Coal: A Human History

Author(s): Barbara Freese


Coal has transformed societies, and shaped the fate of nations. It launched empires and triggered wars. Above all, it fuelled the Industrial Revolution in Britain, propelling the rise of a small rural kingdom into the greatest commercial empire in the world. Taking us on a rich historical journey that begins on the banks of the river Tyne, Barbara Freese explores the profound role coal has played in human history, and continues to play in today's world. The first half of the book is set in Britain, and tells how coal transformed Britain and ushered in the industrial age. The rest of the book looks at America and China, at the birth of the unions, and the closing of the mines, and at the energy industry today. With oil prices on the rise and no end in sight to our insatiable appetite for energy, the world is turning again to coal. First published 2003.


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A brilliant gem of a book on the small black stone that fuelled the industrial revolution and still powers the world. For fans of Cod and books like Guns, Germs and Steel.

Barbara Freese was Assistant District Attorney in Minnesota for 12 years and is an expert on air pollution laws. Coal is her first book. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her husband and two children.

General Fields

  • : 9780099478843
  • : Penguin Random House
  • : Arrow Books Ltd
  • : January 2006
  • : 198mm X 129mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Barbara Freese
  • : Paperback
  • : New edition
  • : English
  • : 553.24
  • : 320
  • : Social & cultural history; Economic geology; Coal & solid fuel industries
  • : 8