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

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006 - Business & Economics - 324 pages
3 Reviews
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - andrearules - LibraryThing

This book inspired my Master's Thesis on abandoned mine remediation in Pennsylvania. It is wonderfully written and conveys the reality of coal and its impact. A must read for those who care about the environment and energy. And those who don't. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

A good introduction to the problems of coal-burning in the United States. The author traces coal from the mine to the power plant, even riding on a coal train with a large load of coal moving west from Wyoming. An informative adventure story. Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2006)

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.

Bibliographic information