Award-winning journalist and cultural historian Jeff Biggers takes us on a sweeping journey into the secret history of coal-mining in American heartland. In the ruins of his family’s strip-mined homestead in the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois, Biggers unfolds a deeply personal and breakthrough portrait of the largely overlooked human and environmental costs of our nation's dirty energy policy. Recovering the missing chapters in the American experience since the discovery of coal in Illinois in the 1600s, Reckoning at Eagle Creek is a revelatory chronicle of the entangled roots and machinations of the coal industry.
At the heart of the national debate over climate change and the hard choices behind the transition toward clean energy, Reckoning at Eagle Creek shatters the myth of the "Saudi Arabia of coal," debunks the Big Coal marketing that has placed a stranglehold on our nation's energy policy, and traces coal's harrowing legacy back to the great American family saga of sacrifice and resiliency. Reckoning at Eagle Creek is ultimately an expose of historicide and the extraordinary process of recovering our nation's memory. In the end, it is a story of a still emerging tragedy at the crossroads of our nation's decisions for a sustainable future: Coal will never be called clean or cheap again.