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Boy Scouts of America: A Centennial History Hardcover – November 2, 2009

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From the anonymous Scout who helped W.D. Boyce cross the street in pea-soup London fog to today's most notable Eagle Scouts (including Secretary of Defense Robert H. Gates), this colorful volume lays out the century-long story of a quintessentially American organization, the Boy Scouts of America, for readers of all ages. Author, editor and Eagle Scout Wills (Destination America) outlines the origins and evolution of an organization he clearly cherishes, turning up stories and information that should be new to even the most well-read scout or den mother, concerning scouting's early years, the creation of various merit badges, and the establishment of time-honored BSA ideals like service, preparedness, kindness, and bravery. Many historical vignettes evoke simpler times, straightforward values and a refreshing search for heroism that will resonate with Scouts and the nostalgic, but also charts the early organizations that competed for the opportunity to shape American youth. Wills doesn't ignore controversial issues that the BSA has faced, alongside society-at-large, including segregation, gender equity, religious conflict, and the struggle to maintain a wholesome, enlightened environment. A century's worth of paintings, photos, memorabilia and documents complete this fascinating retrospective, a deep well of can-do Americana.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: DK (November 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756656346
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756656348
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Brown on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is the 100th Anniversary history book on the BSA.

This is the reasonably priced version of the book they offered for $300. This one doesn't have the DVD or 'extra stuff'. Sadly, there are a few issues with the book.

There's no index!!!

Also, in reading the text, I found several mistakes:

* the story of Boyce being lost in the fog of London is repeated (twice). The problem is that we now know there was no fog when he was there. But atleast the author didn't claim he met B-P as the Scout Association office, and gave better info on when these events occured.

* the author claimed that Seton was the first and only Chief Scout of the BSA. Sorry, incorrect. Both James West and his successor were given that title after they retired as CSE.

* Some of the smaller programs of the BSA were given only a cursory look. Rovers are mentioned briefly. Air Scouts, even less. Varsity Scouts are mentioned, but the work that went into establishing them was not delved into. I found that disappointing, considering some of the pictures of Varsity Scouts was from their experiemental phase when they wore special polo shirts and not BSA uniforms. Sea Scouts were mentioned, but the author makes it seem like Arthur Carey established Sea Scouts and ignored the more significant contributions of James Wilder and especially Thomas Keane who set down the Sea Scout program as we know it today.

* I saw several errors with the notations about pictures and other items.

* the bibliography is disappointing. While I was pleased that the author did consult non-BSA works, I was diappointed by the absence of several books. He didn't check out the recent bios of West and Boyce. He only consulted Boys' Life and Scouting magazines since the 1980s on (I would have reviewed, if cursory, all of them where I the author).

To me, this prevents me from giving this more then 4 stars.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Eric Shuler on April 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Boy Scouts of America A Centennial History
by Chuck Wills
Pp 283
Publisher DK
Price $[...]

Boy Scouts of America A Centennial History presents the history of Scouting in a clear and concise manner. For those familiar with Scouting , Lord Baden Powell is the founder of scouting in England. The story of an American who was in England and escorted across the street by a Boy Scout is well known. The work that was involved in bringing the Scouting movement to the United States was quite a challenge. The book tells of other youth organizations that competed for boys in the same age group. I was surprised at the variety and quantity of them which were late merged by the Boy Scouts of America. I learned that the original highest rank in Scouting was the Wolf Badge. It was decided to change that name to something more American and what could be more American than the eagle. The Scout Law in America had three additional words added to it and they were brave, clean, and reverent.
I often wondered why world famous Norman Rockwell painted so many pictures for the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America gave him his first professional painting job. Rockwell was for ever grateful to the Boy Scouts of America and would do many painting for the scouts for free.
One of the premier Scouting experiences is a trip to the Philmont Scout Camp . This hiking adventure is located in New Mexico and covers over 127,000 acres. There are additional bases in other states in, the book talks about Sea Base in Florida which teaches scuba diving, and in Northern Tier, Montana.
What I found interesting is how scouting has changed in some minor ways choice of uniforms, but has always stayed with its roots.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Siwash on July 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The history of scouting is intriguing. It connects with much of what has happened in the 20th century. This book does a great job covering the great breadth of scouting's story.

Its chief failing is that the author writes in a tepid, uninspiring prose style. He's reciting history, and not doing much engaging storytelling. The book should've been written with verve and romance---it's an exciting story.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Marte on April 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this as a gift for my husband, who's been involved with the Boy Scouts in one way or another for most of his life. It's a nicely illustrated history of the Scouts in the USA. However, the author is not a particularly good writer and to me it seemed he spent far too much time gushing over the Scouts rather than providing a straightforward story. Still, for anyone who wants a good overview of the history of the BSA, it's worth buying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Boy Scouts of America have been a fixture in American society for more than 100 years now, and this book is an excellent history of the Scouts. The book covers every thing that happened in the first 100 years of BSA history, including the Scouts during the World Wars, the rise of the Pinewood Derby, and how Scouting has changed over the years. Along the way, the reader is treated to many great pictures, both black-and-white and color.

Yeah, as the above description shows, I do think that this is a great book on the Scouts. It really is an excellent read, and it is a must-have for any friend of Scouting. I give it my highest recommendations!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Florida Paul on February 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book detailing the history of the Boy Scouts with plenty of pictures and top quality overall book. worth every penny, I'll never get rid of it.
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