New Publication: Our Frontier Is the World: The Boy Scouts in the Age of American Ascendancy

Former GHI Research Fellow Mischa Honeck recently published Our Frontier Is the World: The Boy Scouts in the Age of American Ascendancy. The book grew out of the research project he worked on while he was based at the GHI as a Research Fellow.

Focusing on the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), the book shows how the organization has echoed and enabled American global expansion in the twentieth century - from the Progressive Era up to the countercultural moment of the 1960s. American boys and men wearing the Scout uniform never simply hiked local trails to citizenship; they forged ties with their international peers, camped in foreign lands, and started troops on overseas military bases. Scouts traveled to Africa and even sailed to icy Antarctica, hoisting the American flag and standing as models of loyalty, obedience, and bravery. Through scouting America’s complex engagements with the world were presented as honorable and playful masculine adventures abroad. Honeck argues that the good-natured Boy Scout was also a ready means for soft power abroad and gentle influence where American values, and democratic capitalism, were at stake and in other instances the BSA provided a pleasant cover for imperial interventions that required coercion and violence.