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Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts [Hardcover]

Stacy A. Cordery

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Book Description

Feb. 21 2012

In celebration of the Girl Scouts' centennial, a lively salute to its maverick founder.

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.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; 1st Edition edition (Feb. 21 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670023302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023301
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,351,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A biography that fully captures its dynamic subject and her greatest accomplishment."
(Boston Globe)

"Stacy Cordery's engaging portrait . . . paints a charming picture of Daisy as a warm-hearted force of nature."
(Chicago Tribune)

"Cordery . . . has written a detailed and well-researched book. She shows Low to be a strong woman ahead of her time."
(The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

"Of the three books pegged to the Girl Scouts' 100th, the most engaging by far is Stacy A. Cordery's Juliette Gordon Low. Ms. Cordery gives us the unexpurgated life—one that might make you want to shield the eyes of the nearest Brownie Scout but one that also lends depth and color to the American Girl Scouts founder's story. Ms. Cordery uses a wealth of historical detail to animate both an era and the author's flawed, sometimes exasperating but generally appealing subject. . . . The merit badge here goes to Stacy Cordery's biography."
(The Wall Street Journal)

"Cordery's extensive biography fully explores the complex and intricate life of Low."
(Deseret News)


"This biography brings to life the woman whose efforts galvanized an entire nation of young women. 'Long Live Girl Scouts!' may be the cry on readers' lips after finishing this tribute to a spirited and inspirational American leader."
(Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Stacy A. Cordery is chairman of the history department at Monmouth College in Illinois and is the author of Theodore Roosevelt: In the Vanguard of the Modern. She is the bibliographer for the National First Ladies’ Library. This is her third book.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect book club selection. March 13 2012
By Debora M. Dragseth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a fascinating read about a brave, adventurous female role model, this book is it. After reading about the remarkable founder of the Girl Scouts, I wish that I could have met Juliette Gordon Low. This book will take you on a journey with this bold and brilliant woman who overcame deafness, a philandering husband and the stifling mores of her time. At age 51, an age when many women would have given in to a gloomy spinsterhood, she instead used her talents and her fortune to impact millions of girls around the world. Inspiring. A perfect book club selection.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous! April 6 2012
By Patti H. Gardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've been a Girl Scout for about 60 years and read everything I can get my hands on about Juliette Gordon Low. That said, I learned some things about her from this book that I've never seen or heard of before. The book is wonderful and is well worth reading. Our "Daisy" was a remarkable person who was ahead of her time in her lifetime, and would be ahead of her time even today.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The background story that all Girl Scouts (present & past) should know March 16 2012
By Corinne H. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
March 12, 2012, marked the 100th anniversary of the official founding of the Girl Scouts of America by Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low, in Savannah, Georgia. A few biographies have thus been released in time for the celebration, and this is one of them. Since I was a Girl Scout in my youth, back in the 1960s and 1970s, I thought this would be the perfect chance to revisit those roots. I learned a lot here that I don't remember having heard before.

Daisy Gordon was born in Savannah just before the American Civil War began. Hers was an interesting childhood, as part of a close-knit family of some means. Hard work, accompanied by charity and volunteerism, were the expectations of life for the Gordons. Daisy was able to attend good schools, make close friends, and do a bit of international traveling before she married Englishman William Mackay Low, a man who can now be seen to have been an absolute cad. (Alas, Miss Gordon's head could always be turned by a handsome man in uniform.) Had she lived in our generation, Daisy could have more quickly removed herself from a dreadful situation that lingered for 20 years. But divorce was not an easy task to accomplish in Victorian and post-Victorian England. Her ties were finally released when Willy died in 1905. At last she could finally be herself and find herself, at the ripe old age of 45.

And yet: If she hadn't married Willy, moved to England, and made all sorts of important contacts there, she might never have stumbled into the circumstances that led her to meet General Sir Robert Baden-Powell in May 1911. The Boy Scout movement in England was growing around that Boer War veteran. Daisy soon found her calling with the Girl Guides (the female equivalent) in that country ... and then figured out a way to organize such a group in Savannah, within a year of meeting Baden-Powell. The local initiative in her hometown grew into the establishment of more patrols throughout the country. And "the rest is history."

Cordery has done much research, especially on Daisy's family tree, as well as the genealogies of many of the other individuals in Daisy's path. Some readers will find these details intriguing; others may wonder how they relate to the subject of the biography. Daisy doesn't start the Girl Scouting movement on this side of the pond until we're two-thirds of the way through the book. If that's the only part you're interested in, you'll have a way to go to get there.

Still, this narrative makes for good reading. Daisy Low can be a role model for anyone. She recuperated from a bad marriage. She coped with varying degrees of deafness almost all of her life. And she started an organization that has lasted a century! The fact that she persevered is to be celebrated as much as the Girl Scout program itself. Without Daisy Low, I wouldn't have an old green badge sash lying in my top bureau drawer. And I'll bet I'm not the only woman who can say that.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Founder of the Girl Scouts Feb. 28 2012
By Mary E. Young - Published on Amazon.com
Juliette Gordon Low is most famously known as the founder of the Girl Scouts. Born in Savannah right before the civil war, she was known as Crazy Daisy, a precocious child who defied conventional rules and wisdom. Vowing never to marry, she fell in love with an English aristocrat and moved across the sea. After realizing her husband was a wastrel and adulterer, she began divorce proceedings, only to have him die due to his bad health and excesses. After meeting Robert Baden-Powell, she became enthralled with the Boy Scouts and helped organize the Girl Guides in England. After returning to Savannah she began the Girl Scouts and dedicated her life to enriching girls lives.

I found the book interesting, yet at times it seemed to long. It read as a history book with lots of facts and dates. I would have enjoyed a more story-type book. But overall I found it to be well written and engaging.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rare look at Juliette Gordon Low April 1 2012
By Karen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had heard an NPR interview with the author, and the book has not been a disappointment. It is detailed, and shows great empathy for this amazing woman of great moral strength. I had bought a copy for the elementary school where I teach, but may opt to donate it to the middle or high school students. In the 100th year of Girl Scouting in the U.S. and also the birthday of Title IX, women and girls (and men and boys) can thank Juliette Low for laying the groundwork for equal emphasis and opportunity. After that, we each have responsibility for what we do with what she gave us! Thank you, JGL.

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