For sheer readability, this ranks high in the estimable Rivers of America series (now numbering forty titles). Inevitably, however, the insularity of the reading public will have to be overcome because this is a Canadian river- not a river of the United States. The history -- the key figures -- even some of the issues, will be labelled ""foreign"". However, that hurdle taken, the quality of the book itself will capture the reader's interest. The river covers immense territory, a region closely associated with some of the most significant aspects of the Canadian wilderness frontier. Its story of the fur traders -- the great companies --the North West, and its bitter rival, the Hudson's Bay Company. It is the story of La Verendrye, of Peter Pond, of the Frobishers, of David Thompson and Alexander MacKenzie and John Rowand- names that are legendary in frontier history. It is the story of forts growing into towns, of squaws who eased the burden of life, of highwaymen. It is the story of Red River carts, of the Land Act and homesteading, of treaties and none-too-savory episodes of white men and Indians. It is the story of the Rebellion of the minority under Riel in 1885- rebellion put down but sowing the seeds of a more democratic Canada. It is a story of boats and bridges, of ranching, of National Parks and a nation's playground, of drought and talk of harnessing a great river. And through it all, the Saskatchewan is dominant. First rate regional material, with lots of human interest.