[This review was published in the November 1989 issue of Universitas, the national newsletter of University Professors for Academic Order.]


Book Review


Buried Treasure: The Story of Arch Mineral Corporation

Otto Scott

Washington, D.C.: Braddock Communications, Inc., 1989


Reviewed by Dwight D. Murphey


            UPAO member Otto Scott is a historian of wide scope and diverse interests.  His historical biographies take him back as far as King James I of England, and his books about American business include histories of Ashland Oil and Raytheon. 

            In Buried Treasure he weaves together an eminently readable mixture: a combination of business history—this time about the spectacular growth of Arch Mineral Corporation in the coal industry since 1969—with the social and political history of the 1970s and 1980s. 

            The reader is enabled to see how business decisions were made as realistic responses to the circumstances of the time.  Arch Mineral’s growth as a coal company occurred after many had written off coal as a significant resource.  It is of especial interest to see how its success related to the larger picture regarding energy and the environment. 

            Scott is one of the few historians who unabashedly admires the entrepreneurial spirit.  Buried Treasure and his other business books thus add a dimension that is much needed in modern literature.