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Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future

by

Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future Cover

ISBN13: 9780618319404
ISBN10: 0618319409
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:


In the tradition of Rachel Carson and Eric Schlosser, the veteran journalist Jeff Goodell examines the danger behind President George W. Bush's recent assertion that coal is America's economic destiny.

Despite a devastating, century-long legacy that has claimed millions of lives and ravaged the environment, coal has become hot again, and will likely get hotter. In this penetrating analysis, Goodell debunks the faulty assumptions underlying coal's revival and shatters the myth of cheap coal energy. In a compelling blend of hard-hitting investigative reporting, history, and industry assessment, Goodell illuminates the stark economic imperatives America faces and the collusion of business and politics (what is meant by big coal) that have set us on the dangerous course toward reliance on this energy source.

Few of us realize that even today we burn a lump of coal every time we flip on a switch. Coal already supplies more than half the energy needed to power our iPods, laptops, lights: anything we use that consumes electricity. Our desire to find a homegrown alternative to Mideast oil, the rising cost of oil and natural gas, and the fossil fuel-friendly mood in Washington will soon push our coal consumption through the roof. Because we have failed to develop alternative energy sources, coal has effectively become the default fuel for the twenty-first century.

Review:

"After a generation out of the spotlight, coal has reasserted its centrality: the United States 'burn[s] more than a billion tons' per year, and since 9/11 and the Iraq war, independence from foreign oil has become positively patriotic. Rolling Stone contributing editor Goodell's last book, the bestselling Our Story, was about a mine accident, which clearly made a deep impression on him. Our reliance on coal — the unspoken foundation of our 'information' economy — has, Goodell says, led to an 'empire of denial' that blocks us from the investments necessary to find alternative energy sources that could eventually save us from fossil fuel. Goodell's description of the mining-related deaths, the widespread health consequences of burning coal and the impact on our planet's increasingly fragile ecosystem make for compelling reading, but such commonplace facts are not what lift this book out of the ordinary. That distinction belongs to Goodell's fieldwork, which takes him to Atlanta, West Virginia, Wyoming, China and beyond — though he also has a fine grasp of the less tangible niceties of the industry. Goodell understands how mines, corporate boardrooms, commodity markets and legislative chambers interrelate to induce a national inertia. Goodell has a talent for pithy argument — and the book fairly crackles with informed conviction. (June 8)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In January, the nation watched, transfixed, as 13 coal miners were trapped underground at West Virginia's Sago mine, only to learn that all but one had perished. That same month, four other men lost their lives in Appalachian mines. Five more miners were killed in May in an underground blast in southeastern Kentucky, bringing this year's fatalities to more than 30 and adding to a mining-related death... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Goodell injects relevant statistics...that effectively personalize the reader's connection to an industry most ignore until a power outage." Booklist

Review:

"Without overloading the reader...Goodell does a first-rate job of balancing environmental concerns with interviews from the human faces associated with 'Big Coal'....Highly recommended..." Library Journal

Review:

"Goodell is right to say that the coal economy is little documented and not well understood, but his book makes a welcome corrective. Eye-opening and provocative." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Mr. Goodell, in this well-written, timely and powerful book, makes it crystal clear what the stakes are." William Grimes, The New York Times

Synopsis:

Long dismissed as a relic of a bygone era, coal is back — with a vengence. Coal is one of the nation's biggest and most influential industries — Big Coal provides more than half the electricity consumed by Americans today — and its dominance is growing, driven by rising oil prices and calls for energy independence. Is coal the solution to America's energy problems?

On close examination, the glowing promise of coal quickly turns to ash. Coal mining remains a deadly and environmentally destructive industry. Nearly forty percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year comes from coal-fired power plants. In the last two decades, air pollution from coal plants has killed more than half a million Americans. In this eye-opening call to action, Goodell explains the costs and consequences of America's addiction to coal and discusses how we can kick the habit.

