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Erin Ann Thomas

Coal in Our Veins

Coal in Our Veins:  A Personal Journey develops a narrative of coal mining through particular towns and individuals, creating an intimate history that spans 250 years and covers key issues, such as the human and environmental costs of carbon energy. The book is divided into five parts. In the first section, the author travels to Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, “the capitol of iron and coal” during the industrial revolution, where her ancestors, Evan Thomas and Margaret Evan lived and mined. She follows their lives to the New World in the next section, where the Thomas family settled in central Utah and experienced one of the worst coal mining disasters of American history. The story then continues with Zephaniah Thomas, the son of Evan and Margaret, in his journey through coal, until finally his sons are able obtain a higher education and move beyond the family occupation.

In the third section, the narrative picks with contemporary events in coal mining, such as the Sago and Upper Big Branch mining disasters, mountain-top removal, stream pollution, and other relevant issues in West Virginia. After coal is dug and cleaned, it is burned, which serves as the narrative arch for the fourth section that follows a law suit between the grandfathered coal plant, the Potomac River Generating Station, and the City of Alexandria while exploring the energy debate through interviews with leading special interest groups in Washington, D.C. The “Coda,” which serves as the final section, connects all these stories of coal and concludes with the author’s assessment of her journey through the history of one of America’s most controversial resources.

Coal in Our Veins: A Personal Journey can be purchased at the following sites:

Reviews and Media:

KCPW – radio interview 10/09/2012 – radio interview 08/07/2012

Classical 89 – radio interview 03/15/2013

City Weekly – book review 09/10/2012

Deseret News – book review 06/23/2012



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