- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (September 30, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415935229
- ISBN-13: 978-0415935227
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,497,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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In the Kingdom of Coal: An American Family and the Rock That Changed the World 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
"Coal," writes former Wall Street Journal reporter Rottenberg (Revolution on Wall Street), has been "the critical force driving the modern world for the past two centuries." Rottenberg tries, with varying success, to animate that history with a well-written account of two families tied together by the busts and booms of the coal industry as it evolved from an almost agricultural endeavor in the late 18th century into a highly mechanized but physically and financially dangerous modern corporate enterprise. One family, the Leisenrings, owned and operated major American mining companies for five generations. The second family, the Givenses, worked the mines of eastern Virginia for most of the 20th century. Rottenberg's background as a financial writer stands him in good stead as he skillfully traces the relationship between technical advances that made coal a more economically feasible source of energy and the infrastructure changes (canals and later railroads) that facilitated the movement of coal. His treatment of larger events the unionization of manufacturing industries, the Great Depression, WWII and the Vietnam War expands the book's reach to reflect factors that influenced all of American industry. Rottenberg's access to materials about the Leisenrings enlivens his discussion of the corporate side of the coal equation. His account of the Givens family, whose lifestyle and culture are not as well documented, is less engaging. Rottenberg is particularly good on the rise and fall of the United Mine Workers and its charismatic union icon John L. Lewis and his successor, Tony Boyle, who was convicted of the murder of union rival Jack Yablonski.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"In a superb balancing act, Dan Rottenberg deftly portrays the quixotic tycoons who were determined to succeed at any cost while keeping the reader attuned to how this black substance literally revolutionized American society. There is backroom intrigue involving the likes of Carnegie, Frick, and Rockefeller; bloody warfare between capital and labor; and political shenanigans that reverberate today. With diligent research, personal insight, and spirited language, Rottenberg transforms the machinations driving the coal industry into a raucous and lively ride through history."
-Peter Krass, author of "Carnegie
"This is two histories for the price of one: a history of America's most abundant and important natural resource and a history of the people it has warmed, made rich, and used up. Both are great tales well told.."
-James T. Baker, author of "Andrew Carnegie: Robber Baron as American Hero
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Top customer reviews
There is no real political slant to this - just history. Like it or not, coal has been one of the major factors in our technological and lifestyle progress. The history of the rock in Pennsylvania (hard and soft coat) as well as some of the big finds in VA. are detailed here.
I read a lot of boring history books to gleam information. This was not one of those boring books. Exciting and informative was how I would describe it.