Mr. Chidsey, who is known for his popular American histories and has a nose for a good story, here tells of Aaron Burr's attempt to take Mexico for an empire following his retirement from politics after shooting Hamilton. Just what Burr was up to has never been decided, but suspicion soon became mistrust, and Jefferson hauled him into court on a treason charge which was not proved. Burr, found not guilty, spent most of the remainder of his life in Europe, married Madame Jumel briefly. He is portrayed here as ""one of history's greatest losers,"" having lost the presidency by one electoral vote. Mr. Chidsey's account is readable enough, tends to be casual, and more interested in story and stance than substance.