Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts

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Overview

Over the past century, America's Eagle Scouts have earned a reputation for service, virtue, and leadership that is recognized throughout the world. But few people realize the full extent to which Eagle Scouts have made a mark on American history. They have served as astronauts, soldiers, politicians, and businessmen, but they have also been the fathers, brothers, Scoutmasters, coaches and other role models who have played an integral part in ...
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Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts

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Overview

Over the past century, America's Eagle Scouts have earned a reputation for service, virtue, and leadership that is recognized throughout the world. But few people realize the full extent to which Eagle Scouts have made a mark on American history. They have served as astronauts, soldiers, politicians, and businessmen, but they have also been the fathers, brothers, Scoutmasters, coaches and other role models who have played an integral part in American life.

Alvin Townley set out across the country to hear the stories of these Eagle Scouts. He spoke with individuals from every region, of every age and background, some of whom have risen to fame as public figures while others have left a lasting impact outside of the spotlight. The Eagle Scouts who share their experiences include Bill Gates, Sr., Bill Bradley, J.W. Marriott, Jr., Ross Perot, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Lugar, Michael Dukakis, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Coach Chan Gailey, and Capt. James Lovell of Apollo 13. The book also explores the virtues of a Tuskegee Airman, a Vietnam War POW, a September 11 NYPD hero, a crew of Hurricane Katrina relief workers, and a host of others from every walk of life.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Legacy of Honor:

"The stories captured in Legacy of Honor hold valuable lessons for our country as we face new challenges at home and abroad. These Eagle Scouts will inspire readers to become leaders in serving others." -- President Jimmy Carter

"Whether you choose to become a teacher, a police officer, a doctor, or even the mayor of the greatest city in the world, your experiences as an Eagle Scout will prove invaluable. Alvin Townley's Legacy of Honor does justice to the proud history and bright future of the Eagle Scouts." -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg

"Alvin Townley's book describes how the Eagle Scout program can shape a life. He demonstrates this by providing examples of many former Eagles who have succeeded in life in no small part because of their experience in scouting. Once an Eagle, always an Eagle."--Senator Bill Bradley

"In Legacy of Honor, we not only learn who many of these Eagle Scouts were, but the kind of leaders they have become and the enormous contributions they have made to their country and the world. In compiling these life stories, Alvin Townley has completed a picture of an extraordinary program and how its training has helped shape equally extraordinary lives." --Hon. Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator

"Alvin Townley's book reveals the legacy of the Boy Scouts. He relates the adventures and deeds of Eagle Scouts living by the Scout Oath … while contributing to the success of America. An excellent story that will inspire all of us."--Captain James A. Lovell, commander of Apollo 13

"The unique leadership role in America over the past century of men who earned their Eagle Scout award as boys is unparalleled in business, the professions, politics, the military and national security. Legacy of Honor explores this extraordinary phenomenon of Eagles' leadership through individual stories, both informative and inspirational."
--Robert M. Gates, former CIA director and National Eagle Scout Association president

"Legacy of Honor will have a positive impact on the lives of millions of boys and their families. … If everyone in our country lives the principles of Scouting, the best years in our country's history will be in the future."--Ross Perot

"Scouting and conservation share respect for the natural world, so it always seemed natural to me that many of our staff and volunteer leaders would be Eagle Scouts--this book provides wonderful insights into all that Scouting offers and how it helps develop tomorrow's leaders." -- Steve McCormick, President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

"Commitment and devotion to the bedrock principles of our country -- optimism, fairness, determination and preparedness - are inseparably intertwined with Scouting. Alvin Townley does a superb job of portraying how Eagle Scouting helps shape these everyday yet incredibly powerful values that serve our families and society so well."
--J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Marriott International

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312366537
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 12/26/2006
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 166,143
  • Age range: 13 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Alvin Townley

Alvin Townley spent a year traveling throughout the country to explore the legacy of America's Eagle Scouts. In thousands of miles of travel, he met with Eagles from all walks of life. The result was Legacy of Honor, a uniquely powerful narrative of character and virtue in American life.

Alvin's journey truly began years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, where he followed the Scouting path of his grandfather and father and earned his Eagle Scout rank with Troop 103. He is a Brotherhood Member of the Order of the Arrow and has completed High Adventure treks at the Florida Sea Base, the Northern Tier Canoe Bases, and Philmont Scout Ranch.

The author graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. He has interned in the U.S. House of Representatives, served on the executive staff of an international consulting firm, and worked for his alma mater, where he built relationships with alumni across the country and spoke to classes on corporate strategy and ethics.

Alvin currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia, where he works and coaches at Marist School. He also works with Reach for Excellence, a tuition-free program benefiting talented middle school students from underserved communities.

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Read an Excerpt

LEGACY OF HONOR (Chapter One)The Second World War

The first significant generation of Eagle Scouts earned the rank in the late 1920s and early 1930s. These young men belonged to a Scouting program that had finally become nationally established, having grown considerably from the time of its founding in 1910. Three decades into the twentieth century, the Boy Scouts of America had nearly 1 million members, with troops registered in every state. The Eagles of this generation were shaped not only by Scouting, but by the heady success of the Roaring Twenties and the wrenching uncertainty of the Great Depression. As they emerged from the dark years of scarcity that marked the 1930s, they began to steel themselves for the greater challenge that lay ahead.

Bill Kemp, an Eagle Scout and a Scoutmaster for seventeen years, was among the generation of Eagles who came of age during the Second World War. He was also among the last Scouts to see Scouting’s founder, Lord Baden-Powell, and hear his message of peace. In 1937, Bill traveled to the Fifth World Scout Jamboree in the Netherlands where “B-P,” as Baden-Powell was called, gave his farewell address to the boys he loved. The eighty-one-year-old “Chief Scout of the World” urged his audience to be brothers with Scouts of all faiths and backgrounds. He hoped they would keep their memories of the jamboree alive, saying “It will remind you of the many friends to whom you have held out the hand of friendship and so helped them through goodwill to bring about God’s reign of peace among men.” He hoped that somehow, the brotherhood of Scouting would avert the war he feared would come. Regrettably, it could not.

