THE WILDCATTER: A Portrait of Robert O. Anderson by Kenneth Harris

THE WILDCATTER: A Portrait of Robert O. Anderson

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Fulsome praise for an American industrialist, from an English journalist whose admiration has clouded his judgment. Anderson--called Bob throughout the fawning text--has had an interesting and productive career. Among other accomplishments, he helped make Atlantic Richfield Co. a major multinational energy enterprise. As Arco's CEO, Anderson played a leading role in construction of the Alyeska Pipeline and was a key man in the negotiation of drilling rights to offshore China. Now 70 and retired from Arco, he's formed a company to wildcat in the Permian Basin. While with Arco, Anderson also became a patron of the Aspen Institute; this association led him to commit corporate funds to a 1976 bailout of The Guardian, an influential but deficit-ridden London weekly whose ownership passed to Lonrho Ltd. in 1981. Harris, associate editor of The Guardian, makes no secret of his relief that Anderson's interim interest in the paper kept Rupert Murdoch at bay. Unfortunately, his gratitude extends to an uncritical, even obsequious, appreciation of almost all Anderson activities, which he records with the reverential grace of a house-organ hack. Commenting on an Anderson-backed environmental organization, for example, Harris calls its existence ""a tribute and monument of his love of nature and sense of duty to his fellow creatures."" A considerable embarrassment.

Pub Date: Nov. 24th, 1987
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson