In his new book, My Fellow Americans: Scouting, Diversity, and the U.S. Presidency historian David Scott chronicles something we all know something of, but do not know enough about; the special relationship between Scouting and the presidency.
Though the image of the presidency is all too often skewed by charged political divisiveness fomented by a continuous steam of partisan rhetoric, Scott’s work is a refreshingly clear and positive message of potential, and unity.
Scott parallels each chief executive’s contribution to building the Scouting movement with evolving social policies aimed at racial and religious equality, appeals to selfless service, and fostering world peace through mutual understanding. The resulting narrative reveals how each president laid aside their partisan interests and challenged Scouts to exemplify good citizenship in serving others selflessly.
If pressed most of us could name the first president who had been a Scout (Kennedy) and which was an Eagle Scout (Ford), that every president since Teddy Roosevelt has been an honorary president of the B.S.A., and recall that there’s a ceremonial annual report to the nation from B.S.A. youth representatives.
Scott’s scholarship reveals a much, much richer history.
My Fellow Americans profiles each president’s relationship with Scouting chronologically. A rich collection of speeches and correspondence describe how each chief executive valued and encouraged the ideals of Scouting in detail. Scott’s work reveals the common thread woven through 19 presidencies; encouragement to rise above the minor things that divide us to our highest and best ambitions as Scouts and as citizens.
I have thoroughly enjoyed perusing this impressive, little known history generously illustrated with an unparalleled collection of historic photographs.
My Fellow Americans: Scouting, Diversity, and the U.S. Presidency
available on Amazon in hardback and Kindle editions.
|David is also the author of one of the best Scouting histories I have ever read – The Scouting Party. Read my review here|