A Splendid Savage: The Restless Life
of Frederick Russell Burnham
Nonfiction book by Steve Kemper
Available: January 2016
W.W. Norton & Company:
A life of adventure and military daring on violent frontiers across the American West, Africa, Mexico, and the Klondike.
Frederick Russell Burnham's (1861–1947) amazing story resembles a newsreel mashed up with a Saturday matinee thriller. One of the few people who could turn his garrulous friend Theodore Roosevelt into a listener, Burnham was once world famous as "the American scout." His expertise in woodcraft, learned from frontiersmen and Indians, helped inspire another friend, Robert Baden-Powell, to found the Boy Scouts. His adventures encompassed Apache wars and range feuds, booms and busts in mining camps around the globe, explorations in remote regions of Africa, and death-defying military feats that brought him renown and high honors.
Failure and tragedy streaked his life as well, but he was endlessly willing to set off into the unknown and chase history's leading edge, where the future felt up for grabs and values worth dying for were at stake. Steve Kemper brings a quintessential American story to vivid life in this gripping biography.