A valuable, readable contribution to the history of Scouting.


World Scouting: Educating for Global Citizenship

A historical analysis of Scouting as the world’s largest youth educational movement, with special attention paid to its global role in citizenship education.

In this well-researched work, Vallory examines the history of Scouting from its beginnings in 1907, when Robert Baden-Powell wrote Scouting for Boys, and how it evolved, quickly including Girl Scouts (or Guides) and spreading to 172 countries or territories by 2011. Very little literature exists on the subject, as Joseph P. Farrell, of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, explains in a useful introduction. This book addresses that gap. Vallory first provides a history of world Scouting and goes on to describe Scouting’s core characteristics, including its definition, purpose, methods, organization and means of differentiation. Finally, Vallory discusses “glocal” citizenship education and the tensions among local, national and global commitments. Extensive notes and a bibliography serve as additional resources. U.S. readers will be especially interested in how the American system differs from that of other countries, with the ideology of sponsoring organizations, such as the YMCA and the Mormon church, conditioning the Scout association. “The controversial manner in which [Boy Scouts of America] executives have dealt with issues concerning homosexuality and atheism is not dissociated from its very unique model of operation,” writes Vallory. (The BSA’s decision to allow gay members, though not leaders, is too recent to be included here.) Via the work’s focus on history, readers can better understand Scouting’s relationship with progressive education. The author makes an excellent case for the importance of Scouting as an education in global citizenship, pointing out, for example, that “individual young scouts in Arab countries were very active [in 2011] around the so-called Arab Spring in Tunisia or Egypt, claiming their role as real citizens, despite the institutional relations their scout associations enjoy with the status quo.” Those who think of Scouting as little more than songs around a campfire will have much to learn from this intelligent, thorough discussion.

A valuable, readable contribution to the history of Scouting.

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0230340688

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Review Posted Online: July 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.


Noted number cruncher Sperling delivers an economist’s rejoinder to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Former director of the National Economic Council in the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the author has long taken a view of the dismal science that takes economic justice fully into account. Alongside all the metrics and estimates and reckonings of GDP, inflation, and the supply curve, he holds the great goal of economic policy to be the advancement of human dignity, a concept intangible enough to chase the econometricians away. Growth, the sacred mantra of most economic policy, “should never be considered an appropriate ultimate end goal” for it, he counsels. Though 4% is the magic number for annual growth to be considered healthy, it is healthy only if everyone is getting the benefits and not just the ultrawealthy who are making away with the spoils today. Defining dignity, admits Sperling, can be a kind of “I know it when I see it” problem, but it does not exist where people are a paycheck away from homelessness; the fact, however, that people widely share a view of indignity suggests the “intuitive universality” of its opposite. That said, the author identifies three qualifications, one of them the “ability to meaningfully participate in the economy with respect, not domination and humiliation.” Though these latter terms are also essentially unquantifiable, Sperling holds that this respect—lack of abuse, in another phrasing—can be obtained through a tight labor market and monetary and fiscal policy that pushes for full employment. In other words, where management needs to come looking for workers, workers are likely to be better treated than when the opposite holds. In still other words, writes the author, dignity is in part a function of “ ‘take this job and shove it’ power,” which is a power worth fighting for.

A declaration worth hearing out in a time of growing inequality—and indignity.

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7987-5

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A top-notch political biography.

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A cradle-to-today portrait of a master politician who “shattered the ‘marble ceiling’ and blazed a new trail for women.”

Born in 1940 into an avidly political family, Nancy D'Alesandro absorbed a great deal about electoral politics from her father—a five-term Congressman and, later, three-term mayor of Baltimore—and from her mother, who supported her husband's campaigning in addition to raising seven children (tragically, one died at age 3). TIME national political correspondent and CNN political analyst Ball uses numerous memorable anecdotes to portray Pelosi's childhood, adolescence, early married life, and mothering of five children. Establishing a family base in San Francisco because of her husband's career in finance, Pelosi had no initial plans to enter politics. Ball explains clearly how that opinion evolved, with Pelosi entering the U.S. House of Representatives in 1987. In large portions of the narrative, the author focuses on Pelosi’s remarkable ability to overcome myriad stereotypes and outright misogyny to achieve ever more powerful positions in the House. Ball delves into Pelosi's leadership on a variety of controversial issues—e.g., the Iraq War (“to Pelosi and, by that point, most Americans, it seemed devastatingly obvious that the war had been a tragic misadventure”) and the 2008 financial meltdown—while also offering intriguing information about her professional relationships with Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and dozens of other recognizable names. It is no surprise that Pelosi is a relentless workaholic, and Ball provides plenty of instructive examples. Other personal details—“she never drank alcohol, rarely had caffeine that wasn’t from her beloved dark chocolate and didn’t need more than a few hours’ sleep per night”—add human touches to a subject who is intensely private and never “indulges in public introspection.” Ultimately, this is a portrait of a persistent, fearless leader undaunted in the face of relentless opposition. Ball obviously admires Pelosi, but this is not a hagiography.

A top-notch political biography. (photo insert)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-25286-9

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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