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Scout's Honor: A Father's Unlikely Foray into the Woods Hardcover – May 1, 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New York Times writer and author Applebome (Dixie Rising) turns from the political to the personal as he recounts his adventures over three years as a Scoutmaster for his son's Boy Scout troop in suburban New York. A "committed indoorsman" who was turned off by the "dorky superfluity" of scouting during his own baby boomer childhood, he "soon found himself sucked in to Scouting" and "the way that it brought kids and dads together in a totally noncompetitive way." This engaging book moves back and forth among three narrative strands. Applebome gives a loving and often amusing description of his son's scouting adventures, "one part Braveheart and one part Lord of the Flies." He provides an excellent short history of the Boy Scouts, from the Edwardian roots of its first leader, the "astoundingly complex" British war hero and "repressed homosexual" Lord Robert Baden-Powell, to its current enrollment decline. He also discusses the institutional scouting policy that bans gays from being members, a position successfully defended before the Supreme Court. Applebome struggles with the tension between the right of free association and the "threadbare" logic of the Scout position. But while he disagrees with the ban, he too easily dismisses it as having "minimal real-world implications," not fully acknowledging that the wonderfulness of this "unexpected vehicle to share [his] son's youth" is something that the Boy Scout organization openly denies to parents with gay children.-- son's youth" is something that the Boy Scout organization openly denies to parents with gay children.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Scout's Honor is at the same time a hilarious outdoor odyssey, a moving glimpse of a father's heart, and the best commentary ever on the Boy Scouts and their touchingly awkward history. When I was a Scout, the ultimate approbation for a job well done was something called "Three and a Half Hows." So here's to you, Peter Applebome: How! How! How! Hhhhh!" -- Stephen Harrigan, author of The Gates of the Alamo


"...a hilarious outdoor odyssey, a moving glimpse of a father''s heart, and the best commentary ever on the Boy Scouts..." (Stephen Harrigan author of The Gates of the Alamo 2003-02-19)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt; 1 edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151005923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151005925
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,664,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I hesitated to buy this book, but a friend told me he loved it--so I gave it a shot. Glad I did. Very funny in parts, really informative about Scouting and the history is fascinating. The writer has a great style that mixes a kind of ironic detachment with an almost naive openess to fresh experiences and adventure. Don't let the title confuse you. the book isn't just about scouting, it's really about fatherhood, boys, nature and how our mainstream consumer/suburban culture has sheltered us from some of the kinds of experiences that can broaden our minds, give purpose to our lives and make us feel alive in ways we never thought possible. And you don't have to be a parent to enjoy it, but if you are, you'll probably love it.
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Format: Hardcover
Applebome writes a nice historical overview of Scouting and a great tale of how a father and son ventured into new territory together through the program. The problem with this book is two-fold. First, Applebome's Troop is obviously NOT boy run as is the ideal of a Scout Troop. Adults plan, lead and execute the programs cheating the boys out of the full experience. Secondly, Applebome gives his lofty suggestions for how to "improve" the program after a grand total of a couple years' experience as an adult. No youth experience and writes that HE NEVER EVEN OWNED OR WORE A SCOUT UNIFORM during his entire experience. Yet he believes himself to be a suitable person to recommend scrapping the uniform.
Ths story was nice, but Applebome ventured into territory where he is simple incapable of providing intelligent dialog -- namley how to improve the program. His own inexperience creates this barrier to what would have been a great sotry about a boy and his dad.
It should be noted that Applebome's highlight moment at summer camp came not because he changed anything in the Scouting program, but rather he finally did what he was supposed to do -- let the boys set a goal and achieve it. Perhaps HE should re-examine his recommendations with greater experience and understanding.
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Format: Hardcover
Having been greeted with "Guess what! They made me the Cubmaster!" about nine years ago, I can honestly say that this book accurately portrays my and my husband's experience and opinion of Scouting. It's bittersweet today, with my son (an Eagle Scout) leaving high school and entering the Air Force (an institution into which he will enter at a higher rank thanks to his Eagle achievement).
We would never trade our Scouting experience, including the both the ups (upon his "crossing over" to Boy Scouts, presenting my son the axe his grandfather had machined before Kyle was born and realizing the sheath was made for a left-hander--which Kyle is) and the downs (watching the Weather Channel for days before a campout).
Mr. Applebome also hit home with his reluctance to support an organization which practices intolerance. My brother is an Eagle Scout (after all, you're an Eagle Scout forever, right?), but as an openly gay man, could never become involved with troop leadership.
Although the BSA has all the problems associated with any large organization (dependency on enrollment numbers, outside pressures, funding, etc.), it still can be a valuable experience for any young man in this country.
If you want to know what Scouting is all about, grab a copy of Scout's Honor and set aside some time. Just like Scouting, you'll be glad you made the effort!
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike many writers of first-person accounts, Peter Applebome has done his homework. He is an excellent reporter with a keen eye for detail, whether he's describing the history of scouting, its contemporary existence or the evolution of his relationship with his son, Ben, through scouting.
Mr. Applebome truly understands the essence of scouting and the Boy Scouts of America - not just the often shrill opinions of their many advocates and detractors, and he conveys that understanding in a way that will captivate readers. Those same readers - especially parents and children from their mid-teens on up - will also benefit greatly from the author's insights into his own growth as a parent, not to mention his son's increasing wisdom and maturity.
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By A Customer on June 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I am a suburban mom with a 10 year old son (non-scout, couch potato). I could not put this book down. I laughed out loud and I cried. Applebome's personal growth and conflicts within the Boy Scouts had me on a roller coaster. At one moment the wholesome, back to nature bonding he enjoyed with his son had me wanting to sign my son up with the local troop, while a few pages later, his honest discussions with other Scoutmasters about the moral dilemmas they found themselves in had me considering a letter of protest to the same local troop. His(kinder, gentler) Woody Allen comedic humor toward all outdoor adventures made the moments of enlightenment all the more sweet. This book will make you want to drag your kids away from the computer screen and run to the nearest park for a hike in the woods. My only regret is tht I didn't wait a few more weeks to pick it up because I doubt I'll be able to find a more enjoyable summer read.
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Format: Hardcover
Very enjoyable book. I'm sharing it with all my Scouter friends, and even non-Scouters (so they understand how and why I got hooked on Scouting too). I even learned a few things about BSA--warts and all!
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