About the Author

Jeff Goodell is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Our Story: 77 Hours That Tested Our Friendship and Our Faith, based on the terrifying hours nine Quecreek miners spent trapped underground; he appeared on Oprah to talk with the miners about their experience. Goodell's first book, The Cyberthief and the Samurai, was about the hunt for the notorious computer hacker Kevin Mitnick. His memoir, Sunnyvale: The Rise and Fall of a Silicon Valley Family, was a New York Times Notable Book.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

I THE DIG
1. The Saudi Arabia of Coal 3
2. Coal Colonies 21
3. Dogholes 48
4. The Carbon Express 74

II THE BURN
5. Infinite Needs 97
6. The Big Dirty 119
7. “A Citizen Wherever We Serve” 147

III THE HEAT
8. Reversal of Fortune 173
9. The Coal Rush 202
10. The Frontier 226

Epilogue: An Empire of Denial 249
Acknowledgments 259
Notes 263
Index 297

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

earthfirst, November 21, 2006 (view all comments by earthfirst)
While yuppies feel good about driving electic cars, they don't realize that coal probably is used to light their mega mansions. Dirty, dangerous to remove from mother earth, and environmentally UNFRIENDLY, coal is by far the most used energy product in America. An eye opening book on our shameful hoggish consumption of fossil fuels. Oink, oink.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(31 of 45 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780618319404
Subtitle:
The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future
Author:
Goodell, Jeff
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Geology
Subject:
Energy
Subject:
Coal mines and mining
Subject:
Energy minerals.
Subject:
Industries - Energy Industries
Subject:
Earth Sciences - Geology
Subject:
Coal trade -- United States.
Subject:
Coal mines and mining -- United States.
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
June 2006
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
6.00 x 9.00 in.

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Related Subjects

Business » General
Science and Mathematics » Energy » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Alternative Energy
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Energy

Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$11.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Houghton Mifflin Company - English 9780618319404 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "After a generation out of the spotlight, coal has reasserted its centrality: the United States 'burn[s] more than a billion tons' per year, and since 9/11 and the Iraq war, independence from foreign oil has become positively patriotic. Rolling Stone contributing editor Goodell's last book, the bestselling Our Story, was about a mine accident, which clearly made a deep impression on him. Our reliance on coal — the unspoken foundation of our 'information' economy — has, Goodell says, led to an 'empire of denial' that blocks us from the investments necessary to find alternative energy sources that could eventually save us from fossil fuel. Goodell's description of the mining-related deaths, the widespread health consequences of burning coal and the impact on our planet's increasingly fragile ecosystem make for compelling reading, but such commonplace facts are not what lift this book out of the ordinary. That distinction belongs to Goodell's fieldwork, which takes him to Atlanta, West Virginia, Wyoming, China and beyond — though he also has a fine grasp of the less tangible niceties of the industry. Goodell understands how mines, corporate boardrooms, commodity markets and legislative chambers interrelate to induce a national inertia. Goodell has a talent for pithy argument — and the book fairly crackles with informed conviction. (June 8)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Goodell injects relevant statistics...that effectively personalize the reader's connection to an industry most ignore until a power outage."
"Review" by , "Without overloading the reader...Goodell does a first-rate job of balancing environmental concerns with interviews from the human faces associated with 'Big Coal'....Highly recommended..."
"Review" by , "Goodell is right to say that the coal economy is little documented and not well understood, but his book makes a welcome corrective. Eye-opening and provocative."
"Review" by , "Mr. Goodell, in this well-written, timely and powerful book, makes it crystal clear what the stakes are."
"Synopsis" by ,
Long dismissed as a relic of a bygone era, coal is back — with a vengence. Coal is one of the nation's biggest and most influential industries — Big Coal provides more than half the electricity consumed by Americans today — and its dominance is growing, driven by rising oil prices and calls for energy independence. Is coal the solution to America's energy problems?

On close examination, the glowing promise of coal quickly turns to ash. Coal mining remains a deadly and environmentally destructive industry. Nearly forty percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year comes from coal-fired power plants. In the last two decades, air pollution from coal plants has killed more than half a million Americans. In this eye-opening call to action, Goodell explains the costs and consequences of America's addiction to coal and discusses how we can kick the habit.

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