Coal: A Human History

Freese, Barbara | from Multimedia Library Collection:
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Coal: A Human History. Cover.

Freese, Barbara. Coal: A Human History. New York: Penguin Books, 2004.

Barbara Freese takes us on a rich historical journey that begins hundreds of millions of years ago and spans the globe. Prized as “the best stone in Britain” by Roman invaders who carved jewelry out of it, coal has transformed societies, expanded frontiers, and sparked social movements, and still powers our electric grid. Yet coal’s world-changing power has come at a tremendous price, including centuries of blackening our skies and lungs—and now the dangerous warming of our global climate. Ranging from the “great stinking fogs” of London to the rat-infested coal mines of Pennsylvania, from the impoverished slums of Manchester to the toxic streets of Beijing, Coal is a captivating narrative about an ordinary substance with an extraordinary impact on human civilization. (Source: Penguin Books)

Further readings: 
  • Jevons, William Stanley. The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of our Coal-Mines. 2nd, rev. edition. London: Macmillan, 1866. E-book
  • Clark, Brett, and John Bellamy Foster. "William Stanley Jevons and 'The Coal Question': An Introduction to Jevons’s 'Of the Economy of Fuel'." Organization & Environment 14 (2001): 93–8.