A well-told and graphic story of one of the strangest and most fantastic episodes of modern history, the quick rise to power and equally rapid deflation of an adventurer whose talents were insufficient to outweigh his weaknesses. William Walker, for a brief moment dictator of Nicaragua, with four other weak and corrupt Central American republics in his grasp, was destined by his parents in Nashville as a minister. His early years were scattering, -- medicine, law, journalism, various degrees; then the shock of the death by cholera of the woman he loved; and the call of gold in California. From that moment, he became a professional filibuster, and in 1854, at the age of 30, launched a raid on Lower California (then Mexico) and Sonora. Inadequate supplies, poor planning, high sounding phrases were not enough; the effort failed, but his popularity among Californians acquitted him. Then came the call from Nicaragua, and convinced of his ""manifest destiny"" he sailed with his 58 fellow adventurers. Thrilling adventure, fierce fighting, tactical errors, and then -- after his proclamation of himself as president, his conflict with Commodore Vanderbilt, and the inevitable conclusion. As a dramatic bit of American history and as a picture of as strange an adventurer as could be conceived, this story deserves to be known. This book accomplishes that end effectively. Plus sale for older boys, school and public libraries. A small book by Merritt Allen on Harper's juvenile list is the only recent competitor.