Skip to main content
Cover for Big Coal

Big Coal

The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future

Jeff Goodell


List Price: 25.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (4/3/2007)


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.

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

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

Fiery and committed The New York Times Book Review

The hidden truth about coal is what Jeff Goodell is after in his groundbreaking book.

[Goodell] turns the light on the coal industry as he tracks the black rock on a bracing, eye-opening journey.

Big Coal gives its readers a clear sense of the tradeoffs we face in our feverish quest for inexpensive energy… The Washington Post

Goodell has a talent for pithy argument - and the book fairly crackles with informed conviction.
Publishers Weekly, Starred

Eye-opening and provocative Kirkus Reviews, Starred

Goodell does a first-rate job of balancing environmental concerns with interviews from the human faces associated with "Big Coal" Library Journal

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780618319404, 352pp.

Publication Date: June 1, 2006