The Baden-Powell Library
A Selection of excerpts from the works of
Sir Robert Baden-Powell and works relating to his life and career

By Sir Robert Baden-Powell

Lessons from the Varsity of Life is Baden-Powell’s most complete autobiographical account. Here he presents interesting and enjoyable stories of his "two lives" in Soldiering and in Scouting.
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter I:
My Education
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.
Boatsmanship and Fishing
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.
Shooting, Fox-Hunting and Polo
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.
Big Game, Hippos and Lions
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter III: Sport.
Pets, Stalking, Mountaineering and the School of the Jungle
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter IV:
Spying and Scouting
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V: Soldiering.
Early Days in India
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V: Soldiering.
Zululand, 1896
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter V:Soldiering.
With a Native Levy in Ashanti
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter VI:
  Lessons from the Varsity of Life
Chapter VII:
The South African War
Baden-Powell, Memories of India. A collection of stories from B-P’s diaries and letters home. Chapters on the Afghan War and its aftermath and on skirmishes on the Northwest frontier. These stories are full of B-P’s personality and capture the adventuresome spirit of the Chief Scout in his early days in the army.
    From Chapter III. The Sport of Kings and the King of Sports. B-P tells an amusing story of Young Winston Churchill, his devotion to the sport of polo, and early evidence of his talent for public speaking.
    Chapter VIII. When the Tribes are Out. The Afghan War—The Great March—Ordered up to Kandahar—A Warlike Atmosphere—The Expedition of I842—The Camel and His Ways—Kandahar—A Dangerous City—Theatricals Under Difficulties—A Serious Mistake—Afghan Nerve—Attacked by Ghazis —The Crack of Doom—The Field of Maiwand—A Broken Square—A Heroic Chaplain—A Narrow Escape
    Chapter IX. The Aftermath of War. The Image of War—Patrols and Picnics A Curious Superstition—Jock Fights a Wild Cat—Afghan Depredations—Relics of Alexander the Great—Camp Rumours —Abdurrahman Waits—The Horses Stampede—A Subaltern’s Opinion of the Government—A Study in Contrasts—Rifle Stealing—An Ingenious Plan—Further Losses—I Shoot Myself—I Hear my Death Announced —Digging for the Bullet—Convalescence—Stalked by a Leopard—A Rough and Tumble
    Chapter XI. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright. A Possible Interrogation—I Go in Pursuit of Tigers— Smith-Dorrien at Work—The Party Meets—The Old Hands—A Native Weakness—How to Beat for Tigers— A Dead Enemy—A Native Village—Nearly a Fatality— Camp Literature—I Become Doctor—I Get a Bear— Camp Life—A Tiger’s Wings—The Mahout—The Tables Turned—Table Delicacies—Jungle Yachts— The End of the Ghost
    Chapter XII. A Frontier Row. The Value of the North-West Frontier—Village Warfare —Readiness and Efficiency—How an Irishman Got a Dog and a Breakfast for Nothing—Trouble in the Buner Country—The Subaltern in War-time—The Pessimistic Afridi—A Terrified Jehu—Sniping—The Morning of the Fight—Sir Bindon’s Dispositions—The Artillery Triumphs—Touching the Button—Rock-rolling—An Exciting Race—The Bravest Man I Ever Saw—The Enemy in Retreat—An Exhausting Climb—The Tribute of a Foe—The Trophies of War—Our Casualties
    Chapter XIV. The Elephant as Gentleman. Sentiment About the Elephant—His Mathematical Mind—"Dandelion’s" Idiosyncrasies—Her Courage in the Face of an Enemy—The Elephant Who Died—A Problem in Sanitation—The Jungle Ship—Sea Legs— The Genius of the Elephant—His Timidity—Jock’s Victory—The Duchess of Connaught’s Adventure— The Elephant’s Caution—He Utilises Human Material— A Malefactor Flogged by Elephants—The Elephant in War—An Elephant Fight
My Adventures as a Spy by Sir Robert Baden-Powell was published in 1915 during the first years of the Great War. It recounts B-P’s experiences in espionage during his military career and is full of adventure. It is a short book, an exciting story, and one of my personal favorites.
    Part One. Introduction—The Different Degrees of Spies—Strategical Agents—Tactical Agents—Residential Spies—Officer Agents—Commercial Spying—Germany’s Invasion Plans—Field Spies—Catching a Spy.
    Part Two. Conveying Information—Secret Signals and Warnings—Spies in War Time—The Pluck of a Spy—Traitorous Spying—The German Spy Organization—The Value of Being Stupid—Concealing a Fort in a Moth’s Head—Butterfly Hunting in Dalmatia.
    Part Three. How Spies Disguise Themselves—The Sport of Spying—The Value of Hide-and-Seek—Spying on Mountain Troops—Posing as an Artist.
    Part Four. Fooling a German Sentry—A Spy is Suspicious—Hoodwinking a Turkish Sentry—Tea and a Turk—Sore Feet—Austrian Officers—An Interesting Task.
    Part Five. An Interesting Task—Encounter with the Police—Success with the Balloon—How to Enter a Fort—How We Got the Secret Light—How the Big River was Swum—Caught at Last—The Escape—Conclusion.
Baden-Powell always tried to provide youth with guidance on living life to its full. Success and Happiness were two important elements he described in Rovering to Success.
What Scouts Can Do: More Yarns for Scouts is one of several books of "yarns" — stories about subjects he thought would be of interest to Scouts. It was first published in 1921 and reprinted a number of times. It was one of B-P’s more popular books. Here are some yarns from Chapter VII. He talks about the techniques of stalking, the Scout’s staff, and the "Thanks Badge," surprisingly in the form of a swastika.
Baden-Powell traveled widely. He enjoyed the open road and had a keen sense of adventure. In his book, What Scouts Can Do: More Yarns, he says "I want every Scout to be happy, and one of the best ways I know of being happy is to go for a good bike ride. In Biking in Bosnia he provides a fascinating picture of this war-torn land before the two World Wars.
"Be Prepared," an interview with Baden-Powell describing the beginnings of Scouting, published in The Listener in 1937.
The Chief’s Closing Address at the 3rd World Jamboree, Arrowe Park, Birkenhead, England, 1929
Baden-Powell, Aids to Scoutmastership, 1919. The definitive guide to the art and science of Scoutmastership. Written almost 80 years ago, much of the advice remains of value today. (HTML Version).
Baden-Powell, Scouting for Boys, 1908. Here is the Preface to Scouting for Boys. Norman MacLoed writes: "If anyone should ever ask you to provide a short summary of what B-P was all about and why we should still follow his advice and methods, all you really need to remember is: He cared."
Baden-Powell, Scouting Games, 1910. Here is B-P’s own compendium of games for Scouts. The language may be dated and the games somewhat antique, but this book remains a fine source for games and contests for today’s Scouts. (From Steve Tobin’s Netwoods Virtual Campsite).

