In Coal in Our Veins, Erin Thomas employs historical
research, autobiography, and journalism to intertwine the history
of coal, her ancestors' lives mining coal, and the societal and
environmental impacts of the United States' dependency on coal as
an energy source. In the first part of her book, she visits Wales,
native ground of British coal mining and of her emigrant ancestors.
The Thomases' move to the coal region of Utah-where they witnessed
the Winter Quarters and Castle Gate mine explosions, two of the
worst mining disasters in American history-and the history of coal
development in Utah form the second part.
Then Thomas investigates coal mining and communities in West
Virginia, near her East Coast home, looking at the Sago Mine
collapse and more widespread impacts of mining, including
population displacement, mountain top removal, coal dust dispersal,
and stream pollution, flooding, and decimation. The book's final
part moves from Washington D.C.-and an examination of coal, CO2,
and national energy policy-back to Utah, for a tour of a coal mine,
and a consideration of the Crandall Canyon mine cave-in, back to
Wales and the closing of the oldest operating deep mine in the
world and then to a look at energy alternatives, especially wind
power, in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Subjects: Language & Literature, Education
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