This story of negotiations and rumors of negotiations lends itself less well than some previous subjects to Phelan's present tense ""you are there"" approach. Sometimes her search for immediacy leads to such tacky devices as having Jefferson/Monroe deliberations interrupted by the chirping of the President's ""saucy"" pet mockingbird. At other times narration halts for lengthy descriptions--as of the ""local color"" aspects of the Port of New Orleans on the arrival of Napoleon's commissioner. Without the action of other Phelan reconstructions this will be read chiefly by the homework trade, who might appreciate less extraneous color and more dispatch. However, Phelan is good at simplifying and projecting the motives and strategies of all concerned, and those who follow the transaction through, from interest or necessity, could be enlightened by the glimpse of practical politics at the personal, party, and international levels.