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Publisher's Summary

"On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, and to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." - Scout Oath

To most, a Boy Scout is the personification of righteousness, self-sufficiency, and adaptability. In contemporary culture, particularly in the West, the stock images of Boy Scouts are associated with irreproachable conduct, so much so that they have been inordinately branded as Goody Two-Shoes.

For the most part, the cliché is well-intentioned and somewhat endearing. For such an interpretation, viewers can refer to the character Russell from the Disney-Pixar movie Up, a Junior Wilderness Explorer who embarks on a quest to secure the “Assisting the Elderly” badge. The nervous, but delightfully bubbly Scout, was quick to capture the hearts of millions upon millions around the world.

On the other end of the same spectrum is the stereotype that reduces them to unimaginative conformists, bookish narks, and blind followers. Many Americans have heard the phrase, “He is such a Boy Scout,” in passing, perhaps said with a scoff or followed by a dramatic eyeroll. The Boy Scout trope is frequently woven into movies, TV shows, and other works of fiction as one-dimensional characters. More often than not, they are polite to a fault and depicted as obsessive patch collectors, the hackneyed antithesis of the rebellious protagonist. 

While most know better, it bears noting that the Boy Scouts are an entity far more well-rounded and proficient than they are often given credit for in America. A reported 85 percent of FBI agents are former Boy Scouts, and NASA reported that of the two dozen men who landed on the moon, 20 were former Scouts, including all three members of Apollo 13 and 11 of the 12 who walked on the moon. Of course, this isn't to say that the organization was the sole reason behind their successes, but these statistics warrant some consideration nonetheless.

On a similar note, the Boy Scouts are surprisingly guarded when it comes to their property, whether it be physical or intellectual. The words “Boy Scout”, along with “Cub Scout” and “Scoutmaster”, are trademarked by the Boy Scouts of America. As litigious as the organization is said to be, however, they have also been and continue to be the center of countless lawsuits based on various accusations. These accusations range from discrimination to harrowing wrongful death cases, as well as other unspeakable, nauseating crimes. As a result, this exceptionally influential global organization has also been steeped in scandal and controversy, an almost inconceivable contradiction of its outwardly pristine appearance.

The Boy Scouts: The History and Legacy of the World's Most Popular Youth Organization chronicles the history of the organization, and how it came to be so famous.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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