Cover image for In the kingdom of coal : an American family and the rock that changed the world
In the kingdom of coal : an American family and the rock that changed the world
Rottenberg, Dan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Routledge, [2003]

Physical Description:
xvii, 327 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1370 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HD9550.L4 R68 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



First Published in 2003. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Author Notes

Dan Rottenberg is a former Wall Street Journal reporter and the author of seven books, including Revolution on Wall Street: The Rise and Decline of the New York Stock Exchange. He has written for The New York Times Magazine, Forbes, Rolling Stone, playboy and Town and Country.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Coal," writes former Wall Street Journal reporter Rottenberg (Revolution on Wall Street), has been "the critical force driving the modern world for the past two centuries." Rottenberg tries, with varying success, to animate that history with a well-written account of two families tied together by the busts and booms of the coal industry as it evolved from an almost agricultural endeavor in the late 18th century into a highly mechanized but physically and financially dangerous modern corporate enterprise. One family, the Leisenrings, owned and operated major American mining companies for five generations. The second family, the Givenses, worked the mines of eastern Virginia for most of the 20th century. Rottenberg's background as a financial writer stands him in good stead as he skillfully traces the relationship between technical advances that made coal a more economically feasible source of energy and the infrastructure changes (canals and later railroads) that facilitated the movement of coal. His treatment of larger events the unionization of manufacturing industries, the Great Depression, WWII and the Vietnam War expands the book's reach to reflect factors that influenced all of American industry. Rottenberg's access to materials about the Leisenrings enlivens his discussion of the corporate side of the coal equation. His account of the Givens family, whose lifestyle and culture are not as well documented, is less engaging. Rottenberg is particularly good on the rise and fall of the United Mine Workers and its charismatic union icon John L. Lewis and his successor, Tony Boyle, who was convicted of the murder of union rival Jack Yablonski. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Message in the Necho Allen Hotel Leisenring and Givens family trees
Prologue: 'There Will Come a Time'
Part I Mauch Chunk
1 'A Rock That Burns'
2 A Route From the Mines
3 Holy Trinity
4 Boy Wonder of the Anthracite
5 Souls in Darkness
6 A Road Not Taken
Part II Connellsville
7 The Ambitions of Henry Clay Frick
8 At War in the Coke Fields
Part III Big Stone Gap
9 Starting Over
10 The Rise of John L. Lewis
11 Utopia Goes Union
12 Be Careful What You Wish For
13 Prelude to Murder
Part IV To the Powder River
14 The Age of Uncertainty
15 Riding the Roller Coaster
16 Nowhere to Hide
Epilogue: A Hyacinth Blooms at Imboden
1 Chronology
2 Principal Characters
3 Notes
4 Bibliography
5 Acknowledgements
6 Index