Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship
Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship

Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship

Robert Baden-Powell; Elleke Boehmer
  • The first, and only, critical edition of Baden-Powell's bestselling manual, Scouting for Boys
  • The editorial material reveals the true complexity of this fascinating book: its literary and anti-literary qualities; its advice on male bonding and masculinity; and its intertwining of the health of the body, the nation, and the empire
  • Notes relate the book to the many sources which informed it, from Kipling to Samuel Smiles (author of Self-Help), woodcraft lore to detective fiction, and amateur theatre to sex manuals
  • Baden-Powell's original advice about masturbation, cut from the original, and all subsequent editions of Scouting for Boys, appears as an Appendix
  • All Baden-Powell's illustrations for the first edition are included

'A Scout is a Friend to all'

An amalgam of imperial myth, borrowed tips on health and hygiene, and object lessons in woodcraft, the 1908 text of Robert Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys is the original blueprint and 'self-instructor' of the Boy Scout Movement. One of the all-time bestsellers in the English-speaking world, this primer of 'yarns and pictures' constitutes probably the most influential manual for youth ever published. Yet the book is at the same time a roughly composed hodge-podge of jingoist lore and tracker legend, padded with lengthy quotations from adventure fiction and Baden-Powell's own autobiography, and seamed through with the multiple anxieties of its time: fears of degeneration, concerns about masculinity and self-restraint, and invasion paranoia.

Elleke Boehmer's edition of Scouting for Boys reprints the original text and illustrations, and her fine introduction investigates a book that has been cited as an authority by militarists and pacifists, capitalists and environmentalists alike.



Robert Baden-Powell
Edited by Elleke Boehmer, University of Oxford

Elleke Boehmer is the Professor of World Literature in English at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Oxford Centre for Life Writing at Wolfson College. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. A founding figure in the field of colonial and postcolonial literary studies, she is the author, editor, or co-editor of over twenty books, including monographs and novels. Her monographs include Colonial and Postcolonial Literature (1995/2005), Stories of Women (2005), Indian Arrivals (winner ESSE prize, 2015-16), and Postcolonial Poetics (2018). Her novels include The Shouting in the Dark (co-winner, Olive Schreiner Prize, 2015), and Screens Against the Sky (short-listed David Higham Prize, 1990). Her second collection of short stories, To the Volcano, appeared in 2019.
Robert Baden-Powell was born in 1857 and served in the British Army in India, Afghanistan and, later, West and southern Africa. His extemporising command of the siege of Mafeking during the Anglo-Boer War elevated Baden-Powell to the status of imperial symbol, lone hero of an empire under threat. In Scouting for Boys he mixed his love for the outdoors, and delight in play-acting, together with the games ethic of the Victorian public school, and processed these into a newly minted tradition, Britain's most successful recreational export of the twentieth century. His prolific production of Scouting texts continued unstinted virtually until his death, in 1941 in Kenya.

"very good fun" - Max Hastings, Sunday Telegraph

"the value of Elleke Boehmer's well-annotated text of the original edition is to show us the anxieties, contradictions and excitements of the Boy Scout movement at its inception" - Alan Hollinghurst, Guardian

"Elleke Boehmer's erudite introduction makes you wish she would get around to writing a full-length biogaphy of the first Chief Scout" - William Cook, New Statesman

"this fascinating volume tells us a lot about Baden-Powell, his movement and even to some extent the particular point in time when scouting was born'" - Washington Times

"Baden-Powell's work is well worth reading and re-reading, and that researchers with various interests and theoretical persuasions may find in its pages a great deal of interesting and rewarding material." - Thomas Kullman, Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen

"a gripping read" - The Oldie


ISBN : 9780198900344

Robert Baden-Powell; Elleke Boehmer
448 ページ
196 x 129 mm
Oxford World's Classics





Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship

Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship

Scouting for Boys: A Handbook for Instruction in Good Citizenship