Reckoning at Eagle Creek hits bookstores

Today another important book in the ongoing fight for the people of Appalachia hits bookstores. Reckoning at Eagle Creek, Jeff Bigger’s latest release takes us on a journey into the secret history of coal mining in the American heartland. Set in the ruins of his family’s strip-mined homestead in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, Biggers delivers a deeply personal portrait of the largely overlooked human and environmental costs of our nation’s dirty energy policy over the past two centuries.

Reckoning at Eagle Creek digs deep into the tangled roots of the coal industry beginning with the policies of Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. It chronicles the removal of Native Americans, and the hidden story of legally sanctioned black slavery in the land of Lincoln. It uncovers a century of regulatory negligence, vividly describing the epic mining wars for union recognition and workplace safety, and the devastating environmental consequences of industrial strip-mining.

Award –winning journalist and cultural historian, Jeff Biggers is the author of several books which chronicle the history of Appalachia including The United States and No Lomesome Road and writes frequently on the issue on the Huffington Post.

"Nobody writes about Appalachia like Jeff Biggers. His voice is a swirl of history and memory, of fact and analysis, of hillbilly wisdom and journalistic outrage. Reckoning at Eagle Creek is bigger and brawnier than a memoir or cultural chronicle—it’s a passionate howl from the dark heart of American coal country."—Jeff Goodell, author, Big Coal

At the heart of our national debate over climate change and the crucial transition toward clean energy, is the Obama administration’s controversial pursuit of “clean coal.” Biggers exposes the fallacy that lies at the heart of this policy and shatters the Big Coal marketing myth that Illinois represents the “Saudi Arabia of coal.”

Reckoning at Eagle Creek is ultimately an exposé of “historicide,” one that traces coal’s harrowing legacy through the great American family saga of sacrifice and resiliency and the extraordinary process of recovering our nation’s memory. Coal will never be called clean or cheap again.

Watch a trailer of the book:


“Part historical narrative, part family memoir, part pastoral paean, and part jeremiad against the abuse of the land and of the men who gave and continue to give their lives to (and often for) the mines, [Reckoning at Eagle Creek] puts a human face on the industry that supplies nearly half of America’s energy…it offers a rare historical perspective on the vital yet little considered industry, along with a devastating critique of the myth of ‘clean coal.’ ”—Publishers Weekly

“Jeff Biggers exposes the truth about coal in America—how the myth of “clean coal” destroys even family histories.  But Biggers is a long-time warrior in another fight—to stabilize climate and preserve a good life for young people.  Let us hope his message about dirty coal is read far and wide.”—James Hansen, NASA Goddard Center, author of Storms of My Grandchildren

“As this fine book makes clear, coal has always and ever been a curse, poisoning everything and everyone it touches—right up to the climate on which we depend for our daily bread. What a story!” —Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

The latest title from award winning historian Jeff Biggers