The Cooke Agency

John DeMont
Coal Black Heart: The Story of Coal and the Lives It Ruled


Coal Black Heart: The Story of Coal and the Lives It Ruled by John DeMontA major new work of history, told through the stories of a teeming cast of characters.

The history of coal is the story of the last two centuries of the industrialized world. Coal has powered that world, and controlled the destinies of millions. And nowhere has that influence run more deeply than in Nova Scotia, where the industry’s rise and decline has transformed society twice.

Coal Black Heart is a global history that centres unapologetically on one province, and the generations of people whose lives there have been shaped by this dominating industry. There are the miners. There are the moonshiners and brooding social reformers and charismatic preachers who gave the mining towns their particular feel and flair. And there are the profiteers whose greed led to disaster.

This is history as great storytelling - enthralling, involving, deeply moving, and it is a very personal narrative. A brilliant reporter, journalist, and author who has spent most of his career examining Nova Scotia’s weave of land, people, and history - and who grew up listening to its stories - John DeMont was born to write this book.

National Bestseller
Nominated for the 2010 National Business Book Award

“There is history big and small here, heroism and heartbreak, and humanity in all its diversity. Coal Black Heart is an epic tale and a compelling one—John DeMont’s prose grabs you by the shirt collar and keeps you turning the pages.” —D’Arcy Jenish, author of Epic Wanderer: David Thompson and the Opening of the West

Length: 352 pp
Genre/Category: History, Canada

Canadian rights, Doubleday Canada

For all other rights contact The Cooke Agency.

    John DeMont is the best-selling and award-winning author of Citizens Irving: The Irvings of New Brunswick and The Last Best Place: Lost in the Heart of Nova Scotia. He has written for many publications, including the Financial Times, Canadian Geographic, The Walrus, and Maclean’s. where he was Atlantic bureau chief for ten years. John DeMont’s website can be found at