Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Golden Book of Camping

The Golden Book of Camping
by William Hillcourt ~ pictures by Ernest Kurt Barth
Western Publishing Company, 1959


Obviously, this book skews a wee bit older than my just-turned-four-year-old, but I do keep it hanging around for laughs. As a matter of fact, I love everything about it. The idealized version of masculinity. The amazingly detailed how-to on all things outdoors. The retro illustrations and world views that scream 50s. Really, it couldn't be more awesome. I am counting the minutes until my son stumbles across it on his shelf and gets it. Will he learn how to build a campfire using only two sticks? Will be sew his own tent? Will he ever need to make an emergency backpack from a pair of old pants and a few pieces of rope? Stay tuned, but it the meantime, check out a few examples of the pure boyhood awesomeness.

If you want to "get away from it all" with one or more friends, there are wilderness areas--reached only by foot or horseback, or by canoe-- where you can live a life as free as that lived by the Indians centuries ago.

(Ah, was that before or after we raped, murdered and pillaged them? JK.)

The whole country lies open to you. You can choose seashore or forest, mountain or desert for all kinds of camping trips.

Sarcasm aside, I hope my little Ranger Rick is man enough to someday take on these outdoorsmanly tasks with the gusto these pages illustrate.

9 comments:

james at 10engines said...

i saw this recently on the blog archivalclothing and realized it was the book that i had checked out every month for several years growing up... from the little Vermont library that in my minds eye has set me on a course to go back for a librarian degree... anyway, if you ever have a copy on your store please email me ;-) james/10engines

Amanda said...

Love it! How-to books from the past are priceless!

carol b said...

This looks and sounds really brilliant. Another one on my list...

scribbler said...

hey james... what I have is the 70s revise here...

http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Book-Camping-family-blazers-everything/dp/B0006CPLJM

i believe archival had the original here..

http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Book-Camping-Camp-Crafts/dp/B0007DYAWO

scribbler said...

this 60s edition has the word big in the title...

http://cgi.ebay.com/Big-Golden-Book-Camping-and-Camp-Crafts-1964_W0QQitemZ350206771724QQcmdZViewItemQQimsxq20090527?IMSfp=TL090527153005r36591

perilloparodies said...

Very wonderfully informative!!! I would love to examine from "covereth to covereth"...

spiritualadvance said...

I just bought a copy of this book. It's like brand new. Found it through amazon.com.

I, too, checked it out from the public library constantly when I was growing up. My wife is impressed with my camping abilities, now she gets to read some of my inspiration.

bentbrook said...

A little trivia about this book, which I loved in childhood and purchased again as an adult: the author, William Hillcourt, was known in Scouting circles as Green Bar Bill; he spent 82 years in Scouting and wrote three editions of the Boy Scout Handbook. He betrays his enthusiasm for Scouting in observations such as this one about knives: "For allaround use, the Boy Scout knife is the best." Wonderful, wonderful book that fostered many dreams and still provides cherished memories of readings.

Ross, Sydney-Australia said...

I have an old copy from my childhood which I've now moved to plastic sleeves as it was falling apart - Years of pleasure reading it and a lifetime of pleasure practicing it . . .

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