Few of us realize that every time we flip on a switch, we burn a lump of coal -- our shiny white iPod economy is propped up by dirty black rocks. Despite a legacy that has claimed millions of lives and ravaged the environment, coal has become hot again. Our desire to find a homegrown alternative to Mideast oil, the rising cost of oil and natural gas, and the mood in Washington will soon push our coal consumption through the roof. Because we have failed to develop alternative energy sources, coal has become the default fuel for the 21st century. Veteran journalist Goodell examines the faulty assumptions underlying coal's revival and shatters the myth of cheap coal energy. In a blend of investigative reporting, history, and business analysis, he illuminates the troubling economic imperatives America faces and the collusion of business and politics that has set us on this dangerous course. The dig -- The Saudi Arabia of coal -- Coal colonies -- Dogholes -- The carbon express -- The burn -- Infinite needs -- The big dirty -- "A citizen wherever we serve" -- The heat -- Reversal of fortune-- The coal rush -- The frontier -- An empire of denial.