by Gina Circelli
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What’s the best Young Adult book of the 21st century? Stefan Beck of The Daily Beast contends it doesn’t involve vampires, werewolves, tributes, or mazes. It’s a nonfiction book, in fact. And it’s influenced the lives of millions with practical tips that prepare young adults for life.
The Boy Scout Handbook has been the go-to book for Scouts for more than one-hundred years. The first edition of the book was published in 1910 and penned by Ernest Seton, who drew inspiration from Lord Baden Powell’s Scouting for Boys. Over the next century, the book evolved to include information on first aid and must-have information for modern Scouts, like internet safety.
A former Tiger Cub and son of an Eagle Scout, Beck decided to check out the latest edition of The Boy Scout Handbook to see what he had missed out on by leaving the program.
What he found was a values-imparting handbook that challenges youth to grow into moral and ethical adults.
“I would not hesitate to say that a child with nothing but the Handbook to guide him is better off than he would be thrown upon the tender mercies of the culture at large,” Beck remarked.
Beck examined the handbook and the Scouting movement from many different perspectives. In the end, he heralds the book for its youth development content, from the deep dive into lifesaving skills to the brief advice on honoring senior citizens.
“The organization fosters a sense of belonging to your community and world, not least by reveling in its own connection to the past,” he explained.
Beck’s review of this classic might make you laugh. It might make you mad, at times. But overall, it communicates the critical importance of The Boy Scout Handbook to kids and young adults of today.
In response to one author’s account of gaining adventure and discovery after relying on the book in 1923, Beck marveled, “If you can learn how to do that from a mere book, it must be a damned remarkable book. Better get your copy today.”
Learn more about why Beck wholeheartedly endorses this character-building book by reading his post on The Daily Beast.