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Coal: a Human History.

COAL: A HUMAN HISTORY. Barbara Freese. 2003. Read by Shelly Frasier. 7 cds. 5 hrs. Tantor Media. 1-4001-0087-9. $39.00. Vinyl; content notes. SA

Freese dramatizes coal as the energy source that fueled England's industrialization, provided power for ships and trains, and led to social upheaval when thousands of families who had lived in the sunshine on farms went to work long hours in dark and dangerous mines and factories. Marx and Engels took note of the abuses. One can almost smell the smoke that at times created iridescent colors in the air and burned the lungs. She moves on to the US where immigrants and the poor, angered by inhuman conditions, misuse of children, and owner greed, organized the United Mine Workers and other labor unions.

Freese visited mines in China and recaps the story of backyard steel furnaces under Mao. She takes a hard look at world pollution and global warming and how chemicals stored underground years ago and now released into the atmosphere are certainly a contributing factor. Coal tends to be invisible today, but it is still the source of much of our electricity.

Reading with clear, crisp enunciation in a deliberate style, Frasier pulls the listener into this absorbing social history of coal. Superb listening for schools and for the general audiobook listener who likes engaging nonfiction.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.

Edna Boardman, Bismarck, ND
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Author:Boardman, Edna
Article Type:Audiobook Review
Date:Sep 1, 2004
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