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Reviews

"Fast-paced, engaging, and accessible, Coal and Empire reveals how the extraction and use of coal was intertwined with domestic and international politics, economics and world trade, and innovations in science, mathematics, and technology. Historians of technology and energy will naturally appreciate the book, but the easy-to-digest writing style and broad analysis will also interest readers beyond academia. Shulman's book has wonderful potential to become a valued and well-read treatise."

"Enlightening reading for anyone interested in the politics and economics of energy."

"Exciting to read. It is the product of someone who is such a gifted writer."

"Peter Shulman’s excellent new book mines the pre-history of the relationship between ideas about energy extraction and the building of the United States as an imperial nation."

"A major contribution to foreign policy history and an essential read for any scholar interested in the development of policy and technology during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."

"In his exhaustively researched book, Shulman convincingly argues for the centrality of coal to nineteenth-century American domestic and foreign policy. His fast paced and wide-ranging work recounts a number of fascinating episodes central to nineteenth-century American history through the lens of energy needs."

"[Shulman's] rich text provides a vital contribution to our understanding of how resource exploitation—and hence science and technological change—was woven into the history of economics, international affairs, and domestic politics."

"Coal and Empire offers an intellectual feast for both historians and modern energy scholars. Meticulously researched and expertly written, it attempts to show how an energy fuel, in this instance coal, became an integral part of United States national security in the nineteenth century."

"A forceful book—well-written, eye-opening, and analytically sharp. Coal and Empire is essential reading for anyone interested in the deep roots of the modern fossil economy."

"Regardless of where you stand on the nineteenth-century US imperial question, the resources, technology, and politics behind expanding US interests have long needed the careful treatment Coal and Empire provides."

"The book is an important one, and the histories of more quotidian commodities need more attention more generally. By using coal as a lens Shulman shows its integral place across US history and the development of its global role into the twentieth century."

"Innovative and important analyses of the specific role of engineers and technology in provoking changes in energy policies, and thus international relations... by delivering a detailed and accurate historical reconstruction of energy in nineteenth-century America, the book provides an interesting comparative case to present narratives about oil and energy security in the contemporary United States."

"Factpacked book of vital information."

"Coal and Empire apporte ainsi une réflexion de long terme conduisant jusqu'aux rivages du temps présent. Ce n'est pas l'un des moindres attraits de ce livre stimulant."

"While the book is an excellent stand-alone study of the American adoption of coal for naval, mercantile, and imperial gains, it also is a fascinating addition to the growing field of energy history. Readers searching for an in-depth examination of naval and government policy will find what they seek, but so too will those interested in broader American, environmental, and energy histories."