King Coal: A Novel
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: August 2014
Duration: 12 hours 14 minutes
Well known for The Jungle, his scathing exposé of the Chicago meatpacking industry at the turn of the twentieth century, Upton Sinclair here takes on yet another massive industry: coal mining.
Based on the 1914 and 1915 Colorado coal strikes, King Coal describes the abhorrent conditions faced by workers in the western United States’ coal mining industry during the 1910s. The story follows Hal Warner, a rich man looking to get a better view of the lives of commoners. It is a tale of struggle, threats, and violence, of hardened men and the advocacy for workers’ rights. In this business, the road to unionization is a rocky one.
“Sinclair’s achievement was impressive…He saw through the lies of his era and exposed a world long hidden from view. He showed compassion for the weak and the poor, the powerless and the despised. He created images and characters that are poignant and memorable. He fueled anger at injustice. It is no fault of his that the old lies have lately been repeated, that important lessons have been forgotten, and that somehow we now find ourselves back in the jungle, with and odd feeling of déjà vu.”—Eric Schlosser, New York Times bestselling author of Fast Food Nation, praise for the author