When Oscar Booze entered West Point in 1898, the older cadets decided that he did not conform to their image of what a cadet should be. After four months of constant torment, including a beating in an organized boxing match, ridicule for reading his Bible, and the forced consumption of hot sauce in the cadet mess hall, he resigned. When Oscar died a year and a half later from tuberculosis of the larynx, his family claimed that the West Point cadets had killed their son by scarring his throat and creating a fertile field for the fatal infection. This is the story of the ensuing scandal that brought West Point under fire in the press nationwide. Investigations following Oscar's death would reveal a long-standing pattern of cruelty that had become inextricably identified with the academy, related to notions of social Darwinism and initiation rituals popular at the time. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate considered closing the Academy in light of testimony by cadets in two separate investigations that revealed cruel and sadistic practices.Distilling startling accounts from trial transcripts, contemporary newspaper stories, archival records and correspondence, this book exposes a little-known chapter in the history of West Point.
Bullies and Cowards
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