Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Peter Martin

Home and Away

Pages: 258 Ratings: 5.0
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Home and Away – A Civil Engineering Odyssey draws on the author’s long career as an engineer responsible for many projects around the world. In the memoir he highlights some of those projects with descriptions of the design processes and the construction methods used to bring the works to successful completion, keeping technical detail to the minimum needed for the reader’s understanding of the projects. Personal reminiscences of his travels complement descriptions of life as an engineer.


Developments in analysis of structures during the author’s working life have enabled all manner of structures to be designed to display elegance of form in a natural way without unnecessary embellishment. Practising engineers understand the satisfaction to be found in designing such engineering works and seeing them built as they envisaged. It is hoped the author’s enthusiasm for his work as expressed in the memoir may inspire others to become the civil engineers of the future.

Peter Martin worked as a professional civil engineer for over 50 years starting in the days when calculations were carried out with the aid of slide rules and 7-figure log tables. During his career he designed and supervised construction of many bridges and harbour works in the UK and throughout the Far East, SE Asia, and Africa, living in the East with his family for 12 years. He has three grown-up sons and six grandchildren and now lives in a village near Glasgow where he attempts to keep the garden in some sort of order.

Customer Reviews
5.0
2 reviews
2 reviews
  • Patrick C AUGUSTIN FIEM, PEng, FICE, CEng, FIStructE, Chartered Structural Engineer

    Home and Away is a recollection of a Civil Engineering career that spans mostly the British Commonwealth countries as well as the development of friendships and family.

    Peter's Engineering Designs progressed from slide rule , electronic calculators and on to computers.

    This book is also accessible to the general reader. My wife, an English Arts major, enjoyed reading it as it was well crafted.
    Peter traces his career from finishing school and then earning his degree in Scotland. His choice was influenced by his father who was a Merchant Marine Officer who saw the works of British Engineers and Contractors around the world in the 1940s through the 60s. His uncle, a Laird, had an admiration for Engineers.

    Peter Martin's book does not set out to educate or teach. The joy and satisfaction of a fruitful career shines through.

    The insight for Engineers and others, that comes across in the book is, you make your own career. A career only becomes rewarding when you have been continuously applying yourself and accumulating the lessons learned consciously or unconsciously to make the next project better. Your career is not a job. It is a calling that you may come to realise later, when you have given yourself to it: a vocation. The accumulated lessons had become his entire career's Continuing Professional Development. Tilbury Docks Floodgate and Smith Quay are just two examples of a life long CPD.
    Immersing himself in the project landscape brought joy in a small way , he could see a way to harness the power of nature in a way that would benefit society ..my paraphrasing [ "Engineering is the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man." - Thomas Tredgold ]. . Each completed project sometimes wrestled from difficulties or near failure, brings it own satisfaction. He did not tire of seeing the good outcomes the projects brought. The Trunk Road in Hong Kong and Kinabatangan in Sabah comes to mind. The unsuccessful bid for work in Bhutan showed great potential which was unfortunately taken up by an Australian firm.

    Peter had all of the above and also a successful family. Peter remarked that his career would not count for beans if there was no Margo by his side throughout the years to share the joy and companionship. Then came the three boys, David , John and Steven. All stalwart young men with families of their own.

    It is a very well written book. The layering of people, work, places and the projects in sentences is effortless.
    Peter's recollection is remarkable in, a career spanning almost 5 decades. His thoughts about the future of civil engineering contract management is moot. The role of the Civil Engineer has been diminished in the new forms of civil engineering contract management. The promise of better delivery has not materialised.

    His book is well worth the read. With Google Maps at your fingertips, you can travel around the world in time. What a privilege to share this adventure.

    I met Peter Martin in September 1981 when I was seconded into his team in Kuala Lumpur for the Sabah Rural Trunk Roads. I designed several small steel bridges under his guidance. He was open and easy to work for. In the January of 1982 , Margo , David and John attended my wedding to my wife Philomena. Over the years we remained friends and sometimes collaborated on work. I had the pleasure of meeting Peter in Singapore in February of this year ; forty two years of a wonderful friendship.

  • Ir. Patrick C AUGUSTIN

    Peter's Engineering Designs progressed from slide rules, electronic calculators, and to computers.
    This book is also accessible to the general reader. My wife, an English Arts major, enjoyed reading it as it was well crafted.

    Peter traces his career from finishing school and then earning his degree in Scotland. His choice was influenced by his father who was a Merchant Marine Officer who saw the works of British Engineers and Contractors around the world in the 1940s through the 60s. His uncle, a Laird, had an admiration for Engineers. He was also influenced by the owner of an estate in Perthshire for whom his uncle worked as head gamekeeper, the “Laird”, himself a civil engineer, who had won the MC in a bridging operation under fire in the Second World War.

    Peter Martin's book does not set out to educate or teach. The joy and satisfaction of a fruitful career shine through.
    The insight for Engineers and others, that comes across in the book is, you make your own career. A career only becomes rewarding when you have been continuously applying yourself and accumulating the lessons learned consciously or unconsciously to make the next project better. Your career is not a job. It is a calling that you may come to realize later when you have given yourself to it: a vocation. The accumulated lessons had become his entire career's Continuing Professional Development. Tilbury Docks Floodgate and Smith Quay are just two examples of a lifelong CPD.

    Immersing himself in the project landscape brought joy in a small way, he could see a way to harness the power of nature in a way that would benefit society .. [ "Engineering is the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man." - Thomas Tredgold ]. Each completed project sometimes wrestled from difficulties or near failure, brings its own satisfaction. He did not tire of seeing the good outcomes the projects brought. The Trunk Road in Hong Kong and Kinabatangan in Sabah come to mind. The unsuccessful bid for work in Bhutan showed great potential which was unfortunately taken up by an Australian firm.

    Peter had all of the above and also a successful family. Peter remarked that his career would not count for beans if there was no Margo by his side throughout the years to share the joy and companionship. Then came the three boys, David, John, and Steven. All stalwart young men with families of their own.

    Peter's recollection is remarkable in, a career spanning almost 5 decades. With Google Maps at your fingertips, you can travel around the world in time. What a privilege to share this adventure. His thoughts about the future of civil engineering contract management are moot. The role of the Civil Engineer has been diminished in the new forms of civil engineering contract management. Costs have multiplied with no discernable improvement in quality. The promise of better delivery has also not materialized.

    I met Peter Martin in September 1981 when I was seconded into his team in Kuala Lumpur for the Sabah Rural Trunk Roads. I designed several small steel bridges under his guidance. He was open and easy to work for. In the January of 1982, Margo, David, and John attended my wedding to my wife Philomena. Over the years we remained friends and sometimes collaborated on work. I had the pleasure of meeting Peter in Singapore in February of this year; forty-two years of a wonderful friendship.

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