“That’s the most vivid memory of my life,” Bill recalled, himself eighty-one when we spoke. “He stood up at that bonfire with a Jacob’s staff and he made a speech and said, ‘You’re my boys and before we meet again, we’ll probably be at war. It’s too bad the rest of the world can’t get along like you can.’”

The storm clouds outside the World Jamboree continued to gather, and the days ahead would indeed be as dark as Baden-Powell feared. Sadly, he would not live to see the conflict’s resolution, having died in 1941. Many of the 29,000 Scouts present at the jamboree also perished before peace was restored in 1945. But Baden-Powell’s boys served well. A short decade after their mothers pinned the Eagle medal to their Scout uniform, America’s Eagle Scouts led soldiers onto battlefields around the globe.

The founder of the worldwide Scouting movement, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, with Scouts from around the globe
COURTESY OF BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA

Steven Liscinsky of the Second Ranger Battalion traded his Scout pocket knife for an Army combat knife, which he jabbed into the rocky cliffs of Normandy as he scaled Pointe du Hoc before dawn on D-Day, June 6, 1944. On the Pacific outposts of Guadalcanal and Roi Namur, Mitchel Paige and Jimmie Dyess—one an enlisted sergeant, one a commissioned captain—earned Congressional Medals of Honor as they rallied their fellow U.S. Marines against enemy lines. Nearby on the beaches of Tarawa, Corpsman Ken Rook used the skills he learned in First Aid merit badge to help wounded soldiers until a Japanese bullet found his shoulder, making him one of the 3,300 casualties of the infamously vicious four-day battle. With thousands of deeds like these, this generation of Eagle Scouts began to create a true legacy as the collective virtues of their youth carried the nation through the Second World War.

LEGACY OF HONOR Copyright © 2007 by Alvin Townley.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2009

    A pleasure to read/review

    There is something inherently innate about this book and the effect it can have on people. Myself, an Eagle Scout, I was shocked and surprised at the length of research and writing that was put into this book. I did not know that the Eagle Scouts had such a storied history, nor did I realize how much of an influence that the Eagle Scouts in America have. Reading about the Vietnam War, to the metropolis of New York had a profound effect and a lasting experience on myself. I know I will never look at Scouting again the same. I have a whole lot more respect for the badge that I wear and the people who have worn it, who were greater people than I.

    This book makes a great gift to any Eagle Scout for his court of honor, or to any Eagle Scout you might currently know. The writing style is informative and very flowing in its originality. I would recommend this to anyone who is also looking for an inspirational book to uplift their thoughts.

    Like I said before, this book has the ability to reach in and pull you in good directions. Recommend with the highest amount of stars I can give it, and I write reviews rarely, in relation to all of the books I read. Definitely a special book, and a great read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2008

    Outstanding Leadership Book

    This is a valuable addition to anyone's leadership library. It explains the value of Scouting in general, and Eagle Scouts in particular to the US and the world...and it does so with excellent vignettes about a multitude of Eagle Scouts -- some world famous and many not known outside their communities. But they all share the values and character that Scouting instilled in them. If you have ever been a Scout, this book will remind you of why Scouting was likely an imporant part of your life and why it almost certainly helped develop both your character and the leadership skills you have used ever since. If you have never been a Scout, this book will help you understand those who were...and are Scouts. Well written, well organized and wonderfully insightful. A great leadership read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2011

    A must for any scout

    If a scout needed any motivation to work for their Eagle rank this is it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This book discusses the importance of the Boy Scouting Movement

    As an Eagle Scout I am quite aware that it takes hard work and dedication and that many of us have those qualities inbedded in us. These qualities help us in life as adults. Mr. Townley being a brother eagle also knows of this dedication and he wanted to see how other eagles have influenced american life, and how the scouting movement is changing the world one eagle at a time.

    For this reason this book is one of the better books that i have ever read and it shows us how ordinary people can change the world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Legacy of an Eagle

    I recently had the honor of speaking at the same banquet as Alvin Townley. He gave me a personalized copy of this book and I will honestly attest to its value. I achieved The Eagle rank in 2006. This book tells the stories of different Eagle Scouts and their endeavors. The book is testament to everything that it means to be an Eagle scout. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is or is aiming to be an Eagle. It also makes a great gift for Eagle Courts of Honor.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2007

    A must for anyone doing their best

    The author, a second generation Eagle Scout, tells a wonderful story of Eagle Scouts from the 1930's to the present day. Profiling Eagle Scouts of all abilities and accomplishments through the 20th to 21st century, what they gained and learned from their Scouting experience and how 30-50 years later their payback to their family, community and country in service to others. While not a Eagle Scout myself, I enjoyed reading how the Scouting movement has created such wonderful men out of unruly teenagers. The trail to Eagle, as the author explains so well, instilled the values that made a difference so many years later. I especially recommend this book to parents of Scouts and anyone who is a role model for young boys learning about themselves and service to others. After you read these stories, you will rededicate yourself helping others on the trail to Eagle.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2007

    Great book

    Inspiration from the past generation of Eagle scouts to the current and future generations. Did not realize some of these gentlemen were Eagle scouts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Recommended for Eagles and Eagle Candidates

    This is an inspiring look at individual Eagle Scouts and how achieving that rank has influenced their lives. An excellent read for any young man contemplating the journey toward Eagle, or a way to commemorate the achievement of a new Eagle Scout.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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