A new e-book has been released by Michael S. Malone called Four Percent – The Story of Uncommon Youth in a Century of American Life. This book provides an very good review of Eagle Scout history. The author has been the host of television shows on PBS, served as columnist for the NY Times, and has authored many works appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and Fortune. He also serves actively in Scouting as an Assistant Scoutmaster for troop 466 in Sunnyvale, CA.
The book looks very good based on early reviews and excerpts. Consider this short clip offered in a review:
“You don’t so much earn the Eagle rank as you become an Eagle—a fact only the Eagles in the audience, and the Scout’s parents, fully appreciate. And in becoming an Eagle, you are changed forever.
To merely list the extraordinary achievements of a century of Eagle Scouts is to at least partially confuse cause and effect. It only proves the obvious fact that young people of achievement gravitate toward the opportunity for achievement.
What hasn’t yet been explained is why this particular award has come to assume a place so honored in American life that it alone, of all childhood achievements, follows its recipients throughout their lives; why it remains important as a résumé highlight decades after the honoree has aged out of the program; why newspapers still devote precious editorial space to coverage of Eagle service projects and Courts of Honor; and why at a man’s funeral, three score or more years after he earned the award, his eulogy will likely include the fact that he was an Eagle Scout.”
Perhaps this book will mean more to me as an Eagle Scout than to others who’ve never been involved in the scouting program, but I suspect that anyone who makes the time to read the book will come away with a different perspective on the program and it’s aims.
I’d like to add one further quote from Mr. Malone’s book because it gave me a great laugh on an otherwise tiring day. I would hope my brother Eagles grin upon reading this excerpt, too.
“Adult Eagles come to appreciate the full implications of the phrase “always an Eagle”…It also means a lifetime of assumed responsibility and the perpetual risk of failure and humiliation. When the luggage needs to be lashed to the car roof, the wood chopped, the accident victim’s bleeding stopped, or when a group is lost in the woods, everyone looks the Eagle Scout to fix the problem, tend the wound, or save them. Any failure is not just your own, but of Eagle Scouting itself. They don’t mention this at your Eagle Scout Court of Honor.” [bold added for emphasis]