Friday, May 12, 2017

Boy Scout's Handbook

Another offering from Skyhorse Publishing worth getting your hands on for a few ($8 or so) bucks is this full-color illustrated reprint of the original Boy Scouts' handbook from 1911.
Other than updating the first aid information with modern texts, the rest is timeless, not least of which the lessons on citizenship, patriotism, and history before the communists at the textbook companies fouled everything that followed.

I have a similar copy from  my older brother's piles of debris, his being the 1948-1959 version of scouting, useful for exactly the same reasons, and one which stood me in good stead for both the US Army and Marine Corps in the 1980s, as well as numerous backpacking and wilderness trips in the Sierras and CA deserts before and since.

The chief value in this edition is the perspective, not to mention a touchstone with the real boy scout approach to things taken by fictional scouts like Indiana Jones, and like legions of bona fide heroes in two world wars and Korea.

The past is another country, and this edition is one trip worth the taking.


Old Grafton said...

Amen. As a Scoutmaster and Campmaster in the 90's I heartily concur. We've almost lost 2 generations.

Tenringzen said...

If an old Boy Scout Handbook is your cup of tea, let me also suggest a Boy Scout Field book from the mid-eighties or earlier. There''s lots of practical old-school bushcraft in those books.

DTB said...

It's true! These older scout manuals are rich with useful information! When teaching others survival and being asked the inevitable question, "Which survival manual should I get first?" and the requester is new to training, I always recommend a Boy Scout manual from the late 40's or earlier if they can find a decent one. I like the '46 through '55 versions, as these were most likely edited by WWII and Korean War vets in what works and what should be left out.

I found in my own scouting days, the dads who were the best instructors were the vets from those two wars, because they would go beyond the text and teach us the tricks of the trade, so to speak.

Excellent recommendation and post!

Tim said...

The older scout manuals are excellent. I used one of my own as a resource for low level readers when teaching ecological concepts like communities.

Other good older texts on Scoutcraft/Bushcraft/Woodsmanship would be the Complete Book of Outdoor Lore ( ) and Townsend Wheeler's and Brad Angiers book 'On Your Own in the Wilderness' ( )