Coal Black Heart

Coal Black Heart

The Story of Coal and the Lives It Ruled

Book - 2009
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A major new work of history, told through the stories of a teeming cast of characters. The history of coal is the story of the last two centuries of the industrialized world. Coal has powered that world, and controlled the destinies of millions. And nowhere has that influence run more deeply than in Nova Scotia, where the industry's rise and decline has transformed society twice. Coal Black Heart is a global history that centres unapologetically on one province, and the generations of people whose lives there have been shaped by this dominating industry. There are the miners. There are the moonshiners and brooding social reformers and charismatic preachers who gave the mining towns their particular feel and flair. And there are the profiteers whose greed led to disaster. This is history as great storytelling - enthralling, involving, deeply moving, and it is a very personal narrative. A brilliant reporter, journalist, and author who has spent most of his career examining Nova Scotia's weave of land, people, and history - and who grew up listening to its stories - John DeMont was born to write this book.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2009.
ISBN: 9780385665049
Branch Call Number: 338.272409716 D384
Characteristics: 335 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.


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Feb 04, 2014

Coal Black Heart: the Story of Coal and the Lives ir Ruled --- by John Demont. What a surprise this book turned out to be. A very pleasant one. This book was not, as I expected, the tale of coal in Appalachia. In fact, it turned out to be that rarity: a Canadian book about a Canadian topic, one that might have been subtitled “…and the Lives it Ruled in Nova Scotia.” Demont’s book is the story of the rise and fall of coal in Nova Scotia and, incidentally, the story of the author’s ancestors. It start when the eminent Geologist, Charles Lyell verifies the extensiveness of the carbon deposits in Nova Scotia and it ends with the closing of the last coal mine in the province. It is the story of immigrants from England and Scotland, Italy and Poland who stream to Springhill and Glace Bay to labour in the mines. It is the story of men who wrest coal in the deep. It is the story of men who die in the mines from the damp and the “big bump”. It is the story of pit ponies that never see the light of day and the boys who push carts heavy with coal. It is the story of promise that somehow continues to elude Nova Scotia. Demont writes the kind of story one must to simply tear through. He is not simply a mere scribbler of words: his turn of phrase is oft times near to poetic: “time unspooling at a sluggish paces”. Extensive footnoting and an equally extensive bibliography make this book of jumping-off point for further reading. Thoroughly engaging! What more could one have asked for? Some maps would have been helpful: where is Nova Scotia, Wabana and Belle Isle? Where are those mines the author writes about.

Jun 30, 2010

Great Read.

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