The old pro novelist turns to travel-writing to recover some lost feeling of his youth and to find whether the American heartland offers escape from the violence of our East and West coasts. Is the good life still out there?--""peaceful living and neighborly goodwill and human kindness. . . the idealism of the early settlers. . .?"" Along the way, through Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, he spreads himself a feast of regional types, crunchy friedchicken dialogue, pastels of evening shades in the Ozarks, and summer-green fields of soy. We can tell that Caldwell himself is no yokel by his cultured tones, references to London, Paris, the Riviera, the spa at Karisbad, his last trip on the Queen Mary, and his gentlemanly pickiness about accommodations along the Amercan road. We see a few drunken Indians but his good manners protect us from any unsanitized sensations and that's too bad. Mainly we meet bland homeloving folks who wouldn't trade their town for an extra decade. As for surcease from violence, Tulsa, Oklahoma seems to be the ideal spot, where life fills with prayer and mayonnaise and Walter Cronkite's boosted for President. Ask no rough questions, get no strong answers.