Sons of the Empire: The Frontier and the Boy Scout Movement, 1890-1918
In Sons of the Empire, Robert MacDonald explores popular ideas and myths in Edwardian Britain, their use by Baden-Powell, and their influence on the Boy Scout movement. In particular, he analyses the model of masculinity provided by the imperial frontier, the view that life in younger, far-flung parts of the empire was stronger, less degenerate than in Britain. The stereotypical adventurer – the frontiersman – provided an alternative ethic to British society. The best known example of it at the time was Baden-Powell himself, a war scout, the Hero of Mafeking in the South African war, and one of the first cult heroes to be created by the modern media.
When Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts in 1908, he used both the power of the frontier myth and his own legend as a hero to galvanize the movement. The glamour of war scouting was hard to resist, its adventures a seductive invitation to the first recruits. But Baden-Powell had a serious educational program in mind: Boy Scouts were to be trained in good citizenship.
MacDonald documents his study with a wide range of contemporary sources, from newspapers to military memoirs. Exploring the genesis of an imperial institution through its own texts, he brings new insight into the Edwardian age.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 260 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
Robert H. MacDonald is an English professor at Carleton University.
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