Sound, unsentimental advice on the risks as well as the rewards of playing the takeover game--as much a part of the investment picture today as assessing growth prospects. McQuown (Inc. Yourself, Tax Shelters That Work) covers all possible bets--including those on such related transactions as divestitures, spinoffs, stock-repurchase programs, liquidations--but her focus is on candidates for consolidation. First on the agenda: how to determine from the statistical data in annual reports, and other disclosure documents, whether a company is an attractive takeover target at (ideally) a premium price. Then, as an object lesson to shareholders alert enough to be in on a big deal, McQuown breaks down DuPont's 1981 acquisition of energy-colossus Conoco--pointing out the smart response to various options along the way. The question of friendly vs. hostile takeovers gets an airing: according to one Wall St. expert cited, more than 95 percent of the former have gone through in the past 25 years, as against 75 percent of the latter; the holdouts, however, invariably secure top dollar. When firms do erect formidable takeover defenses (using by-law revisions, pre-emptive acquisitions, ESOPs, etc.), the deals can fall through; in such cases, put options and short sales afford the venturesome a measure of price protection. To her credit, MaQuown does not promise quick killings or even consistent profits via application of simple formulas; worthwhile gains, she stresses, depend on steady nerves, a quick-response capacity, diligent research, and constant attention to details--in particular, those included in SEC disclosure documents reviewed in an informative appendix. A valuable, cautionary handbook.