Extended Audio Sample

Download Coal: A Human History Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Coal: A Human History Audiobook, by Barbara Freese Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (643 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Barbara Freese Narrator: Shelly Frasier Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2003 ISBN: 9781400170876
Regular Price: $16.99 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

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 economies, and expanded frontiers. It made China a twelfth-century superpower, inspired the writing of the Communist Manifesto, and helped the northern states win the American Civil War. Yet the mundane mineral that built our global economy—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 obnoxious. Its recent identification as a primary cause of global warming has made it a cause célèbre 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. Download and start listening now!

bdex

Quotes & Awards

  • Shelly Frasier reads in an even, unhurried rhythm that captures the authorial personality with its authority, light touch, and humor intact. AudioFile
  • “Engrossing and sometimes stunning…[A] strongly argued and thoroughly researched book…Coal, to borrow a phrase, is king.”

    New York Times

  • “Part history and part environmental argument, Freese’s elegant book teaches an important lesson about the interdependence of humans and their natural environment both for good and ill throughout history.”

    Puiblishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/20/2014

    " What do you think about "Clean Coal"? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 2/18/2014

    " I read the book but the book option didn't have a photo. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick | 2/13/2014

    " Brian, you might be coaled out, what with you reading that other tome on the subject, but this is a really fascinating book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ingrid | 2/10/2014

    " Thought it was very informational. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 2/4/2014

    " All about coal, what it is good for, what it does for us, how it looks, how it burns, how it is mined... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carrie R | 2/2/2014

    " Interesting history of coal mining in America "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lyn | 2/1/2014

    " We are still a lot more reliant on coal than I had realized. This book was historically interesting and environmentally alarming. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brett | 1/28/2014

    " This is an insightful read to a natural resource that has changed the world for the worst. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Caitlin | 1/13/2014

    " Not awful, but not what I expected and not enough hard information. The last fourth of the book is entirely devoted to climate change and soft speculation about the future. Also a bit dated - I think it came out in 2002. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Wendy | 1/10/2014

    " yes its about COAL, but very fascinating, "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Koo | 12/27/2013

    " Great read on the history of coal. Much, much more interesting than it sounds. The cover photo is heartbreaking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Converse | 12/10/2013

    " Coal use from ancient China, to today's China, with longer sections on Britain & USA. Lots on envrionmental problems, befitting author's background as environmental lawyer in Minnesota "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Annea | 12/3/2013

    " Remarkable social history of this fossil fuel villain. It was amazing to learn that the downsides of burning coal was apparent in the very beginning of it's use. Very accessible writing, thorough treatment of the subject. Highly recommended. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aj | 8/30/2013

    " Not as dry as I was expecting. But I wish the section on China had been a little more fleshed out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 7/9/2013

    " Interesting look on how the trajectory of man completely changed by the discovery and manipulation of coal. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dan Piette | 12/6/2012

    " Short, mundane study about coal "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maggie | 11/11/2012

    " See my review in 2005 Magill's Literary Annual. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 JuliAnna | 10/9/2012

    " Gets off to a great start! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Debbie | 8/8/2012

    " A few interesting tidbits, but nothing to rave about. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kurt Kellersberger | 6/1/2012

    " Very insightful as to how coal has impacted human history around the globe as it was used, banned, used, banned...etc. Its importance and usefulness is described in relation to the cost it exacts on humanity. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darlene | 3/26/2012

    " Timely information for our current concerns regarding global warming. Well researched and written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joshua Parkinson | 9/5/2011

    " Fascinating book so far... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marsmannix | 7/5/2011

    " a book about coal and human society "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 6/3/2011

    " A great treatise on a natural resource that has and will continue to play a major role in world politics and people's lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 4/11/2010

    " just finished this. Excellent history and good read "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Converse | 4/1/2010

    " Coal use from ancient China, to today's China, with longer sections on Britain & USA. Lots on envrionmental problems, befitting author's background as environmental lawyer in Minnesota
    "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Caitlin | 8/31/2009

    " Not awful, but not what I expected and not enough hard information. The last fourth of the book is entirely devoted to climate change and soft speculation about the future. Also a bit dated - I think it came out in 2002. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Narrator

Shelly Frasier has appeared in many independent film and theater projects in Arizona and Southern California and has done voice-over work for commercials and animation projects. She trained at the Groundlings Improv School in Hollywood and South Coast Repertory’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.