Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts

Stacy A. Cordery, Author
Stacy A. Cordery. Viking, $27.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-670-02330-1
Reviewed on: 12/05/2011
Release date: 02/16/2012
Hardcover - 677 pages - 978-1-4104-4778-4
Paperback - 382 pages - 978-0-14-312289-0
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-56026-6
Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-55685-6
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Historian Cordery (Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth) celebrates the unique life of the woman who introduced the Girl Scouts in America in this robust biography. Born in Savannah, Ga., in 1860, Low was known throughout her life as “Daisy.” Headstrong, with an eccentric streak—her family nicknamed her “Crazy Daisy”—she had a lifelong sense of compassion for the underdog. After an unsuccessful marriage to the wealthy but philandering Englishman William “Willy” Mackay Low, she took the brave step of divorcing him in 1905. During that time, Low’s chronic ear problems also led to botched treatment that resulted in partial deafness. When unattached older women were expected to either remarry or fade away, Low remained visible in both London and Savannah society. Yearning for a purpose in life, she found one in 1911 after meeting Gen. Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the British Army hero who founded the Boy Scouts in England. Drawn to Baden-Powell’s conviction that scouting should be fun, Low formed her own group of “Girl Guides”—Girl Scouts’ original name—near her Scotland home, the precursor for the phenomenon she’d bring to America in 1912. With her relentless enthusiasm and dedication, she helped the fledgling organization grow from a handful of Savannah girls to more than 90,000 Girl Scouts a few years before her death in 1927. Cordery wisely fleshes out Low’s nontraditional, pre-Scouting life so that the woman who emerges as the honorary troop leader of today’s 2.3 million Girl Scouts is a fully realized heroine. (Feb.)
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