The fascinating, often surprising story of how a simple black rock has altered the course of history. Prized as the best stone in Britain by Roman invaders who carved jewelry out of it, coal has transformed societies, powered navies, fueled ecomies, and expanded frontiers. It made China a twelfth-century superpower, inspired the writing of the Communist Manifesto, and helped the rthern states win the American Civil War.Yet the mundane mineral that built our global ecomy--and even today powers our electrical plants--has also caused death, disease, and environmental destruction. As early as 1306, King Edward I tried to ban coal (unsuccessfully) because its smoke became so obxious. Its recent identification as a primary cause of global warming has made it a cause celebre of a new kind.In this remarkable book, Barbara Freese takes us on a rich historical journey that begins three hundred million years ago and spans the globe. From the Great Stinking Fogs of London to the rat-infested coal mines of Pennsylvania, from the impoverished slums of Manchester to the toxic city streets of Beijing, Coal is a captivating narrative about an ordinary substance that has done extraordinary things--a simple black rock that could well determine our fate as a species.
An Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota for more than twelve years, Barbara Freese helped enforce her state's air pollution laws and along the way became fascinated by coal and the larger story behind the smoke. She lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children. In addition to narrating audiobooks, Shelly Frasier has appeared in many independent film and theater projects in Arizona and southern California and has developed character voices for animation projects and voiceover work for commercials. She trained at the Groundlings Improv School in Hollywood and South Coast Reperatory's Professional Conservatory in Costa Mesa, California. She has performed at theaters throughout North Hollywood and Orange County. Recent performances include Blue Window, The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry, The Haunting of Hill House, and a British farcical version of A Christmas Carol. She resides in Hollywood.