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Coal Wars: The Future of Energy and the Fate…

Coal Wars: The Future of Energy and the Fate of the Planet

by Richard Martin

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This book is filled with facts and information about why coal is destroying the planet, and also why it is hurting us individuals who live on the planet. There is history, there is state-by-state and country-by-country analysis. And the part I liked best, there are lots of stories about the humans directly involved in coal production, those who profit, those who die, those who know no other way of life and are afraid of seeing that way of life end.

"After years of crawling through dark tunnels to scrape coal out of the earth, miners tend to have plenty of bodily complaints. Many wind up on disability payments, and the physicians of the region have not been stingy in prescribing Oxycodone, Methadone, and Xanax. Kentucky is the fourth-most-medicated state in the country, according to an analysis by Forbes magazine (coal mining states West Virginia and Tennessee are nos. 1 and 2, respectively)."

Given all that, I almost gave up on the book early on. While it is obvious what the author thinks about "coal wars," the beginning was crammed with facts and a bit of histrionics, but not much true heart. Fortunately, that changed as the book went on, but it did not get off to a good start for me.

Of course, there are still the deniers like Mitch McConnell, and the author pulls no punches.

"Big Coal" is slowing down in many areas, but the author makes undeniable points about why slowing down is not enough, why the euphemistic Clean Coal is not the answer. Without truly clean and renewable energy replacing our traditional energy, we are poisoning the planet and ourselves.

While the book is interesting and informative, a subject important to all of us whether we think about it or not, the slow start almost made me give up, and I would have missed some good information. For that reason, I'm giving it 3 stars.

I was given an advance readers copy of the book for review, and the quote may have changed in the published edition. ( )
  TooBusyReading | Mar 28, 2015 |
Richard Martin states right at the start of his book "Coal Wars" his belief that the decline of the coal industry is irreversible. But the industry is not going down without a fight. Even though Martin believes coal needs to go, he has written a balanced overview of the state of the industry. He clearly outlines the pros and cons of coal and the arguments for why we need to continue its use as a source of energy and why it is imperative we find substitutes. He takes the reader on a tour of the key coal producing regions of the world. He reports on his interviews with scientists, environmentalists, industry moguls, coal workers, community activists, and residents of coal towns. More than simply providing the facts about the coal industry and its impact economically and environmentally, Martin tells the human story of coal. He takes the reader into the trenches of the coal wars to understand what is at stake for those who are in the fight. Martin has no doubt the coal industry is dying. What is in question is whether its death will come in time to save the life of the planet. A worthwhile read for anyone concerned about how we source our energy, which should be all of us. ( )
  mitchellray | Mar 8, 2015 |
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A searching examination of the worldwide effort to shut down big coal even as the industry struggles to remain the dominant source of energy.

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