The obvious result of years of research, this is a lengthy biography of the little remembered Lewis Littlepage, the brilliant 18th century American foreign agent, opportunist and diplomat who became the advisor and personal envoy of King Stanislas of Poland. Originally from an impoverished family, always in need of money, pocket-sized and handsome, Littlepage lived largely on his wits and charm and was befriended by the great, met royalty, was Franklin's interpreter, and knew John Paul Jones. In 1785 he became a member of the court of Stant and as ""secret and special envoy"" traveled to many countries. He took part in the Polish Revolution and saw the Partition of Poland. In 1801, having managed to acquire something like a fortune, he returned to America to die there in at the age of 40. This is a disappointing book, top heavy with detail and often sloppily written. It is however valuable for its account of a brilliant and devious American diplomat of the period and of the men and women he knew. Too long for the general reader.