I'm a BSHB nerd and have every edition on my canoe-shaped bookcase. But I really appreciate the 9th edition that Bill Hillcourt wrote in 1978 for publishing in 1979. This really brought the outing back to Scouting. Also, I do like the 1948 Scout Field Book Hillcourt wrote with James E. West. Good stuff!
While I did buy the 13th edition of the BSHB I really haven't given it much of a read or even a glance yet. I just have this sinking feeling it's not going to be up to par for a Hillcourt book...How could it be? That said, I'm glad to see the outdoors creeping back into Scout rank advancement. Let's go camping!
I'm currently working on expanding my collection, but the 9th edition has been my favorite ever since I was a scout. We used the 11th when I was a boy (I had to buy multiple copies because the glue on the binding kept separating from the cover), which was serviceable, but I made it my mission to acquire a 9th edition when one of our ASMs taught us trail signs from it on a camping trip. For some reason or another, I thought the council Scout Shop might know how I could find a copy. As it turns out, they had a whole box of them tucked away in storage, and they gave me a copy for free. (Had I been older, I might've known to ask if they didn't want to just part with the whole lot!) I learned so much cool stuff from that Handbook.
I received a 1st edition Handbook for Patrol Leaders in the mail today. The philosophy of the patrol upon which it depends is so much more robust than anything that the boys learn today in NYLT or whatever. It's good, solid, commonsensical thinking that recognizes that boys are at their best when they can form together in a small group and rally around a common identity and purpose. Wish I'd had it around when I was a scout!
And I'm really looking forward to getting my 1st ed. Fieldbook that I also ordered the other day. (For some ludicrously cheap price, no less.)