For ten years Dan Wakefield has plied the trade of free-lance newsman, reporter, critic. Now this literary legman has compiled reports from his working decade and generously interlarded them with the more personal material that did not appear in The Nation, Esquire, Playboy, Dissent, etc.. His opus is ""hopefully, an illuminating mixture of autobiography, confession, and criticism""--a consummation devoutly to be wished if rather overwhelming as an order. Actually, Wakefield is an intelligent fellow who is alive to this world and to his own psyche. He has a good time airing the latter in his pre and post report sequences, which read in a way with more timeliness (or timelessness) than the reports themselves. The latter cover such disparate phenomena as fishing in the Sea of Galilee under Arab guns, a Volkswagen junket in Wolfsburg, Germany, the Emmett Till murder trial, the Newport Jazz Festival, a White Citizens Council meeting in Montgomery, Alabama and an interview with Mimi Strong of Strong Associates (how to get into society when you have recently made money) in New York, going on pot in the Village and looking for love with Salinger (a serious article on the author written in 1958 for New World Writing). Some of these pieces stand on their own, some are sketchy and unaligned, but the ""I"" who is behind them all stands firm and carries them farther than they might otherwise go. Still, perishable.