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The Golden Fleece: High-Risk Adventure at West Point, by Tom Carhart

Lincoln, Nb.: Potomac Books, 2017. Pp. xii, 212. Illus.. $29.95. ISBN: 1612349102.

When Army Got Navy’s Goat

Carhart, a West Point graduate (1966), left the Army after several tours in Vietnam, and is now an attorney and the author of numerous books on men at war. In this rather amusing book, he reaches back to his academy days and one of the more notable pranks in its long rivalry with Annapolis; the kidnapping of the Navy’s goat mascot on November 21, 1965, as planned and successfully executed by six cadets, including himself.

Carhart gives us a very detailed account of the “mission”. After discussing who he and his comrades came up with the idea, he gives us a detailed account of the planning and preparations for the operation, putting into practical use many of the lessons that they had learned at the Academy. He follows with a long discussion of the execution of the kidnapping, a risky undertaking punctuated by some funny moments, perhaps most notably in the unanticipated consequences of driving in an overcrowded care with a very unhappy goat.

Carhart then describes the consequences of the kidnapping. Although it might easily have resulted in heavy disciplinary action, and perhaps even expulsion, the penalties were much less dire than they might have been, given that the miscreants had a lot of covert admirers in the military hierarchy.

Carhart sets these adventures within the framework of life at the academy, and gives us short biographies of his fellow conspirators and some of the other people connected with the incident.

The Golden Fleece is an amusing yet informative tale, which makes for good reading, and tells us something about how Army officers are made.


Note: The Golden Fleece is also available in audio- and e-editions.



Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review editor   

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