Newcomers might become edgy about some of Chidsey's airy simplifications (""The Spaniard was no fool, though he sometimes seemed to be"") but his following will not be disappointed in this cheerily bumptious survey of the events before, after, and during the bargaining for the Louisiana Purchase which quadrupled the size of the United States. As always Chidsey cuts into the main area of concern dramatically yet obliquely -- in this case with the semi-piratical excursions of a Captain James Willings who in 1778 intended to attack the British on the lower Mississippi and managed to harass just about everybody. Chidsey then sketches the populations of the New Orleans/Natchez/ Florida environs -- the entire area a curious amalgam of the interests and embroilments of four nations -- Spain, France, England, and the U.S. He surveys the making and breaking of treaties, and follows pertinent events in the careers of a number of personalities, particularly the shifty-to-naive doings of Wilkinson (a more or less traditional view here of his Spanish proclivities) and Aaron Burr (whom Chidsey rather likes). In short, Chidsey still puts his upbeat reconstructions across to a loyal audience.