author appears to have done so.
The author deals with the transition to Churchward well and suggests that Dean stayed pretty much in command until very near his retirement. There is too some interesting analysis of the problems Dean faced due to the financial restraints under which he had to operate.
There are nine appendices totalling some 29 pages dealing with boiler histories, experiments, convertible engines, ROD’s, shed allocations, withdrawals and the tank versus tender engine debate.
A book I think that belongs on the shelves of any serious devotee of the Great Western and, probably essential for anyone building models of Dean's Goods engines. My only, minor, quibble is that it contains no index. Highly recommended.