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A life crammed with adventure and military daring on violent frontiers across the American West, Africa, Mexico, and the Klondike.

Burnham’s amazing story resembles a newsreel mashed up with a Saturday matinee thriller. H. Rider Haggard, author of many best-selling exotic tales, remarked, “In real life he is more interesting than any of my heroes of romance.”

Burnham, one of the few people who could turn Theodore Roosevelt into a listener, 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 included 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.

Burnham at age 20 in Arizona Territory
Burnham's memoir, 1934 edition
Burnham's revolver, a Remington Model 1875, caliber .44-40, used in the American West, Africa, and Mexico.