Rovering to Success - Hard Cover

Rovering to Success - Hard Cover

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Rovering to Success is a life-guide book for Rovers written and illustrated by Robert Baden-Powell and published in two editions since June 1922. It has a theme of paddling a canoe through life. The original edition and printings of second edition were subtitled "A Book of Life-Sport for Young Men but this was changed to "A Guide for Young Manhood" in the later printings.

 

Rovering to Success sets out a philosophy for living in the adult world rather than being an instructional handbook. It is written in the style of advice from a father or wise uncle, indeed some commentators have suggested that it was partly intended for future reading by Baden-Powell's son, Peter, who was nine years-old when it was published. In common with his other handbooks, the theme of Rovering to Success is taken from the popular 19th-century song; “Never sit down with a tear or a frown, but paddle your own canoe”, which was written by the American poet Sarah T. Bolton in 1850 but is not attributed.

The first chapter is entitled How to be happy though rich – or poor is an overview of Baden-Powell’s ideas for leading a happy and fulfilled life, enlivened with anecdotes from his military career and quotes from personalities as diverse as Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and Tennyson. The next five chapters are described as” Rocks you are likely to bump on” (while paddling your own canoe). They are: "I. Horses" which deals with gambling, II. Wine on the perils of alcohol abuse, III. Women, which includes some very basic sex education which was considered ground-breaking at the time, but includes Victorian ideas of racial purity and abstinence. IV. Cuckoos and Humbugs which warns against political extremism but encourages political public service, and finally V. Irreligion, in which Baden-Powell contends that understanding of God can be found through nature study and helping others, and includes a quote from The Quran. The last chapter of the book, Rovering – the Aim of the Rover Brotherhood, explains the purpose and structure of Rovering and gives a wide range of suggestions for activities and service projects that Rovers could undertake. The book finishes with the last two verses (switched in order) of “The Call of the Wild" from “Songs of a Sourdough” by Robert W. Service, and the message; ”Happiness is yours if only you paddle your canoe aright. With all my heart I wish you success, and the Scouts’ wish – GOOD CAMPING!”.

 

Originally published: 1922

Author: Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell

Illustrator: Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell


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