About Sir Robert Baden-Powell

"B.-P." from Great Contemporaries by Sir Winston S. Churchill. Perhaps one of the finest portraits of the significance of the life and work of Sir Robert Baden-Powell.
Eileen K. Wade, The Piper of Pax: The Life Story of Sir Robert Baden-Powell, 1924.
  Chapter X. Old Places and New Faces.
India and command of the 5th Dragoon Guards. Events leading up to the seige of Mafeking.
  Chapter XI. The South African War, 1899-1902.
The seige of Mafeking.
  Chapter XII. The South African Constabulary.
The hero of Mafeking. The S. A. C. Appointed Inspector-General of Cavalry.
E. E. Reynolds, B-P: The Story of His Life, is a major source of biographical information about B-P. It is one of several works by E. E. Reynolds documenting the life of the Chief Scout and the early days of the Scout Movement.
  Chapter I. The Training of a Tenderfoot
Early Days. India to 1883
  Chapter II. First Experiences in South Africa
South Africa 1884-1889. Malta.
  Chapter III. The Testing of a Scout
Ashanti, 1895-1896
  Chapter IV. "The Best Adventure"
Matabeleland, 1896-1897
  Chapter V. India Once More
5th Dragoons, India, 1897-1899
  Chapter VI. Mafeking
Defense and Relief, 1899-1900
  Chapter VII. From the Army to the Boy Scouts
South Africa and Home, 1901-1907
  Chapter VIII. Brownsea Island
The Beginnings of Scouting, 1907-1909
  Chapter IX. Forging Ahead
The Growth of Scouting, 1909-1914
  Chapter X. The War Years
  Chapter XI. Early Jamborees
Olympia, Wembley, Gilwell, 1920-1924
  Chapter XII. The Man
A Character Sketch of a Great Man
  Chapter XIII. Coming-of-Age
Arrowe Park, Rovers, Kanderstag, 1929-1931
  Chapter XIV. Overseas
  Chapter XV. Last Years
  Appendix–Last Messages
"Enterprise" by Hilary Saint George Saunders. This short biography of B-P is much the idealized version of his life. Written shortly after World War Two, it forms part of a testimony to the contribution of Scouts in Occupied Europe and England during the dark days of the war. While occasionally relying more on drama than on fact, this chapter on B-P provides a good capsule biography and introduction to his "Two Lives." Excerpted from Hilary Saint George Saunders, The Left Handshake, 1948.
Burnham’s account of Scouting with B-P in the Matopo Hills during the Matabele Campaign.
From Frederick Russell Burnham, Taking Chances, 1944
Scouting in South Africa, 1884-1890. Russell Freeman’s Scouting with Baden-Powell provides an easy to read and enjoyable account of B-P’s two lives — as a serving officer in the British Army, and as the Founder of the World Scout Movement. His chapter on B-P in South Africa in the 1880’s gives a good second-hand account of B-P’s service there. It includes a description of his pursuit of Dinizulu during the Zulu civil war of 1883-1884.
"B-P’s Ladder of Life." A Chronology from Eileen K. Wade, Baden-Powell, 1944.
A Baden-Powell Bibliography. Laszlo Nagy, who was the Chief Executive of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), developed this detailed bibliography for his book 250 Million Scouts published in 1985.
Resources for B-P Biography & Bibliography from Randy Wooster’s Scouting History and Traditions.
Stevens Publishing of Kila, Montana has a wonderful selection of reprints of many of B-P’s writings. These include, among others: Aids to Scoutmastership, Lessons from the Varsity of Life, Memories of India and My Adventures as a Spy. Stevens also publishes reprints of works by Ernest Thompson Seton and Dan Beard, two founders of the Boy Scouts of America. They are a unique source of information on Scouting.

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Copyright © Lewis P. Orans, 1997
Last Modified: 8:47 AM on October 25, 1997