In The Riches Beneath Our Feet: How Mining Shaped Britain, Professor Geoff Coyle, a former mining engineer, sketches the story of how mining has shaped Britain over the last 4,000 years. The account is wide ranging, involving stories of the mineral wealth of Britain and its exploitation, from simple quarrying to the advent of mass production.
There are tales of miners’ lives and the great mining families, as well as accounts of the miner’s work, the conditions in the mines, and mining disasters. Coyle weaves his personal experiences and passion into the story, illuminating the industrial history, geology, and technology. Each chapter highlights one of the main mining fields and explores the mineral in question, its exploitation, and how technological changes affected the mining techniques used. The 288-page hardcover book is available from Oxford University Press. (www.oup.com)