CatholicScout Reviews: Rovering to Success by Lord Baden Powell

Cover of the book, Rovering to Success by Lord Baden Powell

Lord Baden Powell’s little known follow-on book

Chapter 1: How to be happy though rich – or poor
Chapter 2: Rock number one: Horses
Chapter 3: Rock number two: Wine
Chapter 4: Rock number three: Women
Chapter 5: Rock number four: Cuckoos and Humbugs
Chapter 6: Rock number five: Irreligion
Chapter 7: Rovering, The Aim of the Rover Brotherhood

Contents page from Lord Baden Powell’s book
Rovering to Success

Like any good old book, within the first few pages the author stated his intention in writing the book.


The whole thing-the early voyage through the easy running stream, and then coming out on to the broad lake, the arising of difficulties, the succession of waves and rocks only avoided by careful piloting, the triumph of overcoming the dangers, the successful sliding into a sheltered landing-place, the happy camp-fire and the sleep of tired men at night – is just what a man goes through in life; but too often he gets swamped among the difficulties or temptations on the rough waters, mainly because he has not been warned what to expect and how to deal with them.

I have quoted a few of Stewart White’s practical hints from his experiences in paddling through sea-ways: I want in the following pages to offer you similar piloting hints from my own experiences of dealing with the different snags and waves that you are likely to meet with in paddling through your life-ways.

Among these rocks and breakers are those that can be labelled in the terms of the old toast, “Horses, Wine and Women,” with the addition of Cuckoos and Cant. You are bound to come across most of them in your time. In the following chapters I propose to show you there are good as well as dangerous points about these rocks, and also how by “rovering” you may not only get round them, but also derive advantage and make your way to success.

Rovering to Success was written by Lord Baden Powell in response to young men who were either too old to join Scouts, or who had been through Scouting and wanting some further direction.

Bear in mind that the book was written in 1922, and also that Lord Baden Powell was not a Catholic.

That being said, the book is a gem, it will have you laughing, it will have you crying out “why didn’t I have this book sooner!!!”, but most of all you will learn something that may inspire you, may indeed, change your life.

In some ways the book is prophetic, Lord Baden Powell was a realist, with a wealth of life experience, that many of us could only dream of. He was able to see, if one did X, then the result will be Y. His life experience and his approach to life (senses open to take in the objective truth of the surroundings) meant that he was able to provide incredible advice for avoiding obstacles, “rocks” as he calls them.

And don’t think he is saying that Females are obstacles to be avoided. Read the book, I would be very surprised to find out if you disagree with what he says.

Some areas have been proven different by scientific discovery after Baden Powell’s time, but his knowledge, logic and deduction are outstanding if one considers the context of his time.

Obviously some of the things in the book I disagree with, but that’s mainly down to two things; I believe in the Truth of the Catholic Faith (there is no other way to God), and I also believe very strongly (if you hadn’t guessed already), that Christ was very serious when He commanded us to love friends and enemies, that violence is an abomination and completely forbidden to the follower of Christ.

My strong conviction to Gospel non-violence (which I always need to add, is not doing nothing in the face of evil, rather actively confronting evil with the Power of Good – (non-violently!)), jars in the face of some aspects of Baden Powell’s Scouting. But that aside, it is an immensely enjoyable book.

Of course, like Scouting for Boys, Rovering is designed for the male audience. Baden Powell came from a time, where people understood, the fundamental difference of gender. That it was God-given and for a Divinely-mandated Purpose (cf Matthew 19). Baden Powell, extrapolated the male role (with his philosophical and theological understanding) out into the world, to the service of the state.

It’s a ripping read, and really hard to get hold of. I managed to get my hands on a copy many moons ago, and you still can if you search for a second-hand copy of Rovering to Success through book stores on line. That or look up the scanned copy of Rovering to Success by Baden Powell available on line.


Catholic Scouting – But why? III
Catholic Scouting – but why? Part II
Catholic Scouting – but why?
Quo Vadis? Catholic Scouts 101 – Part III
Quo Vadis? Catholic Scouts 101 – part II
Quo Vadis? Catholic Scouts 101
A Scout Serves II
A Scout Serves
Catholic Scouts and vain-glory
A Scout seeks Truth
Chivalry and scouting morals II
Chivalry and scouting morals


One thought on “CatholicScout Reviews: Rovering to Success by Lord Baden Powell

  1. Pingback: CatholicScout Reviews: Rovering to Success by Lord Baden Powell … | Scouting Adventures

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