I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
This is a global trip that takes us first to England, then to India and finally America. All the while sowing the seeds of why coal came to be used so frequently and why we would not be enjoying the use of our computers, wearing our colorful clothes or simply being fat and satisfied. This is the history of Industrialization itself. It made me realize that bigger countries or countries with the right resources have an unfair advantage. Coal is not the cleanest of fuels, but it is cheap and abundant in some places and after the English cut down trees to build house and simply keep warm they needed an alternate source of heat. Perhaps America became such a revered place after the discovery of what coal could do for it. A combination of things occurred to position the country for greatness. Coal was certainly the fuel for that abundance.
From the Carboniferous to the present. A thoughtful look at our relationship with the substance that brought us into the modern age but has a potentially disastrous downside. A wonderful social, scientific, and technological history. Great book for young adults too.
This was a revealing, insightful book that was well narrated. The subject makes it hard to listen to but the narration along with the content made it a compelling listen.
VERY INTERESTING! Enjoyed the history, but I fast-forwarded through dinosaur period. Found the Middle Ages and the history of London to be wonderful. Amazing detail of mechanical & hydrological engineering. Mining, child labor, social and health consequences,
Did get a little preach-y near the end. But would recommend to another history lover!
Voracious reader since age 2. I give unbiased reviews in all genres: history, mystery, bios, crime, sci-fi - from front to BLACK!
This is a ponderous account about COAL and its effect on the environment - not about the people who were impacted by it. Judging from the cover, I though I would learn about the human beings who worked in the mines - not about a black piece of rock. The cover should have had a piece of coal with a baseball hat on backwards and a heavy gold chain around its neck saying "Coal Rules". If you have a term paper about coal, just coal, and nothing else but coal, this is your resource.
Interesting, but heavy on the environmental impact of coal use. Also weighted towards the social and cultural impact of coal on western civilization in the industrial and post-industrial age. Lighter on the technical and mechanical impact and uses. Pretty good overall, but not compelling.
Somehow, I expected this book to do for coal what Mark Kurlansky's excellent book did for salt. However, it fell far short.
To her credit, the author is very up-front about her bias and her political agenda. Her interest in the subject grew out of her involvement in litigation concerning coal, environmental problems and global warming and the book is not disguised in its point of view. If you expect a vivid and detailed history without an agenda, this is not your book. If you don't mind picking through the point of view, it has some nuggets of interest.
Unfortunately, the reviews did not give much of a clue.
If you're an Al Gore fan you will love this book. It has little to do with the actual history of coal but elaborates on all the nasty side effects that have occurred during it's evolution as a source of energy. The history of coal? No. Politically correct? Yes.
Author Barbara Freese was intrigued by the subject of coal and passed her interest on to us in this book of the history of coal and how it effected the course of human history. I couldn't put it down!