This searching study of one panel of Reconstruction days centers around the elusive personality of Milton Littlefield, carpetbagger, exploiter of the credulity of the monied classes, the politicians, the Yankees and Dixie associates alike, eager for a quick turnover. Littlefield has appeared in every major study of this ""tragic era"", but never as the whole man. Jonathan Daniels, fascinated by the inadequacies of his characterization, has followed down every clue, as a sleuth seeking his man. The portrait that emerges as an extraordinary one. Here is a man of magnetic presence, commanding confidence- and securing it, but a man who tricked legislatures in North Carolina, in Florida, in Washington; who sold railroad bonds for non-existent railroads, who financed vast building projects where no buildings appeared, who made brokerage houses on both sides of the Atlantic pour millions into a bottomless pit of his avarice. At times he seemed sincerely interested in rebuilding the South, but it was a thin facade- and when Fate caught up with him, he had involved so many others that no court dared go through with his trial. Not easy reading; there are too many devious paths. The end result is worth the effort.