Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts by Stacy A. Cordery
Publication: Viking Adult (first published 2012), Hardcover, 400pg
Genres: Biography, Non-Fiction
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Born at the start of the Civil War, Juliette Gordon Low grew up in Georgia, where she struggled to reconcile being a good Southern belle with her desire to run barefoot through the fields. Deafened by an accident, “Daisy” married a dashing British aristocrat and moved to England. But she was ultimately betrayed by her husband and dissatisfied by the aimlessness of privileged life. Her search for a greater purpose ended when she met Robert Baden-Powell, war hero, adventurer, and founder of the Boy Scouts. Captivated with his program, Daisy aimed to instill the same useful skills and moral values in young girls-with an emphasis on fun. She imported the Boy Scouts’ sister organization, the Girl Guides, to Savannah in 1912. Rechristened the Girl Scouts, it grew rapidly because of Juliette Low’s unquenchable determination and energetic, charismatic leadership.
In Juliette Gordon Low, Cordery paints a dynamic portrait of an intriguing woman and a true pioneer whose work touched the lives of millions of girls and women around the world. (from Amazon)
I wanted to read this because of Only Pack What You Can Carry– the author mentioned Juliette Gordon Low (most often called Daisy) as being a remarkably couragous person (who also travelled) and I love histories of clubs/societies/whatever, so it seemed like a good idea to get a biography of JGL so I could learn more.
It covers almost all of JGL’s life, including her birth shortly before the American Civil War ’til somewhere around the 1930s. The stuff about the Girl Scouts doesn’t show up until a little after halfway through the book. Makes sense, as JGL didn’t become involved with the Scouting movement until her 50s! There’s a good amount of non-JGL stuff, too, things about her family and friends, about current events and world news– enough stuff to bolster up the relatively empty bits of JGL’s life (everyone’s got empty bits, even people who do amazing things). There’s little mini-bios of people who were influential to Daisy’s life, including the founder of the Boy Scouts, Robert Baden-Powell.
This bio is definitely on JGL’s side– her faults are turned into amazingly benefitial positives, for example– which can be either good or bad, depending on how you like your biographies. If you like them to be more objective, you might be annoyed a bit. If you don’t really care either way, and if you’re interested in the Girl Scouts, children’s social club thingies, or learning about people who lived extraordinary lives, then you’d no doubt enjoy this book.
Are there any former (or current!) Girl Scouts here? Hello! I very much admire your organization. What’s it like being a Girl Scout? Is it as much fun as it seems like?
Read: April 4-6, 2013