What's Caldwell been up to lately? Travelling around America. Oh, a book like Steinbeck's? No, not as commercial; he travels without a dog. Nobody else? His wife. I see what you mean. But what does he have to say? Well, for one thing, guests steal TV sets out of motels these days, and everything's changing except regional eating habits. For another one of his funny facts- there are 350 writers conferences held annually, and in Memphis they've got an all-girl radio station, and out on the prairies of Dakota there's an old communal settlement, and some towns have interesting signs, e.g. IF YOU THINK IT IS NOT HERE, GO TO HELL. I suppose he met a lot of Characters? Oh yes, many vignettes, and sober suggestions re the West Virginia coal mines or the race problem, lively descriptions of the Full Gospel Indian Camp Meeting in Oregon, and mail-order land sales in Albuquerque, and the retirement paradise of Phoenix, and the pool rooms of Colorado. He also offers farming hints, a stop-over at a college in St. Paul, and how bar girls do the twist for young men in Boosier City, a. He sure knows America! Covered 25,000 miles from New England to the South to California, and finished up in time for Perfect Summer Reading. Is Steinbeck the only influence? No, it's really more like Michel Butor's Mobile gone straight. Hmmmmm... Does Caldwell Think America will survive? In spots.