The Great White Fleet was Teddy Roosevelt's great white hope for international recognition of American naval might and it amounted to a herd of great white elephants afloat. The story has never been told before at such length; it can be found as an incredible footnote in naval histories. A smothered section of the naval high command said that the American fleet was in no fit condition to tour the major ports of the world. Their more public relations-minded colleagues shushed them with one hand and with the other, hogwashed the fleet white. Further, they recruited barefoot boys with cheeks of tan to represent American young man-hood as sailors; gouty, superannuated officers were braced to command--and dance-at every port of call. Newspaper critics were howled down by an entranced American public. The author has followed the fleet, measured the gallons of paint that covered the appalling defects and assesses the international and domestic effect of what was essentially a floating farce. Anecdotally buoyant.