Autobiographical sketches, these are thinly connected by the tenuous theme of a Hollander's journey in American waters. He brought his home with him, an old sea-going , and he writes of the impact of those sections of America he saw as he travelled by large (with side journeys in a swamp buggy in the Everglades -- and inland occasionally by car) through the bayous of Texas and Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico area, and the inland waterways of the Atlantic seaboard. From Houston to Nantucket his sturdy barge was home-base. citizens of the areas he compassed may take issue with the emphasis he places on some of the uncomfortably American blights of our landscape and shores. The occasional temptation to caricature some of the people and places -- Texas and Texans and parts of Florida in particular -- will produce howls of protest, even as we recognize their underlying truths. The sketches -- there must be close to a hundred of them -- are grouped geographically, but many are reflections, moods, tiny segments of observation, and relatively few are strictly either autobiographical or narrative. At times one almost forgets that he is linked throughout to the barge and its life. There is charm here, frequently poetic and contemplative in character, but the appeal will be somewhat limited to those who know the areas, who relish the sharing of a foreigner's reactions, and to those to whom the inland waterways offer a different way of life.