What was the Big Muddy is now a chain of Great Lakes -- but the Missouri, transformed by dams and reservoirs (wiping out Indian and pioneer communities alike), still bisects the state, dividing the settled Middle Western farmland to the east from the empty cattle country and finally the Black Hills to the west. The narrative has no particular felicities of observation -- and indeed runs overly to rhetorical generalities -- but it is ordered by the prevalence of change and the distinct geographic regions. Suggested if not plumbed are the differences in the development, life-style and economy of each (though some confusion arises from mixing all-state and localized data); the three groups that populated the state -- the Scandinavians, Germans and Slavs -- are viewed separately, with special attention to the Hutterite sect and the Bohemians. As per the series practice, considerable time is spent on natural and man-made attractions, and history more or less tags along; the only significant omission, however, is the role of first railroads and then extensive highway-building in developing the state. The drawn-out treatment of the Indian past and present is sketchy and tends to see them as problems not victims -- and certainly not as ethnic insurgents, acknowledgement of ""positive qualities"" notwithstanding. It's an adequate profile sparsely filled in and handicapped for reference purposes by an index that concentrates on proper names and scants topics.